Energy Performance Certificates: introduction

An introduction to Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs), EPC-01.

What is an Energy Performance Certificate?

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) provide information on how energy efficient your building is, and how it could be improved. Buildings are rated on a scale from A to G, with A being the most efficient. Information is also provided on measures which could be made to improve the energy efficiency and an indication of the cost for each improvement. In addition to information provided on the EPC, more detailed information and advice is contained within the Recommendation Report which is provided with the EPC.

How is the EPC rating calculated?

The EPC assessment will record specific information such as the size and layout of the building, how it has been constructed and the way it is insulated, heated, ventilated, and lighted. Because people use buildings in different ways, the calculation is based on standard assertions of occupancy and use.

The EPC is produced using a UK Government calculation methodology. Further technical information on the calculation methodologies can be found on the Building Research Establishment website:

Do I have to implement the energy efficiency improvements listed on the EPC?

No, but by seeking further advice and implementing measures you could improve the energy efficiency of your building and reduce your fuel bills over time.

How are the energy efficiency improvements for the building identified?

A list of energy efficiency improvement measures are included within the calculation methodology and software tools. Based upon the information provided by your EPC assessor, they are assigned where they are appropriate to the building.

When will I need an EPC?

An EPC must be produced:

  • when a new building has been constructed (at the completion stage of the building warrant process)
  • when a building is to be sold or rented to a new tenant.

An EPC must also be obtained and displayed in a building over 250 m² in area, which is occupied by a public authority and frequently visited by the public (see leaflet EPC-09). The EPC is valid for a period of 10 years and does not have to be updated during this time. If improvements have been made the building owner may choose to update the EPC, particularly if the building is to be sold or re-let.

When an building is to be sold or let, the energy performance indicator (the energy efficiency rating for a dwelling or the building energy performance rating for a non-domestic buildings) must be included in the commercial property adverts, and provided to anyone who enquires about buying or selling the property.

Building owners who fail to provide EPCs or do not include the rating when advertising the building could be subject to a penalty charge notice (minimum £500) in each case, so the advice is to commission the EPC at the earliest opportunity.

EPCs may be requested to support other Government policies in relation to energy efficiency, please read this leaflet in conjunction with the appropriate scheme literature.

Who can produce an EPC?

EPCs can only be produced by an assessor who is a member of an 'approved organisation'. The Scottish Government has entered into agreements with a number of organisations whose members have the skills and expertise to produce EPCs and make recommendations on improvement measures. A list of these approved assessors is held on the Scottish EPC register.

How can I check if I have an EPC or get a copy of the certificate?

The majority of EPCs are lodged on a central database, a search can be made using the building postcode or report reference number (RRN) if known at the EPC register website. The register does not hold data for new construction where the building warrant was applied for before 9 January 2013, or for non-domestic buildings where the EPC was produced before this date.

Can anyone else access the EPC?

Yes. Any single valid EPCs is available via a public search by using, the postcode or RRN on the EPC register website. However, EPCs produced for a building which has a Green Deal plan can only be retrieved using the RRN for that certificate.

Statistics and EPC data may be published by Scottish Government to help in promoting energy efficiency and for research purposes. This information will not be published using individual addresses.

Are there any types of buildings which do not need an EPC?

Yes. The only buildings which do not require an EPC are:

  • stand alone buildings (other than dwellings) with a useful floor area of less than 50 m²
  • temporary buildings with a planned use of two years or less
  • buildings with a low energy demand, i.e. non-residential agricultural buildings and workshops
  • buildings sold for the purpose of demolition.

Please note that 'places of worship' and historic buildings are not subject to an exemption in Scotland.

What should I do with the EPC when I get it?

It is a requirement under law that the EPC must be 'affixed' to the building. Building standards guidance suggests that the EPC be located in the boiler or meter cupboard. A copy should be retained with other legal papers relating to your property.

If I'm not happy with the EPC, what can I do?

Initially, you should contact the EPC assessor (their contact details will be on the Recommendation Report which accompanies the EPC) to discuss any concerns.

If the issue is not resolved by your assessor, contact the Approved Organisation scheme manager who will investigate further. Each Approved Organisation has a complaints procedure, code of conduct and disciplinary process in place. A list of approved EPC assessors and their contact details is published online.

If the Approved Organisation cannot address your concerns, the matter should then be referred to the Building Standards Division.

More information

We also produce a number of other EPC guidance documents that deal with specific issues:

An Intro to Energy Performance Certificates EPC 01.pdf



Back to top