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Self-catering properties in Scotland need to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
In this section:
- What is an Energy Performance Certificate?
- How can I get an Energy Performance Certificate?
- How can I improve the property’s energy rating?
- What should I do with an Energy Performance Certificate?
- Further advice
1. What is an Energy Performance Certificate?
Energy Performance Certificates tell you how energy efficient a building is. It will give your property a rating from A (very efficient) to G (inefficient), similar to the ratings seen on appliances.
These certificates will give an indication of how costly a building could be to heat and light, and what its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are. It also highlights cost-effective ways to achieve a better rating and what this new rating would be.
Once issued, Energy Performance Certificates are valid for 10 years.
Check if your property already has an Energy Performance Certificate! Search for an Energy Performance Certificate by postcode on the Scottish EPC Register.
2. How can I get an Energy Performance Certificate?
To get a certificate, an energy assessor will need to visit your property for a 60-minute survey. Energy Performance Certificate can cost up to £150, so you may want to get some quotes and shop around for the best deal. You might need a commercial or non-domestic Energy Performance Certificate which cost more.
The assessor needs access to every room in the property. Where relevant, they might take notes of the following:
- Size of the living space
- Construction of the property (incl. age and materials)
- Any insulation (wall, roof and floor)
- Lighting (fixed fittings only)
- Heating system and heating controls
- Head and shoulder inspection of any loft spaces
They might also ask you:
- When was the property built?
- When were any extensions and conversions made?
- If you converted the loft into a room, when was the work carried out?
- Has the property been inspected for (or does it have any) cavity wall insulation?
- Have you added any double-glazing windows or doors very recently?
- Does the property have any under-floor insulation? Is this visible or do you have the receipts for this work?
- Do you have documented evidence for upgrades or improvements to things that aren't easily visible?
- Are you on a single or double electricity meter?
3. How can I improve the property’s energy rating?
Some energy efficiency measures may be quite easy and relatively low cost to put in place. It would be worth considering putting these in place before you have your Energy Performance Certificate survey done.
Other measures may be more expensive and better to consider longer term or to combine with other major renovation work.
The energy assessor counts the number of light fittings you have, and the number of low-energy light bulbs you use. Compact Fluorescent or LED type or normal florescent tube type all count as low-energy light bulbs. The survey will only include fixed fittings.
We'd recommend that you only use low-energy lighting. It can save energy on a day-to-day basis when the property is in use. If you can't change the lighting throughout the property all at once, it's best to prioritise those areas where you have the lights on most often.
Don't forget about your external lighting either. Make good use of automatic lighting controls such as light or motion sensors where possible.
The energy assessor carries out a head and shoulder inspection of your loft space, where relevant and possible. This is to check how much loft insulation is present and if it's either laid on the joists or affixed to the rafters. The current recommendation is to have 270mm of loft insulation laid at the joists.
If your loft is easy to access, does not have damp problems and there is not a flat roof, it should be easy to insulate. You can do this yourself if you're competent in DIY or you can call a professional installer.
The assessor will also check the building for cavity walls as well as any added of floor insulation. These may not be easy to see, so if these areas had any work done it might be best to simply hand over documented evidence.
The energy assessor makes a visual inspection of the windows to find out if it is single, double, triple glazed or has secondary glazing. If there is double-glazing, they check if it was installed before or after 2002. If your property has a conservatory, the assessor will also have to inspect it.
It is worth checking your property for draughts. When your property is draught-free, your heating system doesn’t have to work so hard. Draught proofing can be a cheap and effective way of saving some energy and improving comfort for guests.
Heating and heating controls
The largest parts of the calculation for the Energy Performance Certificate is your property’s heating system. If you have one or more boilers, it is useful to have the model name, number and the handbook for that model at hand for the energy assessor.
The energy assessor also takes note of the time and heat controls. These include room thermostats and thermostatic radiator valves fitted in your property. They'll also list any other form of heating such as coal, log, or gas / coal-effect fire.
Heating can account for more than 40% of total energy use. For self-catering properties, you have little direct control over the heating when guests are in. So, it is important you provide guests with clear information on how to use heating controls and make best use of any automatic controls.
It is a legal requirement to affix your Energy Performance Certificate within the property. Building standards guidance suggests to put it in the boiler or meter cupboard. Keep a copy with other legal papers relating to your property.
You also need to include a mention of your EPC rating in any ads or promotional materials (printed and online). You can include this for existing promotions when you renew or update the content. This includes:
- Advertisements in media
- Your website
- Online business listings with booking platforms