Yvette Cooper has launched the Energy Performance Certificate that will be an essential part of Home Information Packs once they are introduced next year.
The certificates, which will be included in Home Condition Reports, will give home buyers and sellers A to G ratings for their home’s energy efficiency and carbon emissions.
They will tell them current average costs for heating, hot water and lighting in their home as well as how to cut costs with energy efficiency measures.
The reports, prepared by qualified home inspectors, will also advise consumers on which energy measures – ranging from thicker loft insulation right through to solar panels – could cut carbon emissions from their home and improve their energy rating.
Cooper says: “Given the growing challenge from climate change and rising energy costs, I think people should be entitled to this kind of information about the home they buy.
“You can get this kind of consumer information on fridges and washing machines, so why not on a home where the emissions – and the savings – are so much greater?
“By providing people with sound advice on how to improve energy efficiency this will help sellers and buyers who want to do their bit to cut carbon emissions as well as cutting their fuel bills too.”
European agreements require that from 2009 all homes for sale should have energy certificates.
The government says including certificates within HIPs is a fast and cost effective way to give consumers the most up to date information without them having to pay for additional surveys.
It also means England and Wales will be among the EU front runners, introducing energy certificates two years earlier then the deadline set out in the EU directive and linking energy measures to a report on property condition.
The EPC will include practical information about a range of changes that will be viable for that home including things like cavity wall insulation or double glazing.
It will also list measures to cut carbon emissions even further such as solar panels or wind turbines, where possible.
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors has welcomed the launch as an important step towards making consumers aware of domestic energy usage.
Andrew Gooding, spokesman for RICS, says: “EPC will be an important development in encouraging energy efficiency in the domestic sphere.
The regulations prescribing the content of HIPs are expected to be laid later this week following consultation.