How do we review how energy efficient a property is?
In the UK, assessing the energy efficiency of a building is carried out through an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). EPCs are an essential element of purchasing, selling and renting houses.
What is an EPC Rating?
- An EPC rating reviews a property’s energy efficiency and are carried out by EPC assessors (also known as Domestic Energy Assessors).
- After carrying out a brief survey of the property, the EPC assessor will place the house on a colour-coded scale from A to G.
- A is the most efficient band with the cheapest fuel bills and G is the least efficient.
- Once issued, an EPC rating is valid for 10 years.
- It is the sole responsibility of the house seller or landlord to provide a valid EPC rating.
Key factors that affect an EPC Rating:
- The amount of energy used per m2.
- The level of CO2 emissions (given in tonnes per year).
The above are influenced by a range of factors including:
- The age of the property – generally, the newer the property, the more efficient it will be due to improved building standards and better construction materials.
- The use of different areas of the building.
- The energy source used to heat, cool, and ventilate a property.
- Orientation of the property – a mid-terrace house will perform better than a house of similar age which is detached due to lower wall heat loss.
- Type of boiler in the property.
How can we make use of an EPC?
EPCs are used primarily by potential buyers or renters of a new house or flat to estimate how much their energy bills will likely cost. This is why every household requires an EPC rating before being sold or even rented. What’s more, rental properties for new tenancies and renewables must have a minimum EPC rating of “E” or above. Overall, an EPC rating is a useful tool for homeowners when improving the efficiency and running costs of their property, and should be looked at more often!
Why is it important to improve your EPC rating?
Improving your EPC Rating, is likely to increase your properties value. Studies by the UK government Department of Energy & Climate Change, and by MyMoneySupermarket have both shown how having a higher EPC can improve the value of a home. In fact, the average English home could increase in value by up to 14%, if improved from a G rating to D!
In the UK, lighting accounts for around 15% of a typical household’s electricity bill. Upgrading your lighting to LED light bulbs can save you money and improve an EPC rating. Here’s how:
- LED bulbs consume 80-90% less energy than incandescent or old halogen light bulbs.
- LEDs can last up to 100,000 hours, versus 3,000 hours for an incandescent.
- LEDS, which are 10 times more efficient than the bulbs they replace, can save residents up to £2,975 over a 25-year span.
- They are a relatively inexpensive way of boosting an EPC rating up a few notches.
2. Double/triple glazing
A property without at least double glazing may struggle to reach the required efficiency rating, which is especially the case for older properties. Investing in double or triple glazed windows can reduce the amount of heat loss from a property via its windows.
New double glazing can:
- Boost a property’s EPC score by five to ten points.
- Cost anywhere between £2,000-£5000 to install but can save homeowners approximately £100-£140 a year in heating costs (for a detached home).
- Additional perks include external noise reduction, a bonus for the more urban property.
3. Loft insulation
A property that is not properly insulated will lose around 25% of its heat through the roof alone. Insulating a loft with the recommended 270mm of rock wool can:
- Save residents up to £215 per year, depending on the type of home they live in.
- Reduce the house’s carbon footprint by saving up to 990kg of CO2 every year – this is roughly the equivalent of one return flight from London to New York!
- Improve a home’s EPC rating by as much as 20 points.
4. Wall insulation
Around one third of the heat loss from most homes is through the walls. Houses pre-dating the 1950s are considerably less efficient at keeping heat due to having solid walls with no cavities. Cavity insulation can:
- Save UK homeowners up to £160 a year on heating bills.
- Pay for itself within 5 years or less.
- Simultaneously improve a home’s EPC rating as well as it’s (resale) value.
5. New boiler and heating system
One of the biggest factors influencing an EPC rating and higher energy bills, is the type of boiler you have. A modern boiler and/or heating system can be up to and over 90% energy efficient. In comparison, boilers made from the 1970s tend to be only 65% efficient.
Updating a home’s heating system with a Solar Assisted Heat Pump (SAHP) is another way of providing a home with hot water in a cost-effective and eco-friendly way. As these are powered by electricity, adding Solar panels to a property can help run a home’s hot water system on free, renewable energy. For more details on SAHP including our prices and packages click here.
6. An efficient secondary heating source
Secondary heating systems provide additional warmth to the main source of heating in a house. Electric heat pumps, for example, are increasingly popular because they do not rely on fossil fuels to produce warm and cold air. Other benefits include:
- Less greenhouse gases released into the environment each year.
- Savings on energy bills.
- The ability to be powered via renewables (see below!).
7. Switching to a renewable energy system
Not only can renewables provide clean and cheap energy but they can also greatly improve a property’s EPC rating. A popular way of doing so is through the installation of Solar PV Panels on top of a property.
Installing solar panels can:
- Enhance a property’s EPC rating to a D or above.
- Raise a property’s value, as you are able to generate your own electricity independently.
- Save UK residents anywhere between £90 to £270 a year on energy bills.
If installing Solar Panels to increase your properties EPC rating is of interest to you. Get in touch today for a free Solar Panel quote. In many cases, properties may still have a low EPC rating despite having double glazed windows and full insulation. Switching to renewable energy goes beyond this, and the price of solar panels being 70% cheaper today than in previous years, it’s now more affordable to switch to Solar Energy than ever!
8. Smart meters
Smart meters are exciting devices that can save residents time, energy and money. An impressive 15.5 million smart meters were in operation across British households at the end of March 2020, here’s why:
- They automatically send readings to your energy supplier; reading your meter is a thing of the past!
- You can always expect accurate and up-to-date bills.
- Residents can save money by monitoring and adjusting their power usage from their smart meter readings (all contributing to a better EPC rating).
So, how easy is it to improve your property’s energy efficiency?
It’s evident that a range of options are available when it comes to improving the energy efficiency of your home. From the hassle-free and cheaper options like switching to LEDs, to the more costly but effective methods such as replacing an old boiler, there are routes to energy efficiency everywhere you turn. Whichever you choose, you can always find a way to slash your energy bills and create a cleaner, more energy efficient house.
You can find where your property is ranked on the EPC scale at GOV.UK. On the GOV.UK website you can also discover funding options, including third-party funding, to make the necessary energy saving improvements for your property.