Energy Performance Certificates are an essential part of buying, selling and renting your home in the UK. This rating is a review of your property’s efficiency, which can be used to understand your home’s CO2 emissions and how much your energy bill is likely to cost your household.
Not only can a good EPC rating help improve the likelihood of selling your home, but it can also help to lower carbon emissions, plus reduce energy bills and costs. From changing out your windows to opting for a smart meter, there are many ways you can improve your property’s energy efficiency.
What is EPC Rating?
An EPC rating relates to a property's energy efficiency. These ratings are carried out by Domestic Energy Assessors in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In Scotland, EPC surveys must be undertaken by government-approved associations. To determine an EPC rating, a brief survey will be carried out on your property. It is then placed on a colour-coded scale from A to G, with a grade A being the most efficient and G being the most inefficient.
Your property’s EPC rating will depend on:
- The amount of energy used per m²
- The level of carbon dioxide emissions in tons per year
How Long is an EPC Valid?
Once issued, your EPC will be valid for 10 years. An EPC certificate can cost up to £120 but it is often a much smaller fee. There is no real benefit to choosing a more expensive provider, so it is often worth shopping around in order to find the best deal. You may also be able to receive a free EPC for your home if you have made energy efficient improvements.
So how do you get an EPC certificate? The assessment will usually take between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on the size of your home. It will be carried out by a Domestic Energy Assessor who will take into account several factors. This will include the construction and size of your home, the lighting, heating system and controls, and your home’s insulation. They will need access to every room in your property including the loft space where possible.
EPC Certificates On Listed Buildings
An EPC rating is not always required on listed properties or properties in a conservation area, as long as they achieve minimum standards for energy performance, and if the energy improvement requirements would 'unacceptably alter' the property's character or appearance. A listed building must, however, have an E rating or above before they are sold or rented out.
EPC Ratings for Landlords
Since the 1st April 2020, landlords can no longer rent out properties covered by The Domestic Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard Regulations if they have an EPC rating below E. If you are planning to let out a property with an energy rating of F or G, you will need to improve the property’s rating to E, or register for an exemption.
How to Improve an EPC Rating?
If you need to improve your EPC rating, there are a number of simple and effective ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home. These improvements could also help to make your home more cost effective.
Upgrade Your Light Bulbs to LED
Switching to LED light bulbs could help to lift your rating up by one or two places if your EPC rating is right on the margins. They are more energy efficient and eco-friendly and could make a notable difference.
LED light bulbs have become increasingly popular in recent years as they can have long-term savings on your electricity bill and are a relatively cheap way to improve your EPC rating.
Insulate Your Property Throughout
Installing new insulation in your home's walls and roof can be a particularly effective way to improve your EPC score, especially if the insulation was previously below standard. Having insulation in your roof that is at least 270mm thick will have a significant impact on how much energy escapes.
Investing in wall cavity insulation can also be a very effective way of improving your EPC rating. It is a simple and relatively cheap step to take, costing approximately £475 for a standard semi-detached home. The cost will, however, depend on the size of your property.
Opt for Double or Triple Glazed Windows
Investing in the latest heating technologies and insulation could all be put to waste if you fail to think about your windows. Upgrading to double or triple glazed windows will reduce the overall amount of heat that is lost through your windows as they provide an extra layer (or two layers) of glass to insulate your home.
These days, most homes have at least double glazed windows, as properties without double glazed windows are unlikely to reach the EPC rating required. Triple glazed windows are becoming more popular thanks to their increased efficiency, though this is likely to have only a small effect on your EPC rating and can be a lot more expensive.
Install a More Efficient Boiler
Depending on the age of your current boiler, switching to a newer condensing model can have a great effect on your EPC rating - increasing it by as much as 40 points. While this might be an expensive step to take, choosing an eco-friendly boiler will make your home increasingly more energy efficient in the long run.
Alongside this, introducing new heating technologies such as smart thermostats can help to improve your EPC rating while also saving on your heating costs.
Move Forward with a Smart Meter
There are several smart devices that can help increase your energy efficiency and reduce your bills. A smart thermostat is a great way to control your heating. A device that is hooked up to a phone app means you can control your heating remotely - perfect for turning up your heating when you’re on your way home or turning it off if you’ve forgotten before leaving the house. It’s the best solution for convenient, energy-efficient and cost-effective heat management.
A Halo smart thermostat can be controlled using simple voice commands on your Amazon Alexa or Google Home. Its intelligent heating systems will cut out energy wastage by only warming your property when you’re at home.
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