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Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) Overview

The real estate market in Malta is booming, driven by a combination of economic growth, favorable tax regimes, and a desirable Mediterranean lifestyle. As the market grows, so does the emphasis on sustainable and energy-efficient living. A key component of this shift is the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), which has become an essential requirement for properties being sold and rented in Malta. This article explores the importance of EPC certificates, their benefits, and the regulatory framework surrounding them.

BE Energy Performance Certificates Overview EPC

What is an EPC Certificate?

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is similar to an energy label on electrical appliances. For residential properties, the EPC displays two scale bars indicating the energy efficiency and carbon emissions of the dwelling, with zero being the most efficient. For non-residential properties, the EPC features a vertical A to G scale, with A being the most efficient and G the least.

Regulatory Framework in Malta

EPCs became mandatory for all dwellings (residential properties) sold or rented from January 2, 2009. They are also required for new constructions or properties undergoing a change of use from the same date. For non-dwellings (non-residential properties), EPCs have been compulsory since June 1, 2009, for buildings sold, rented, or newly constructed/undergoing a change of use with Planning Authority permission.

Why are EPC Certificates Important?

  1. Energy Efficiency Awareness: EPCs increase awareness about energy efficiency among property buyers and sellers, helping them make informed decisions based on energy consumption and potential savings.
  2. Cost Savings: Energy-efficient properties typically have lower energy costs. Buyers can use EPC information to estimate future energy bills and consider additional costs for recommended improvements.
  3. Environmental Impact: Reducing energy consumption in buildings helps lower greenhouse gas emissions. EPCs encourage property owners to adopt energy-saving measures and technologies.
  4. Marketability: Properties with higher energy efficiency ratings are often more attractive to buyers, enhancing their marketability in a competitive market.
  5. Legal Compliance: In Malta, it is a legal requirement to have an EPC when selling or renting out a property. Non-compliance can result in fines and legal complications, making it essential for property owners to obtain and present a valid EPC.

The Process of Obtaining an EPC

  1. Hiring a Qualified Assessor: Property owners must hire a qualified energy assessor registered with the Building and Construction Agency. A list of registered EPB Assessors is available on the EPC Portal.
  2. Assessment and Rating: The assessor evaluates various aspects of the building, such as insulation, heating systems, windows, and ventilation, to calculate the energy efficiency rating.
  3. Recommendations for Improvement: The EPC includes recommendations for improving the property’s energy efficiency, ranging from simple measures like installing energy-efficient lighting to extensive upgrades like adding insulation.
  4. Issuance of the Certificate: After the assessment, the assessor issues the EPC, valid for 10 years, which must be provided to prospective buyers or tenants.

Exemptions from EPC Requirement

Certain categories of buildings are exempt from obtaining an EPC, including:

  • Grade One scheduled properties
  • Buildings subject to the Control of Fireworks and other Explosives Regulations
  • Buildings used for generation, transmission, or distribution by Enemalta Corporation or similar entities
  • Buildings solely housing industrial or agricultural processes or livestock husbandry
  • Temporary buildings planned for use for less than two years
  • Glasshouses used solely for agricultural purposes
  • Stand-alone buildings with a total useful floor area of less than 40 square meters
  • Buildings constructed for use by the Armed Forces of Malta
  • Places of worship

Implementation Dates and Requirements

  • From January 2, 2009, all residential properties being sold or rented require an EPC.
  • Newly constructed dwellings or buildings undergoing a change of use also require an EPC from the same date.
  • Large buildings over 1,000 square meters must conduct feasibility studies for alternative energy systems.
  • Public buildings over 250 square meters must display EPCs.
  • Boilers over 20 kW and air conditioning units over 12 kW require inspection from January 2, 2010.

Costs and Responsibilities

EPC costs vary, and property owners are advised to request quotes from different EPB assessors. The current property owner is responsible for the EPC fee, which includes the assessor’s fees.

Impact of EPC Ratings

A lower energy performance rating (EPRDM) can negatively impact a building’s marketability, while a higher rating can enhance it. New buildings must comply with energy performance regulations, and their marketability depends on various factors, including location and energy costs.

How to Improve EPC Ratings

To improve a building’s EPC rating, consider:

  • Installing external insulation on walls and roofs
  • Applying ventilation techniques for natural cooling
  • Using solar cooling and shading systems
  • Installing double/triple glazing and solar water heating
  • Using energy-efficient heating, cooling, and lighting systems
  • Implementing water collection and recycling systems

Validity of EPCs

An EPC is valid for 10 years unless significant changes are made to the building. If a property with an EPC is marketed within this period without major alterations, the existing EPC remains valid.

EPC certificates are crucial in Malta’s property market, promoting energy efficiency, cost savings, and environmental sustainability. By ensuring properties meet energy performance standards, EPCs contribute to a transparent and responsible real estate sector. For property owners, obtaining an EPC is a legal obligation and a strategic move to enhance their property’s value and attractiveness. As Malta continues to prioritize sustainable development, the role of EPCs will grow in significance, driving the nation towards a greener and more energy-efficient future.

For more details, visit the EPC Portal FAQs or Contact BENESTATES for further assistance.

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