What does your Energy Efficiency Rating actually mean?

Did you know that homes have energy ratings? Do you know what yours is? What do all those ratings actually mean?

Wherever you may have seen it – and you probably have! - the chances are you haven’t given it too much thought because, well, we’re all pretty busy, aren’t we?

But, it is important! That’s why we’ve put together a super-simple guide to understanding how to read it and how it’s calculated.


So, what is an Energy Efficiency Rating?

In a nutshell, it’s a graph that compares your current energy efficiency with a potential figure that your home could achieve if you make some changes.

The Energy Efficiency Rating forms part of a wider Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), a report that tells you about your energy usage and how to help lower your carbon dioxide emissions.

For example, if your home gets an E49 Energy Efficiency Rating, with a potential for C76, then you are slightly below the UK average, but you could make some changes at home to improve it and push your home into the green. 

P.S.  Every home is measured in exactly the same way, and that means you can see how your home compares to other properties, if you’re feeling environmentally competitive!


How is it calculated?

Well, there’s some science to it, but without going into too much detail, here’s how it works:

  1. An accredited Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA) will visit your property.

  2. They’ll look at every energy-relevant feature, including the type and age of the property; how it was built; its size; the heating systems, insulation and windows; and the types of lighting it runs.

  3. Then, they’ll run the data through a big government computer (there’s a clever algorithm) to give you an Energy Efficiency Rating, which will form part of your Energy Performance Certificate.

Something worth remembering: the assessor won’t look at the appliances in your home. That means how you use energy isn’t rated, only the potential energy usage of the building itself. (So, if you don’t own a TV and never use the oven, it won’t be factored in.)


Do I need one for my home?

If you own, let or sell a property, then yes! There is a cost attached, but it is a legal requirement to have an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate.) It’s also very useful to know how energy efficient your home is. And, if your property is in the green, then you’ll know that your home is environmentally friendly.


Are there any types of buildings that don’t need an Energy Efficiency Rating?

Yes, there are a few exceptions, and they include:

  • Places of worship

  • Temporary buildings that will be used for less than 2 years

  • Buildings smaller than 50 square metres

  • Industrial sites, workshops and non-residential agricultural buildings

  • Holiday accommodation that's rented out for less than 4 months a year or is let under a licence to occupy.

So, now you know what your Energy Efficiency Rating means! If you’d like to explore this topic further, take a look at these very useful links:

About Energy Performance Certificates

Government EPC FAQs

Energy Saving Trust

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