Energy Performance Certificate in Spain: a Guide to EPC (Certificado de Eficiencia Energetica)

What types of properties in Spain require the Energy Certificate and how to get it?
Since June 2013 a certificate of energy efficiency has become mandatory for many types of real estate in Spain. The introduction of this innovation is due to the requirements of the European Union.
Barcelona view
And in this regard, everyone who is going to buy or sell property should take an interest and find out about all the details of obtaining this certificate.
European legislation is aimed at improving energy efficiency in buildings and homes as a concern for the environment. Before 2013, in Spain, there was only one document focused on the environment, which was an energy certificate for new houses or houses requiring major repairs (Royal Decree 47/2007). All the residential real estate put up for sale or for rent, in Europe, falls under this law. In all other European countries, this regulation has been in effect since 2010.

1. What is the Energy Efficiency certificate?

Energy certificate includes an assessment of energy efficiency in residential premises in a building or part of it (shop, office, etc.), as well as recommendations on ways to reduce energy consumption and improve the quality of energy efficiency of the property.
According to the accepted classification, all houses are assigned a certain category in the form of a letter, from A (the most effective from the point of view of energy saving) to G (the least effective).
This document contains two parameters of the energy efficiency of a dwelling, the level of electricity consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. Following the inspection, authorized specialist issues a certificate, which indicates the degree of property's energy saving from A to G, where A is the lowest level of energy consumption and G is the highest. Energy efficiency is determined on the basis of the annual energy consumption during the standard operation of a premise.
The introduction of Energy Certificates allows you to understand the degree of environmental impact in the operation of residential premises. Also, the owner is given the exact energy characteristics of his property and recommendations on its improvement.
Thanks to Certificato de Efeciencia, the buyer or tenant will be able to evaluate and compare several selected properties in sense of the amount of future costs for their maintenance and make a final decision.

What is the energy label?

The energy label is a document that details the qualification, obtained by the home.

This data uses a scale of letters ranging from A, being the highest, to G, which is the lowest of all. In addition, it is accompanied by a series of colours that allows defining which is the most efficient.

This data is incorporated in the energy certificate, but also includes information on the amount of carbon dioxide that can be issued and even provides data on annual energy consumption. To better understand how this label works, we break down existing qualifications:

CLASS A
(dark green)
This is the "TOP" of energy efficiency, it is the most efficient housing with energy consumption much lower than the average (less than 50% of the Spanish average). Maybe you have already heard the phrases like "almost zero consumption", this is what defines this energy class.
CLASS B
(light green)
High quality, very efficient homes that reduce energy consumption to almost half of what an average Spanish household consumes.
CLASS C (yellowish green)
These are efficient homes since they consume between 10% and 25% less than the national average.
CLASS D
(yellow)
This one is reserved for slightly better than average housing, making consumption up to 10% lower. These are homes with a certain degree of thermal insulation, windows with double glazing and that have an efficient air conditioning system.
CLASS E
(light orange)
The National average. Most of the houses in the Valencian community fall within this level of Energy Efficiency.
CLASS F
(orange)
This class includes low-efficiency homes that have high energy consumption (up to 25% above the average) either due to bad installations, poor insulation or the combination of both. These types of properties are usually more than 40 years old and need improvements.
CLASS G (red)
The most inefficient. They are homes in very bad conditions, with nonexistent insulation, bad construction and without adequate heating facilities. The energetic consumption shoots up (more than 25% above the average) because it requires a lot of energy to achieve minimum comfort conditions. The energy reformation should be almost mandatory, although the Law does not force the owners to do so at this point in time. Buyers surely run away from this type of property.
Important! The energy rating must be indicated in the advertisements if you place your property on Spanish web-portals. (or en trámite).
Energy rating must be indicated in the advertisements
Energy rating must be indicated in the advertisements

2. Is an EPC mandatory?

In accordance with the royal decree of 235/2013 from June 1, 2013, all owners planning to sell or rent property in good condition built before 2007 will have to have an energy certificate. Otherwise, the owner will be fined.

However, there are some exceptions, that will be described further.

What happens if you do not have the energy performance certificate (EPC)?

From the moment the law is put into action, the Certificate of Efficiency is a prerequisite for the lease or sale of a property. If there is no such document, the owner may be charged a fine in the amount of €300 to €6,000, depending on the offense. Also, the tenant or buyer of real estate may file a lawsuit against the owner, if they do not provide this document. This can also be done by the authorities. Furthermore, a sale or rent may be completely cancelled due to a violation of consumer rights.

There are three types of sanctions, minor, serious and very serious. The amount of sanctions depends on the severity.
— Very serious infractions
are when the information is falsified in the issuance or registration of the certificate, when a certifying technician is not in power to perform this procedure or when an owner is using a certificate that is not registered.
— Serious infractions
are when the calculation methodology during the basic procedure of certification is violated, the certificate is not presented to the Comunidad Autonomo for registration, the certificate displays a label that does not correspond to the actual one, and when the owner sells or rents a property without having the valid certificate to the buyer or lessee.
— Minor infractions
are advertising the sale or rental of homes that must have a certificate without mentioning their rating, not displaying the efficiency label when it is mandatory, issuing certificates without the required information, not complying with the obligations of renewal or updating of certificates, failure to include the certificate in the housing register and publicize the rating of the project only when the building is finished.

3. When the Energy Efficiency Certificate is not required?

a) Buildings that are officially protected because they are part of a declared environment or due to their particular architectural or historical value, provided that any action to improve energy efficiency alters their character or aspect in an unacceptable manner.

b) Buildings or specific areas of buildings that are used exclusively as places of worship and for religious activities.

c) Provisional constructions with an expected period of use equal to or less than two years.

d) Industrial, defence and non-residential agricultural buildings, or parts of them, with low energy demand. Those areas that do not require thermal comfort conditions, such as those for industrial workshops and processes, are considered low energy demand.
e) Buildings or parts of isolated buildings with a total useful area of less than 50 m2.

f) Buildings that are purchased for major renovations or demolition.

g) Buildings or parts of existing buildings, whose use is less than 4 months a year, or for a limited time per year and with an expected energy consumption of less than 25 percent of what would result from their use during all the year, as long as this is confirmed by the responsible declaration of the owner of the home.
Also, the certificate is not required if the lease agreement was concluded before 01/06/13. In all other cases, the Energy Certificate is obligatory.

4. What types of residential properties require
the Energy Certificate?

  • Buildings of new construction.
  • Buildings or parts of existing buildings that are sold or rented to a new tenant, as long as they do not have a valid certificate.
  • From 2018, residential buildings that are more than 50 years old. They will have the obligation to have a building evaluation report and, within it, the energy certificate, even if they are not going to be sold or rented.
House heating
In other words, all residential buildings, intended to be sold or rented out, that are in good condition (not for demolition or complete renovation), should be certified.

5. How to get the certificate
(Certificado de Eficiencia Energetica)?

1
You are free to choose an on-site expert who conducts an inspection and coordination with official data indicated in the building permit, collects the necessary information, takes photographs.
2
With the help of a special program, a text document of the conclusion of the energy expertise is drawn up.
3
This document is then submitted to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Tourism, where it is confirmed and sent electronically (in PDF format) back to the expert.
4
After that, the expert's opinion is sent to the client by e-mail or by other means.
5
After receiving the document, the owner must inform the administration, the mayor's office or another regional government body about obtained certificate within 30 days so it can be registered. In some provinces, it is possible to do it online.
6
Once the energy certificate has been registered, the body under the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Tourism will issue an energy label, which is the one that must be shown in the advertisement of the property.

Who can carry out the energy performance certificate?

You can obtain an Energy Certificate from a technical, industrial engineer or architect who has permission to do it. Also, energy certification services are provided by many private companies. The client has the right to ask for a document confirming that the expert or organization offering their services is actually registered in the relevant Spanish chamber. It is recommended to make sure that the issued expert opinion has a registration number assigned to it by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Tourism. Without this number, which is a kind of official confirmation, this certificate is invalid.

Registration of expert's opinion is also a kind of protection for the expert themselves. As a rule, they only receive money after the transfer of the registered conclusion to the client. If the customer does not pay, the expert can annul his conclusion and it will no longer have any power.

The energy efficiency certificates must be available to the competent authorities that require it for inspection or any other purpose. It can be stored in the housing register, at the owner's or at the president of the community of owners.

Before the deed, the seller is obliged to obtain this certificate and present it at the Notary, otherwise the transaction will not be allowed. Then this certificate is transferred to the new owner of the property.

How long does it take to issue the energy rating certificate?

Once the technician inspects the property, you can receive the energy qualification certificate almost immediately, but this is not valid until you register it. In some places, registration can be done online, so the time is reduced to a few minutes, you will just have to wait for the delivery of the energy label. In other cases, it may take a few days or weeks depending on the office hours, etc. In reality, the delivery time for the EPC differs depending on the following processes:
  • Time for a technician to estimate a rating and issue the certificate.
  • Time for the authority (that varies in provinces) to issue and deliver the energy label.
Usually, it will take a week or two to receive a valid certificate.
The energy label can be delivered at the time of registration, as it happens in communities such as Andalusia and Extremadura. In Madrid, you have to wait 2 days, but in Aragón that period can last between 2 and 6 months.

How much does it cost to obtain the certificate?

The cost of service depends on the area and labour costs of the specialist (about 1 euro per m2). Usually, the price starts at 150 euros for a studio. Energy Certificates for a villa or commercial property is around 300-600 euros.

6. How to get the energy certificate for a building in Spain?

Newly constructed buildings are certified before and after the construction, and the responsibility for this process lies on the shoulders of developers.
The energy perfoman certificate
The energy performance certificate of an existing building should be signed by a competent technician, who can be freely chosen by the owner of the building.
During this process, the competent technician will be able to count on the collaboration of technical assistants for the energy certification process of buildings, both for data collection, the use of tools and recognized software for energy qualification and definition of improvement measures. They will also manage administrative procedures and documentation related to energy inspection and certification processes.

7. How to get the energy performance certificate
for a home in Spain?

In short, it is obtained in the same way as the certificate of energy efficiency in buildings, by contacting a qualified technician or a private company that provides energy certification services.

The process is simple and necessary for future tenants or buyers, but it is also very useful for the current owners because they will have valuable information about the consumption of their home, and the things they can do to reduce it.

8. What information is provided on the energy efficiency certificate?

  • Identification of the building to be certified.
  • Description of inspections performed by a technician, data collection and energy characteristics of the property (operating conditions, thermal comfort, lighting, indoor air quality, etc.).
  • Energy certificates allow you to understand the degree of environmental impact during the operation of residential premises, fixing two parameters, which are the level of electricity consumption and the level of carbon dioxide emissions. The degree of energy saving of real estate has a scale from A to G, where A is the lowest level of energy consumption and G is the highest.
Certificate provides recommendations on how to reduce energy
  • The certificate provides recommendations on how to reduce energy consumption and improve the quality of energy efficiency of real estate.
  • Energy certificate helps to determine the amount of the upcoming cost of housing. Evaluation of their effectiveness and the preparation of a preliminary estimate of costs is based on a number of standard criteria (calculation of annual energy consumption during standard operation of the premises, assessment of energy savings, current electricity prices, etc.).

9. Is Certificado de Eficiencia Energetica forever?

The certificate is valid for 10 years. This document must be registered with the state body of the autonomous community. The owner is responsible for the renewal of the certificate in accordance with the requirements of the competent authority established in the autonomous community, which, in turn, must monitor compliance with the obligations for certification of energy efficiency of buildings.

Also, the owner may renew the certificate if they are sure that the amount of energy consumption of his property has decreased due to the use of energy-saving equipment or the reconstruction of the building.

10. Spanish Energy Efficiency Certificate — Conlcusions

All in all, almost half of the energy spent by Spanish families is used to heat and cool their homes, according to the Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving (IDAE).
Examples of energy efficiency in letters and numbers:
An apartment of 70 m² certified as E consumes a cost of 735 euros per year for air and water heating and air conditioning.

This level of Energy Efficiency is the most common in Spanish houses. The same apartment, but with letter B, is 282 euros per year for the same utilities. Those rated with a G, the least efficient, can reach up to 1,535 euros.
Spanish flag
This energy consumption varies greatly depending on the geographical location.

How to make your home more efficient in terms of energy?

1) Choose the most efficient appliances
There are labels on each device that indicates the energy and water consumption. The label shows a rating from A +++ to D.
2) Install double glazed window
It helps to improve thermal and acoustic comfort, reduce CO2 emissions and save on heating and air conditioning bills.
3) Take into account lighting
It is also necessary to take into account lighting, as it represents around 25% of the energy consumed. LED bulbs are the most efficient, their consumption is 80% lower compared to the incandescent bulbs. In contrast to the 8,000 hours that low-energy bulbs last, LEDs have a lifespan of 50,000-70,000 hours, and another positive aspect is they do not have contaminants when disposed of.
4) Take advantage of sunlight
Take advantage of sunlight by raising the blinds, turn off the light in rooms that are not used and install lighting sensors.
5) Decrease the contracted power
Another tip is to decrease the contracted power that is the fixed part that is paid on the electricity bill, as it is never wrong to verify that the fee we are paying is adequate.
6) Heating, air conditioning, and hot water systems
Heating, air conditioning, and hot water systems are another element that consumes your money. The tips to save on the costs of these elements are, check that windows are not opened more than 10 minutes a day in each room to prevent heat loss, which would reduce extra costs for heating, and regulate the temperature using thermostats.
So, if you want to sell or rent your Spanish property, then you need to have an Energy Certificate. And if you plan to buy or rent a house in Spain, then you need to make sure that the seller/landlord has Certificato de Efeciencia.

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