We are moving home. Since we last did this the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) has been introduced. What a great idea! An independent energy report on the house you are thinking of buying. There is a national data base  and with the post code and then address you can download the EPC and report – so far so good. So armed with agent’s details and the EPC we have visited a number of prospective properties.

Having done this what is my conclusion? I am sorry to say that in general it has been a waste of time and paper downloading the EPC.
Before I go on I think we need to note that the EPC has become a commodity product – I have seen a price as low as £35 offered. At this cost it can be little more than a drive by – assuming a visit is made. I am sure there are some quality assessors out there, but not at £35 a go.

So why do I think they are not worth it?

Out of six EPCs reviewed five said the property had a suspended floor and would benefit from insulation – only one had a suspended ground floor! With regard to cavity wall insulation – all six said assumed, none confirmed. The energy use reported is an estimate of lighting, heating and hot water – but some buyers might think it is all energy used and be comparing against their own existing bills. Bottom line none of the EPCs either filled me with confidence or influenced my buying decision. So on that basis not worth it.

Getting back to work I have also reviewed a number of Display Energy Certificates (DECs) and I am sorry to say confidence is not much higher. In one example a recommendation was for sub-metering on the escalators – not sure how that would save – even if the building had them! In other cases the wrong building category has been used. I think again the issue is that the product has become commoditised – people need to comply and will do it at lowest cost.

I just hope I am not writing in a similar vein in 12 months’ time about ESOS.