Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) reform

The Scottish Government is currently consulting on Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) reform. The idea is to make EPCs a more helpful tool for decarbonising buildings.

The consultation involves changes to both domestic and non-domestic EPCs. In this blog we’ll focus on changes to domestic EPCs.

Why does the Scottish Government want to reform EPCs?

Scotland has legally binding targets for decarbonizing. Firstly, there needs to be a 75% reduction in emissions by 2030. After that, the target is a 90% reduction by 2040. Finally, Scotland aims to be net zero by 2045. Since around a fifth of Scotland’s carbon emissions come from buildings, retrofitting homes is a priority. This means improving the fabric of buildings and switching to low carbon heating systems.

The UK Climate Change Committee has advised the Scottish Government that EPCs aren’t fit for the purpose of retrofit. For example, the current EE rating on the EPC does not align with low carbon technology e.g., you could have a property with a low carbon heating system with a lower rating than a property with a fossil fuel, high carbon intensity system. If EPCs are to become a useful tool for reaching net zero, then we need EPC reform.

How does the Scottish Government want to change EPCs?

The Scottish Government has proposed several changes to EPCs. These suggestions are based on feedback from the Climate Change Committee and other working groups.

New metrics

Metrics give information about how well something is performing, usually in the form of a number. The government wants to rename some of the current EPC metrics, as well as add new ones.

The new metrics would be:

  • Fabric rating – how well the building keeps the heat in
  • Cost rating – how much it will likely cost to run the property
  • Heating system type – whether the system has zero direct emissions, plus how efficient it is

New style

Currently, it’s not immediately clear how to improve an EPC rating. The government wants to make details about insulation more prominent on an EPC. They are also considering how else to make the steps to better energy efficiency more obvious.

Moving to webpage EPCs

This would allow better accessibility than the current online PDF format. A redesign would take place based on user needs.

Reduced validity period

At the moment, EPCs are valid for 10 years. The government want to reduce this to five. This is so tenants and owners have the most up to date information about the energy efficiency of their property.

More data access

The government want to improve the data available through the online Scottish EPC register. This would include access to older EPCs which have been superseded by newer certificates.

Better quality assurance

The proposals include an improved quality assurance system for EPCs. This means that people will be able to fully trust the information on their certificates.

Changeworks welcomes this consultation and looks forward to seeing the outcome. Improving EPCs so they fully support the decarbonisation of our homes will be vital to Scotland reaching net zero.