Home information packs (HIPs) and energy performance certificates (EPCs) have become inextricably linked in the press. However, they must be seen separately.

It is true that an EPC is a compulsory element of a HIP. However, while the future of HIPs hangs in the balance, there is no doubt that EPCs will soon be here to stay. European Member States are compelled to introduce legislation to make EPCs compulsory on the construction, sale and letting of all buildings, whether residential or commercial. Typically, the UK has made use of a three year grace period to introduce the necessary legislation, meaning that we are unlikely to see the mandatory use of EPCs across the board until 2009.

An EPC is a document prepared by an accredited energy assessor for a specific building. It identifies relevant fittings in the building (such as double glazing) and provides an A to G rating for the energy performance of the building together with recommendations for improving the energy efficiency. An example of an EPC can be found here.