EPC Bromley Energy Report

EPC Demand

The demand for EPCs is increasing with landlords continuing to commission domestic energy assessors for the certificates in order to gauge the energy performances of their property portfolios.

On 1 April 2020, the MEES regulations are extended to cover all domestic properties with existing leases. This means that leases covering properties which are rated E or below will be invalid, regardless of whether they have already been deemed as compliant.

How Landlords can use an Energy Report

An Energy Report gives landlords information which is in many ways similar to an EPC. Landlords need to know the energy rating of their properties if they want to comply with MEES regulations and the Energy Report provides a cheaper way to do this. It will give them information on the energy rating before and after energy improvement measures are installed.

The Energy Report is easy to follow with any unnecessary clutter featuring on an EPC removed.

What Information does the Report Provide?

The information is presented in a way which is concise, making it easy to understand. It is generated using RdSAP methodology with the same calculations used by an EPC.

The following details are provided by the report.

  • Energy Rating – The current and potential energy rating of the property is prominently shown on the first page.
  • Recommendations – On page two there is a table with recommended measures. Each measure is shown with its cumulative ratings change. All of the measures would need to be installed in order for the property to reach its full potential rating.
  • Estimated Costs of the Property – The running costs of heating the space, lighting the property and heating the hot water are shown within a table. The estimated costs after improvements are installed are also shown.
  • Estimates CO2 Emissions – The current and potential CO2 emissions of the property are shown on a simple scale.
  • About the Document – Who compiled the report and a disclaimer related to the information contained within.
  • Data Inputs – Displaying the inputted measures and the assumed values used to compile the report.

Click on the links for further information on MEES, Energy Reports, or to book a survey.

MEES 2019

The first stage of the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) was introduced in April 2018. A year later, MEES 2019 has updated the previous conditions and landlords and letting agents need to be aware of the changes.

Main changes in MEES 2019

The main change for MEES 2019 means that from the 1 April this year, landlords have had to fund the installation of energy efficient measures in their properties themselves, in order to achieve minimum energy efficiency standards.

There is a spending cap, however of £3,500, including VAT, for overall improvement costs.

This means that the ‘no cost to landlord’ exemption set out in the Energy Efficiency Regulations 2015 no longer applies. Landlords are unable to use this exemption to prevent them making improvements to their property out of their own finances.

Third part funding may still be available in the form of Green Deal, Grants and ECO.  However if those things are not available, from 1 April 2019, landlords have had to fund the improvements themselves.

If any landlords registered their exemptions before the 1 April cut off then they will still see changes. MEES 2019 means that their exemption period is no longer set at five years. Instead all improvements need to be made by April 2020 at the latest.

Landlords not meeting these minimum standards could face a penalty of up to £5,000.

This change should now future proof these regulations. Landlords are required to fund property improvements themselves when funding is not available.  However  their liability is clearly capped.

What next?

The next update to MEES will come on 1 April 2020, The regulations will then state that MEES applies to ALL residential property that is privately rented.

This means that if a property requires a domestic EPC, it must reach a minimum ‘E’ standard before it can be rented out. This applies to all leases whether new or existing.

The EPC Certificate, how does it affect you?

The EPC Certificate – How Does it Affect You?

When it comes to purchasing or renting a property, it is the person selling the house or the landlord who has the responsibility of obtaining an EPC. However, it’s still important for everybody involved to understand what the certificate is telling them.

Sellers

It is illegal to sell a home without an EPC in place. In order to obtain an EPC you should speak to your estate agent, or for better value for money, obtain one directly from an EPC provider.

Buyers

Ensure that you receive an EPC when you buy the house. Your solicitor should be checking this. Have a look at the recommendations it has and use it to inform you what improvements the property needs. You may even use it to negotiate on price.

Landlords

If you have a property you wish to let out you must ensure that you have a valid EPC in place. Not only that, if you are asking a tenant to sign a new lease you must ensure that the property has achieved a minimum rating of ‘E’. From April 2020, this rule extends to cover all existing leases too.

Tenants

Insist on seeing the property’s EPC before you move in. This not only ensures that it has met the legal requirements, it also gives you a good idea of how much the property will cost to run. This makes it easier to plan your monthly budgets going forward.

Understanding the EPC

The basic premise of an EPC is to show how energy efficient a property is. The main focus is on the Energy Efficiency rating, on page one of the document.

Here you will see two scores, one is the current rating, the other is the potential rating. The EPC will in subsequent pages show you how to get from one to the other.

‘A’ rated is the highest, ‘G’ rated is the lowest. Newer homes tend to have better ratings with older homes tending to have ratings of ‘D’ and ‘E’. The national average for a domestic property in the UK is ‘D’.

These other articles may also interest you

Tips for improving your EPC rating

Biggest EPC Wins

Moving Home Efficiently – Top Ten Tips

Weird EPC Experiences

Working as I do in other people’s houses and properties I come across things that are a little strange. Sometimes they are one off occurrences, sometimes they form part of a theme. Here are some weird EPC experiences that I’ve had in my seven years of being a domestic energy assessor.

Indoor botanicals

It’s an unfortunate truth that I have to do surveys in properties that are in probate. In other words the previous tenants have passed away. Some have been stripped bare but others are still fully furnished and left as if someone has just popped out to the shops.

In 100% of probate cases (this is NOT an exaggeration in my experience) someone has always been in and taken the TV, whether the house is empty or the rest of the furniture is still there.

I remember one house where the chap who lived there had recently died after living alone for many years. I walked into the dining room to find that it was unusually dark for the middle of the day. I discovered that this was because patio weeds (your run of the mill weeds that grow in between paving slabs) had grown so high they had gone past the height of the patio doors, blocking out all of the light.

This wasn’t the oddest thing. In the kitchen one of the trees from the back garden had a branch which had broken the kitchen window. Not only that, the branch was growing (and had been for many years) across the kitchen ceiling, sprouting new branches in some cases and venturing into cupboards.

Very sad that he had no-one to take care of it for him.

Take that

It’s the nature of the job that I have to go into a lot of places that are unoccupied. It can be quite spooky, especially in older places which naturally creak and groan as you wander about.

I was once in a flat that I knew the occupants were out at work for the day. As I would normally do, I opened up all of the doors to get an idea of the layout of the property before commencing with my floor plans.

The last door was to the kitchen. I opened it up and stepped in. I shouted (screamed if I’m honest.) A man was running towards me from the other end of the kitchen. I ducked down and backed out, slamming the door behind me quickly, heart beating hard.

Nothing happened, all was quiet on the other side of the door. No footsteps, no shouting. I called, “Hello”, my voice shaking.

I slowly turned the handle and glanced in. I had another initial shock and my heart leapt back into my throat as I glimpsed the man still running towards me, but in exactly the same position as before.

I took another look.

It was a life-size cardboard cut out of Robbie Williams.

Droppings

Yes, of course some house’s pet rules aren’t as strict as others, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about the animals that aren’t pets. Those that scurry, scratch and occasionally flap. The unintended occupants of properties that most official occupants aren’t even aware of.

In the most cases you can find these in cellars and lofts, the evidence of them at least.

I went into one property where I was warned that they used to have mice and rats in the loft. When I tried to lift the fairly innocuous looking loft hatch I found that it weighed a ton. I eventually managed to heave it up. When I glanced around in the loft I found that the entire place was covered in at least 3 inches of rat or mice droppings. So solid, you could walk on it.

Still that was better than the 200 year old property where I was warned there could be bats in the loft. When I opened the hatch, splat. Face full of bat poo.

Night night

This one has happened on numerous occasions. People staying in bed whilst I work around them. A few of them are teenagers where their parents have answered the door and they simply refuse to get out of bed. This is fair enough, it is only 2pm after all…

However, on occasion, it’s the grown ups who surprise. On multiple occasions I have had the door opened before the occupants have climbed back into bed.

One time a lady answered the door before climbing back under the covers. When I went into the bedroom to measure up, her and her partner were both fast asleep. It was a strange shaped room where I had to stretch across the pair of them in order to plant my laser measure. At one point my face was a few inches from the man’s face, and I wasn’t sure if he knew I was even there.

Could have been awkward if he’d woken up.

Shadow

I do have people who insist on following me into every room and every outside area as I work. I don’t entirely blame them. I am fully accredited, insured and criminal record checked in order to do the EPCs, but I am still a stranger wandering round their house and their precious possessions.

One particular elderly gentleman did this to me in a small terraced house with a ridiculously steep staircase. He followed me into every room, going up and down the stairs.

I do the assessment in a particular order which means that I don’t do things room by room. I could come into a room multiple times for multiple reasons and I could be up and down the stairs numerous times over the course of a survey.

This poor old chap had diligently followed me up and down the stairs at least five times during the survey and even came halfway up the ladder as I went into his loft.

It was only after I’d finished and was saying goodbye that I noticed the framed picture in the hallway. It was a framed letter to him from the Queen. The shattered fella in front of me was at least a century old!

These are some of my weird EPC experiences. Let me know if you’ve had any?!

If you require an EPC or any of our other services, please click on the links above.

If you need an EPC in any of these areas, please click on the link.

EPC Beckenham

EPC Crystal Palace

EPC Chislehurst

EPC Bickley

How does an EPC Assessor Record Their Data?

EPC Bromley

The short answer is, “Any way they like.”  As long as they record the data accurately it really doesn’t matter.

When EPC Bromley first started doing EPCs in 2012, there wasn’t a choice.  The data had to be input into a database on a computer to do the calculations eventually, but it’s impractical to carry  laptop around with you whilst you do a survey.  The data was therefore collected on a preprepared form and input later in the day.

The initial accreditation company that EPC Bromley used didn’t even have the facility to enter the data online in 2012!  Instead you had to download software which barely functioned and submit it onto there.  We changed accreditation companies very quickly to one which had an online facility!

Still, writing all the information down on paper and then sitting down later to type the same information onto a database is still a massive waste of time.  Mobile data collection had been around for a long time when EPC accreditation bodies started to consider solutions for themselves.  To say they were behind the times is an understatement!

When apps were eventually produced for iPad and iPhone they were awful.  They needed a perfect phone signal, so useless for rural areas, and some of them still needed to be plugged in later so the data could be uploaded.

EPC Bromley’s first experience of using an iPad instead of paper resulted in a one hour survey lasting three hours.  This was an experience which meant that we stuck with pencil and paper for another two years.

In 2016 we gave the digital version another try.  Ideally we wanted to trial multiple versions but we hit a snag.  We had traded in iPads for large screened iPhones and MacBooks as they were more practical, unfortunately the majority of accreditation companies had only designed software fit for iPads.  In the end we only had two choices.

The first company (who shall remain nameless), had software that was provided by a third party, to describe it as poor would be generous.  Exactly the same problems as before, parts either overly complicated or overly simplified and elements of it just not functioning correctly.  Again pen, paper and a later input was quicker.

We then trialled the iPhone app available from Elmhurst.  Straightaway it functioned exactly how it should.  The survey order was logical, reminders for photos worked well and not only could you submit it and receive the EPC in seconds, you could upload all evidence and set it as ready for audit immediately.  This reduced the office work by 100%, surely the very point of doing it on site in the first place?!

The only thing that we have to use pen and paper for is the drawings to establish the volume of the property.  There are apps available to do this on the iPhone but in the experience of EPC Bromley, these only work accurately when you’re in a house with absolutely no furniture.  So in reality they aren’t particularly practical.

Once these apps are perfected however, EPC Bromley looks forward to dispensing with the paper altogether!

Energy Performance Certificates – What Does an Assessor do in Your House?

EPC Bromley

You know what an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is, but what exactly does an assessor do when they visit your house?  If you call EPC Bromley to arrange an domestic energy assessment then what can you expect when they visit?

Have a look below for a summary of the items that EPC Bromley will consider during the assessment for your EPC.

House Age and Build Type

Working out the year that the house and any extensions were built will tell us what the building regulations were at that time and therefore how energy efficient the house is in general.  A house built in 1930 would have had no insulation fitted to the walls as a regulation, this is not the case with a house built in 2010.

The build type (detached, terrace, flat) tells us where the heat may be escaping from.  A detached house generally has at least four cold walls whereas a semi will have one shared wall which is warm.  A flat could be heated from all sides and have a communal corridor area which is heated too.

Dimensions

Quite simply we measure the volume of your property.  We need to know the amount of space you have to heat before we make a judgement on how you heat it.  We’ll also consider whether you have a conservatory. 

If your conservatory has an outside door sealing it off then it is discounted, if it is open plan then it is included and considered a source where heat can escape more easily.

Walls

Wall types are generally solid, cavity or timber framed and are as efficient as the regulations in place when they were built.  Traditionally, solid walls without insulation were used on houses until well into the 1930s, this kind of wall is very inefficient. 

If it is a cavity wall then we check whether the cavity has been filled with insulation retrospectively, as originally cavity walls were not filled.

Roofs

We poke our head into the loft and see whether it is insulated, if it has then how deep is it?  Traditional insulation at the joists should be at least 270 mm deep.  Remember, if you crush it down with floorboards to 100 mm then it is only 100 mm effective.

Floors

Are they solid or suspended floorboards, has it been insulated or do you have another dwelling below you?

Openings

We consider how many doors you have and whether those doors are insulated.  We look at how much glazing you have and whether it is single, double or triple glazed.  If it’s double glazed we consider what year it was installed, double glazing installed from 2002 onwards is much more efficient than glazing fitted before then.

If it was fitted before 2002 then we consider the frame type (metal, pic or wood) and the gap between the panes of glass.

We also look at how much draught proofing is in place.

Ventilation & Lighting

We look at how many fireplaces the property has and whether these are open, we also look for any mechanical ventilation or cooling systems that are in place.

We count the amount of light fittings and at the same time we count how many of these have low energy bulbs in place.

Heating Systems

How do you heat your home?  If you use a traditional boiler then we consider how efficient that boiler is.  Modern condensing boilers get the highest efficiency scores.

We consider how the heat is distributed (radiators, underfloor) and how that heat is controlled.  Properties that have a room thermostat, thermostatic radiator valves and a heating timer will score  highest.

If your property has more than one heating system then this is also considered as well as any secondary heaters such as a gas or electric fires in the reception rooms.

Water

How do you heat your water?  Do you have a combination boiler or a hot water cylinder?  If it’s a cylinder then how large is it?  Is it insulated?  Does it have a thermostat?  We then consider how many bath/shower rooms are in the property, how many of these have baths, showers or both?

We also look at other options for water heating which may be in place.  These include solar water heating, waster water heat recovery systems (WWHRS) and flue gas heat recovery systems (FGHRS).

New Technologies

We investigate if you have any other new technologies in place like solar photovoltaic panels or a wind turbine.  The terrain you live in is considered(urban, suburban, rural) which determines whether a wind turbine would be suitable.

Checks are made at this point to see what type of electricity meter the property is has (dual or single charge).   If the house isn’t heated by a gas boiler, we see whether there is a gas meter indicating it would be an option.

Any other info

Here’s where you can note whether the property has a swimming pool or  uses a more obscure way to heat itself.  For example micro CHP or a biofuel that isn’t listed in the usual database.

If you don’t understand some of these points, feel free to get in touch with EPC Bromley and ask.  Otherwise your EPC Bromley assessor will be happy to answer any questions you may have whilst the survey is taking place.

What is an EPC and What Does it Show? – EPC Bromley explains

EPC

If a home is on the market for renting or selling then it needs to have a valid EPC, it’s as simple as that.  But rather than being a pointless piece of bureaucracy, EPC Bromley considers that it can actually be used as the instruction manual telling you how to make your property more energy efficient.

However, EPC Bromley has discovered that although people have the certificate they have trouble deciphering the information within it.  So we’ve put together this guide.

What are EPCs for?

On a very basic level an EPC lets you compare the energy efficiency between one property and another.  This is obviously useful information if you are looking to buy or rent a property.

Secondly it tells you which energy efficiency improvements can be done, how much they will cost to install and how much money they will save you once installed.

EPC Explained

Page One – Current Costs and Potential Costs

EPC Bromley

This shows you the estimates of how much your house costs to light up, to heat and produce hot water.  It then shows you what these costs could be if you had the recommended energy efficiency measures installed and how much you could therefore save.

In this case you can see that this house could potentially save over £1,000 a year.

Energy Efficiency Rating

EPC Bromley

This is the main data that people are concerned with.  It looks a bit like the ratings that are given to electrical appliances because it is.

The ratings are scored out of a total of 100 and these then correspond to the letters A-G, with A being the highest. 

The two ratings show the level that the property is currently at, compared to the level it could achieve if all measures were installed.  In this case the property is ‘F’ rated but could potentially achieve a ‘C’.

Top Actions

EPC Bromley

The top actions are also featured at the bottom of page one.  These are the measures that could see the property reach its potential the most quickly.  A full list is shown further on in the document

Page Two  – Energy Performance Summary

EPC Bromley

This breaks down each and every element of the property into a description and a rating.  This is to give you more information as to the construction of the property, the way it heats up, the way that heating is controlled and how the property is lit.

This property has energy inefficient solid walls and no insulation in the loft.  However the boiler is considered pretty efficient.

Low and Zero Carbon Energy Sources

EPC Bromley

This list shows if the property gets any energy from low carbon sources.  this includes renewables such as Solar PV or Solar water heating panels.  In this case the property has none.

Heat Demand of the Property

EPC Bromley

This shows the expected heat demand of the property and how this will change if insulation is installed.  This section is used for people considering installing renewable heating into their home, it enables calculations for Renewable Heat Incentive payments.

Page Three – Recommended Improvements

EPC Bromley

This is in fact the most important part on the EPC.  It shows you in detail all of the recommendations, their costs, their savings and how much the property’s energy rating will go up once they are installed.

They are also shown in order of how important they are.  It is a good guide as to how you should decide which energy efficiency measures to install first.  In this case installing wall insulation will increase the rating from a 31 to a 50, an increase of 19 points which would take the property from an ‘F’ to an ‘E’.

The latter recommendations are aimed at people who want the property to achieve the highest possible rating.

Alternative Measures

EPC Bromley

This is a list of other measures that could further improve the efficiency of the property.  This could list things such as air and ground source heat pumps.  In this case it recommends Micro CHP.

Page Four – Other Information

EPC Bromley

This part has disclaimers about the EPC, who completed it, when and how they are qualified to do so.

Environmental impact

EPC Bromley

The last section shows the amount of carbon emissions from the property and how this impact could be lowered if all recommended measures were installed.

EPC Bromley hopes this guide has been useful.  Remember, your EPC is public domain and can always be viewed at epcregister.com

Energy Efficiency – A Continuing Government Failure

EPC Bromley

EPC Bromley has recently read a report by Frontier Economics, one of the largest economic consultants in Europe which suggests that all homes in the UK should be made to be energy efficient by the year 2035.

It includes the following actions which it recommends are taken.

  • All homes should be rated at least a ‘C’, using the A to G rating used on EPC.  This target should be reached in low income houses by 2030.
  • All new homes should have a carbon footprint of zero by 2020.
  • All low income earners should receive subsidies to make energy efficiency improvements to their homes.
  • The subsidies should be tested to find the most efficient schemes.  Suggestions for schemes include, include loans with zero interest, equity loans with low interest which don’t have to be paid back until you see your home and salary sacrifice schemes along similar lines to childcare vouchers.
  • Changes should be made to stamp duty tax to make sure people are encouraged to renovate their new homes.
  • Introduce tax allowances to private landlords and give 50% subsidies for social landlords if they install energy saving measures.

The report advises that in the current climate it is difficult to guarantee a return on investment which is above inflation but it still makes economic sense to put your money into the efficiency of your home.

This ensures that energy bills will fall and helps to tackle climate change whilst still keeping everyone warm.  According to EPC Bromley, this report very strongly advises that the UK government should be doing far more to tackle climate change and using these suggestions would make a very good start.

EPC Bromley feels very strongly that a sting of governments have failed in the area of energy efficiency with so many stop/start schemes ultimately failing due to lack of investment.  This report suggests that a national infrastructure programme would help, especially as so much of the housing stock in the UK is old.

Implementing at least some of these suggestions would not only improve people’s warmth and health, it would also help with the country’s commitment to tackling climate change.

Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) and Landlords

MEES

EPC Bromley has spoken to Landlords recently that were still unaware that their tenants have the right to request energy efficiency improvements to their properties and have had that right since April 2016.

Even more significantly, from April 2018 any properties that are rented privately MUST achieve at least an ‘E’ rating on their EPCs.  Initially this will only apply when new tenancies are granted but from 2020 it will apply to any rented domestic property that is eligible for an EPC.

The good news is that you won’t be expected to make these improvements if it means incurring a cost.  The costs of any energy efficiency improvements should be covered by government schemes which should be investigated.

However, landlords DO need to ensure that they have an EPC in place on their properties.  These can cost as little as £46 from EPC Bromley and last for ten years.

The implications following an EPC mean that if the assessment scores the property’s efficiency at ‘F’ or ‘G’, the landlord will be unable to let the property until energy efficiency measures have been added to rectify this.  Penalties for non compliance could be as much as £5,000.

In conclusion, landlords do have sufficient time in order to make efficiency improvements to their properties, but at the very least they should be ensuring that they have a domestic energy assessment and a valid EPC in place for each and every one.  This will let them know exactly where they stand in terms of the future and investments that need to be made.

Remember the following dates:

  • 1 April 2018 – When granting a new tenancy to either a new tenant or an existing one, you must have an EPC in place and the rating must be ‘E’ or above.
  • 1 April 2020 – Regardless of the tenancy agreement in place, all properties must have a valid EPC in place and all properties must achieve an ‘E’ rating or higher.  Failure to achieve this level will mean property cannot be rented.  Non compliance may lead to fines.

For more information on Energy Performance Certificates please contact EPC Bromley.

Double Glazing Effectiveness and Alternatives

EPC Bromley

We all know that double glazing is more efficient at keeping the heat in your home and the cold out than single glazing can ever be.  It is also completely obvious that triple glazing is more energy efficient than double glazing.  But did you know not all double glazing is created equal?  EPC Bromley advises the very basic differences between double glazing and what alternatives there are.

Double Glazing Types

The types of double glazing and their rating on an energy performance certificate are broken down into two basic types.  Double glazing installed at any time up to 2001 and double glazing installed in 2002 and after.

The latter is considered the most energy efficient as regulations surrounding the manufacture of double glazing changed at this time.

If your double glazing was fitted in 2001 or earlier then we need to ask a couple of questions before establishing how efficient it is.  The first question is ‘Is it a PVC frame?’.

If it isn’t a PVC frame and is made from wood or metal then it is considered the least energy efficient. 

If it is PVC then we need to establish how big the gap is between the pieces of glass.  Is it 6 mm, 12 mm or more than 16 mm?  The bigger the gap the more energy efficient the glazing is considered.

Double Glazing Alternatives

EPC Bromley realises that double glazing is not always affordable, appropriate or even allowed on certain properties.

Depending on the size of the property, double glazing can cost anything between £3,000 and £10,000, with costs for ultra efficient triple glazing even higher.  This is beyond a lot of people’s means, though EPC Bromley does recommend considering how much you will save on your heating bills each year if you were to have it installed.

There are other reasons for not getting double glazing.  The house might be in a conservation area, it might be a listed or period building, or in some cases it might just be opposite or near a listed or period building.  In these cases you’ll need to look for alternatives.

Secondary Glazing

This is a secondary pane of glass, which is fitted in the window reveal behind the existing pane of glass.  It’s not as well sealed as a fitted double glazing unit but it is a huge amount cheaper and will save you money.  It is even more cost effective if you fit it yourself, it’s an easy job that is achievable by even the least confident DIYers.

EPC Bromley can also reveal that secondary glazing is considered just as effective as pre 2002 double glazing on an energy assessment.

Curtains, Blinds, Shutters

Heavy curtains can be a very cheap and effective way to reduce your heating bills.  Heat loss will be reduced and draughts can be blocked out enabling you to feel the benefit immediately.  Purchasing draught excluders for draughty doors is a must too.

Blinds fitted in a frame can provide a complete seal, as can shutters, these have the added advantage in that they look attractive and take up less space than curtains.  They are also easier and cheaper to keep clean.