Many buildings require an energy performance certificate (EPC), but it has always been unclear whether listed buildings need this type of certificate. The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government has recently released new guidance about this matter, but many people are still confused about the law.
Energy efficiency standards
Buildings generally have to comply with minimum energy efficiency standards, with any new rental property or renewal required to have a minimum E rating in accordance with an EPC; however, there are exemptions, including some residential buildings if they are rented or sold. In these instances, the minimum energy efficiency standards are not applicable.
You can find out more about EPCs on the government’s advice page. This explains how a certificate is needed when a property is built, sold or rented.
Until now, it has been thought that listed buildings are exempt from these standards; however, recent changes related to EU rulings make the new legislation unclear. Apparently, buildings that are currently protected as part of the environment or have special architectural merit are exempt from changes if they could interfere with their character.
There are many recommendations for buildings to comply with new standards, such as installing double glazing, wall insulation and external boiler flues. Double glazing for any building improves insulation and sound proofing and can be easily sourced from experts such as https://www.firmfix.co.uk/windows/, whether people are looking for Cheltenham double glazing windows or glazing in another part of the country.
Problems with the law
If such alternations to modernise the building could take the property away from its original historical appearance in an unacceptable way, advice must be sought from the local planning authority’s conservation officer.
One problem with this advice is that unless you have an EPC, you will not know whether the property complies with the minimum E requirement. You will not know what alterations are required, so cannot know whether they are acceptable or change the historic value of the property.
Despite the new rulings and advice issued, it seems that there are still many aspects of the rules on EPCs that are unclear. Listed buildings have a special place in the heart of the nation and modernisation is not always possible or desirable, which is why more clarity is needed within the law.