Experts call for overhaul of ‘outdated and inaccurate’ EPCs

Amid growing concerns about the accuracy and relevance of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs), experts are urging a comprehensive reform of the current system.

Rising concerns about EPC validity
A recent investigation by The Observer revealed that many EPCs, which are supposed to provide crucial information on a property’s energy efficiency, are outdated and potentially misleading. Some certificates examined were up to nine years old and contained information based on old data, such as one for a four-bed detached home in Birmingham, which referenced average costs from 2015.

System flaws highlighted by consumer body
Rocio Concha, director of policy and advocacy at Which?, criticised the current validity period of EPCs. “Certificates are valid for 10 years regardless of any changes that have been made to the property,” she pointed out, suggesting this period should be reduced to five years. Which? also raised issues with how certain improvements, like replacing a gas boiler with a heat pump, can negatively impact an EPC rating.

Inconsistencies in certification
Concerns over the consistency and reliability of EPCs are widespread within the property industry. Timothy Douglas, head of policy and campaigns at Propertymark, commented on the variability of EPC assessments. “We know agents have concerns about consistency – five different assessors would probably come up with five different EPCs,” he said. The low cost and quick delivery of some EPCs, available for as little as £34, further cast doubt on their thoroughness.

Government acknowledges challenges
The government has acknowledged the challenges with the current EPC system. An independent review of net zero highlighted issues with EPC metrics and recommended that they be regularly updated.

A call for reform
As the demand for energy-efficient homes grows, the need for accurate and reliable EPCs becomes more critical. The current system’s flaws, including outdated information and inconsistencies in assessments, underline the necessity for a comprehensive overhaul. By reforming the EPC regime, the government can ensure that homeowners, buyers, and landlords have access to precise and relevant information, promoting better energy efficiency across the housing market.