Do Listed Buildings Need An EPC?

Introduced in 2007, Energy Performance Certificates (EPC’s) are a measure of the energy efficiency of a building, with ratings scaled between A (very efficient) – G (inefficient). Domestic, privately leased buildings that require an EPC are also subject to Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES). Although mandatory by law for the construction, sale or leasing of all buildings there has been, and still remains, some level of discrepancy as far as the EPC, and subsequently MEES requirements for listed buildings.

Servicing Sussex and Surrey since 2006, Falcon Energy provides cost effective, professional energy services with the experience and industry specific knowledge to ensure compliance with ever changing Government rules and regulations. For more information regarding our domestic EPC services call us today on 01403 253439. You can also send your enquiry to and we’ll be in touch at a time convenient to you.

What are listed buildings?

The term ‘listed building’ refers to any building protected on the basis of its special architectural or historical interest, due to which it is considered to be of national importance.
Listed buildings are categorised by their significance:

  • Grade I: buildings of exceptional interest.
  • Grade II*: particularly important buildings of more than special interest.
  • Grade II: buildings that are of special interest.

Other notable building categorisations include those protected under ‘Article 4 Directions’; which refers to buildings officially protected due to their location within the boundaries of a conservation area.

These typically historic buildings are protected under varying degrees of restrictions, but in all circumstances their status demands that listed building consent must be applied for, as well as planning permission and building regulations approval, before changes are made that may affect their ‘special interest’.

How EPC’s for listed buildings differ from traditional properties

You would rightly imagine that the legislation regarding EPCs for listed buildings would be clear and easy to interpret. Unfortunately this is not the case, in fact it’s actually decidedly ambiguous.

The official Government stance, as per, states that a range of building types do not need an EPC, including listed buildings. This is because energy efficiency measures such as updated double glazing, new boiler flues, internal and external doors and wall insulation would unacceptably alter the character or appearance of the historic building, which is against the rules of listed buildings. The Government advises to speak to your local authority conservation officer to get full clarity on the best course of action for your listed building.

Because of this ambiguity, and the potentially lengthy period of time required to obtain exemption from a local authority, in many circumstances it is simpler to proceed and simply obtain an EPC for the listed building.

EPC and minimum energy performance requirements for landlords of historic buildings

If an energy performance certificate already exists for the property then it is not only bound by EPC requirements for sale purposes, but also requirements under the MEES Regulations if it is intended to be leased. This is also applicable to buildings located within conservation areas.

If the property has an EPC rating of F-G (making it unlawful), is intended to be leased and is later found to be exempt from EPC requirement, the property is not bound by the MEES Regulations.

Does the EPC process differ for listed buildings?

EPC’s are standard assessments carried out by accredited surveyors, however none of the certification schemes make any special provision for assessors working on historic or older buildings. Because of this, we believe it is important to instruct an EPC assessor with experience in dealing with buildings of historical merit.

We recently carried out EPC and MEES compliance services at the 3500 acre, 150 property Knepp Estate who instructed us to assess and provide guidance with regards to ensuring all buildings were in line with relevant regulations.

Common energy efficiency issues with listed buildings

High thermal inertia

Unlike modern buildings which have been constructed in such a way as to control the movement of moisture and air through the building fabric, historic buildings rely on external factors in order to regulate this flow. Because of this they often have a higher thermal inertia – they’re slower to heat and cool down. This can often lead to issues with damp and other problems related to poor ventilation and breathability.

High levels of heat loss

Due to factors including lower levels of insulation and the presence of period, often single glazed windows, historical buildings may experience high levels of heat loss. This increased heat loss equates to low levels of energy efficiency during periods of time in which conventional heating is required to maintain an acceptable temperature throughout the building.

Outdated heating systems

Many historic buildings were / are reliant on outdated and inefficient heating systems. However, energy efficiency improvements like this for listed buildings, including the upgrade of boilers etc., are not as difficult as making cosmetic changes to the exterior of the building as they are unlikely to affect what is ‘unique’ about the property.


Does a listed building need an EPC to sell?

In short, there is no definitive yes or no answer. There are some EPC requirement exemptions for listed buildings, and those built within conservation areas. If in doubt we would advise speaking to your local conservation officer.

How do you make a listed property more energy efficient?

A comprehensive guide to improving the energy efficiency of listed buildings by Historic England can be found here.

Can you retrofit a listed building?

Yes, absolutely you can retrofit a listed building. However prior to any work being carried out the relevant permissions will need to be obtained:

  • Listed building consent
  • Planning permission
  • Building regulations approval

Enquire about listed building EPC’s

If you own a listed building and are unsure as to whether or not you require an EPC, our team of energy experts are on hand and able to assist. Simply call us on 01403 253439, or complete our online contact form for a free, no obligation quote for any of our services.

Posted in EPC's.