energy performance certificate

APE Certificate: Complete guide to the energy performance certificate needed to sell a house

The APE certificate is one of the documents needed to sell a house and more. In a nutshell, it is a certificate that describes the energy characteristics of a building.

To try to reduce consumption and combat global warming, in fact, since 2002 the European Union has begun to issue directives aimed at improving the energy efficiency of buildings for domestic use. To align with these directives, starting from 2005, Italy introduced the ACE (Energy Certification Certificate) with the aim of measuring energy consumption inside homes, mainly used for heating or cooling, the production of hot water and mechanical ventilation.

Over the years these evaluation parameters have evolved up to the current legislation (entered into force with the decree-law 63/2013) which regulates the issue of the APE, a document necessary not only for the sale of the property but, from 1 July 2010, also for its lease.

In this post, we will deepen in detail what the Energy Performance Certificate is, how long it lasts, when it is mandatory and how it is calculated.

Energy certificate APE: meaning, duration and differences with ACE and AQE (Energy Qualification Certificate)

The APE (whose literal meaning is Energy Performance Certificate) is a document used to certify the energy efficiency of a home.

Generally, the APE certificate has a duration of 10 years and to maintain its validity it is necessary to demonstrate that you have carried out the periodic checks of the boiler required by law, as well as the control and maintenance operations of the systems.

The APE replaces the Energy Certification Certificates prior to the 2013 law, which remains valid until the expiry of 10 years.

Compared to the previous model (ACE), the current Energy Performance Certificate is more complete, as it also takes into account summer consumption, those for hot water, for lighting and, where present, also for systems. Lifting (lifts, escalators, etc. …).

It is also important not to confuse the APE with the AQE (energy qualification certificate), the latter in fact does not specify the energy class of the building but is drawn up in the design phase of the building and presented to the Municipality after the end of the jobs.

APE certificate: when is it needed?

The energy performance certificate is a mandatory document in many cases. Primarily for the sale of the house, but not only.

The APE certificate is also required for:

  • Deeds of donation of the property free of charge;
  • Rental contracts of more than 30 days;
  • Publish announcements for the sale or rental of houses (the energy performance index, in fact, affects the valuation of the property );
  • The new buildings ;
  • Public buildings ;
  • Renovations on over 25% of the entire building;
  • Take advantage of the Super bonus 110 (this is a particular APE certificate that serves to certify the jump of at least two energy classes after the improvement intervention);
  • Make use of the Eco bonus incentives.

APE: when it is not mandatory

In some cases the Ape certification is not mandatory, these circumstances are established by article 3 paragraph 3 of Decree 192/2015 and concern:

  • Insulated buildings of less than 50 square meters;
  • Ruins, if specified in the deed, note them;
  • Industrial buildings without heating;
  • Agricultural buildings without air conditioning;
  • Boxes, cellars or garages;
  • Parking lots and deposits;
  • Places of worship;
  • Properties are not accessible at the time of sale because still under construction.

Energy Class Calculation for Ape certification: how does it work?

The Ape certification assigns each building a corresponding energy class based on the expected consumption, in a similar way to what happens for household appliances. There are 10 energy classes: from A4 (the most efficient) to G (the least efficient).

The calculation of the energy class depends on the Energy Performance Indicator (EP). The EP refers to the main consumption of an apartment, in particular:

  • Warm-up;
  • Domestic hot water;
  • Summer cooling;
  • Mechanical ventilation (where present).

The assignment of the energy class is carried out by referring to an ideal first level real estate model (class A4) that has the same architectural characteristics (size, exposure, position and intended use) of the property in question. The higher the correspondence to this model, the higher the energy class of the house.

Obtaining energy certification: the documents for APE

Before issuing the energy performance certificate, the energy certifier must ensure that all documents are in compliance with what is declared. For this reason, the following documents will be required to obtain the APE:

  • Identification documents of the owner,
  • Cadastral survey;
  • Planimetry;
  • Booklet of the heating systems (autonomous or centralized).

After viewing the documents, the energy certifier in charge (usually an engineer, an architect or a surveyor) will carry out a mandatory inspection, with the aim of obtaining the specifications necessary for the energy diagnosis.

To do this, it will carefully analyze the location of the property, its use, the thickness and stratigraphy of the walls, floor and ceiling of the building, the state of the windows and doors, the characteristics of the heating and refrigeration systems.

Once all the necessary data have been collected, with the use of software certified by the Italian Thermo technical Committee, the certifier will be able to determine the energy performance index that is used to assign the corresponding energy class and draw up the proposals to improve energy efficiency.

APE improvement interventions: what are they?

In addition to the indication of the energy class, therefore, the APE energy certificate must also contain proposals for improvement interventions for energy redevelopment, that is, the opportunities for intervention to improve the energy performance of the building.

Among the Ape improvement interventions can be included:

  • Replacement of fixtures;
  • Insulation of external walls, floors and ceilings;
  • Installation of solar panels;
  • Installation of biomass boilers;
  • Installation of thermostatic valves;
  • More efficient heat pumps;
  • Any other intervention aimed at improving energy performance and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Cost of the APE Certification

The cost of the APE certification is not fixed but varies according to the property, the city and the price requested by the professional who draws up the certificate.

On average, an APE certification costs from 50 to 300 euros, so it is always advisable to contact different professionals and compare multiple quotes.

It is also important to remember that in order to obtain the APE energy certification it is necessary to contact qualified energy certifiers. In fact, if you turn to unqualified operators, you risk invalidating the documents and incurring onerous financial penalties at the time of the sale of the house or its lease.


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