Maximizing Energy Efficiency: Elevate Your EPC Rating and Slash Energy Costs
Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are essential when you’re leasing or selling your dwelling. Discover how one of our astute property owners lessened their energy expenditures by 60%, saving an impressive £787 annually!
In this article we’ll cover:
- What is an EPC?
- How to interpret your EPC certificate
- How to prioritize actions to enhance your EPC rating
- Ways to boost your domicile’s EPC rating economically
- Strategies for the most significant EPC rating improvement
- The savings achieved by a homeowner after enhancing their EPC rating
Eager to reduce costs on your energy bills? You’re not alone! Homeowners throughout the UK are striving to conserve every penny possible. With soaring energy costs, rendering your abode more energy-efficient is a sensible initiative. However, instead of undertaking arbitrary home enhancements, it’s prudent to ensure your efforts yield a substantial return on investment. This is where EPCs become pivotal. We’ve collaborated with Jamie Smith, who operates EPC Choice Ltd, to delve into how securing an EPC and adhering to its recommendations for augmenting your EPC rating can lead to substantial savings this winter. Jamie possesses over three decades of property expertise and was among the inaugural qualified Assessors when EPCs were introduced in 2008. Since then, EPC Choice has flourished, supplying EPCs for clientele across the UK.
What is an EPC?
An EPC, or Energy Performance Certificate, is a report indicating the energy efficiency of a structure, graded from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient). To compile this data, an Evaluator will visit your property to execute an EPC inspection. They’ll size up your property and document details about elements such as the walls, floors, roof, windows, and heating to determine your property’s energy efficacy. Depending on the size of your property, this can take between 30 and 60 minutes. Generally, homeowners acquire an EPC when they’re either leasing or marketing their properties, a requirement mandated by law. However, EPCs offer more than just an insight into a property’s energy efficiency. They also provide recommendations for elevating your property’s energy effectiveness and even estimate potential savings on energy bills by implementing each suggestion. Hence, an increasing number of homeowners are now seeking EPCs purely to evaluate their home’s energy performance. By obtaining an EPC and learning how to enhance your house EPC rating, you can diminish your energy consumption and save funds annually.
How to interpret your EPC certificate
Aspiring to cut costs on your energy expenditures means more than just receiving an EPC and neglecting it in your drawer (or email). Comprehending your EPC is crucial. Within your EPC, you’ll find the following:
- Energy rating: At the summit of your EPC, you’ll spot a letter from A to G. This symbolizes your energy rating, with A being the pinnacle and G the lowest. To lease your property, it must be at least a band E. However, certain buy-to-let mortgage lenders now stipulate landlords to attain at least a band C.
Energy Efficiency Rating Graph
Next, consider examining your energy efficiency rating chart. The ‘current’ section displays your property’s present position on the energy efficiency scale. The ‘potential’ area indicates where your property could rank with enhancements. Beyond your grade (A to G), a numerical score is presented, indicating the proximity to a higher tier. A greater score denotes enhanced energy efficiency, which likely leads to reduced energy bills. In England and Wales, the typical energy rating is D, and the average score is 60.
Analysis of Property’s Energy Performance
This segment offers a detailed analysis of the energy efficiency of individual components of your property, including walls, floors, roof, windows, doors, heating system, and lighting. Each element receives a rating, from ‘very good’ (most efficient) to ‘very poor’ (least efficient). This provides a clear indication of which areas of your home are impacting your property’s energy efficiency. Note that this assessment does not evaluate the condition or functionality of each feature. This section also outlines your ‘primary energy usage,’ an estimate of your annual energy consumption in kWh per m², based on assumptions about the occupants’ usage and lifestyle.
Environmental Impact of This Property
If environmental sustainability matters to you, this part of the report is crucial. It details your property’s environmental footprint, particularly focusing on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions it’s estimated to generate. Your property will be assigned a rating from A (lowest CO2 output) to G (highest CO2 output). The EPC will indicate the annual CO2 emissions in tonnes and its ‘potential production’ – the reduced amount of CO2 emissions achievable if you implement the advised modifications outlined in your certificate. On average, a household emits 6 tonnes of CO2 each year.
Enhance This Property’s Energy Performance
Your EPC will then enumerate step-by-step suggestions to bolster your property’s energy efficiency. These proposals are derived from data gathered by your Assessor during the EPC assessment. The EPC provides an approximate cost for each suggested improvement and an estimate of potential energy bill savings annually. However, be mindful that these cost estimations may not always align with current market rates (including recent increases in fuel prices). Hence, obtaining quotes from local tradespeople is recommended before commencing any work.
Estimated Energy Use and Potential Savings
The concluding part of your EPC projects the typical expenses a household would incur in your property for heating, lighting, and hot water. It also outlines potential savings achievable by implementing the recommended enhancements. Remember, this is a general estimate and does not account for the number of occupants. Further, the EPC delves into the estimated heating demand for the property, expressed in kWh per year. You can use this figure alongside your energy provider’s rates for gas or electricity to estimate your annual costs. If insulation improvements are advised, the EPC will also specify the particular savings expected from such installation.
How to Prioritise Steps to Improve Your EPC Rating
With your EPC in hand, reviewing the recommended improvements might be overwhelming, especially when funds are limited. Prioritizing becomes key. The EPC helps here, as the suggestions are listed to maximize cumulative effect. Typically, augmentations like enhancing insulation precede boiler upgrades, as a new boiler is less effective in a poorly insulated property. The improvements are best carried out in the order listed for optimal energy performance enhancement. However, it’s understandable if not every recommendation is feasible, or if executing them in the given sequence is financially challenging. It’s okay to adapt as needed. To gauge the impact of a single improvement, compare the ‘before’ and ‘after’ ratings for that specific change. This offers an uplift estimate, although it’s not always exact since your property hasn’t benefited from preceding measures. For a precise evaluation of how a standalone recommendation will impact your EPC rating, consider requesting your Assessor to use a Recommendation Selector tool, providing exact uplift figures and ensuring accuracy.
Enhancing Your House EPC Rating Economically
Every dwelling varies, and so do the home improvement solutions that can most effectively elevate your house’s energy performance. We consulted Jamie from EPC Choice Ltd for some frequently recommended low-to-moderate cost measures in EPCs. If these appear on your report, addressing them promptly could significantly boost your house EPC rating and lead to substantial energy bill savings!
- Switch to Modern LED Bulbs: A common finding in EPCs is the presence of outdated, inefficient bulbs. Replacing them with LED bulbs (typically under £5 each) can save about £15 per bulb annually and reduce carbon emissions significantly.
- Upgrade Loft Insulation: Often highlighted in EPCs, improving loft insulation (around £500) can enhance your energy score by three to seven points and save up to £300 yearly in heating.
- Install Cavity Wall Insulation: Common in homes built before the 1980s, adding cavity wall insulation can majorly uplift your EPC rating. The average cost is around £475 for a semi-detached house, with potential annual savings of £300.
Major Improvements for EPC Rating Enhancement
Now let’s explore high-cost solutions that can significantly improve your EPC rating:
- Solar Panels: Installation can improve your EPC rating by 8 to 15 points, with initial costs between £5,000 and £8,000. However, it can yield up to £610 yearly in electricity savings.
- Solid Wall Insulation: A major factor in EPCs, especially for homes with solid walls. Insulation costs average around £9,000 for a semi-detached house but can dramatically boost your EPC rating.
Remember, solid wall insulation can alter your home’s appearance, and it’s important to consider if your property is listed or in a conservation area before proceeding with this improvement.
Additional High-Impact Improvements
Mark from S4G Drone Services suggests further impactful measures to boost your EPC rating:
- Double Glazing
- New Doors
- Air Source Heat Pumps
- Wind Turbines
Substantial Savings from EPC Upgrades
We inquired with Jamie from EPC Choice Ltd about real-life savings from EPC-implemented improvements. He cited a three-bedroom terraced house that progressed from a D rating (score of 61) to a B rating (score of 81) after adding loft insulation, double glazing, LED bulbs, solid wall insulation, and solar panels. This resulted in the homeowner reducing their annual energy cost from £1,256 to £469, saving £787.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How to Obtain an EPC Certificate? Secure an EPC by finding an accredited assessor for a property survey. EPC costs vary based on property size, with prices ranging from £55 for a studio to over £150 for larger houses.
- How to Access My EPC Certificate? Existing EPCs can be found via the Gov.uk website.