Tips for Improving your EPC Rating

Improving your EPC

There are many reasons to try and get the highest possible score on your EPC. The first is to try and ensure that your house is as energy efficient as possible. An energy efficient house costs less to run, saving you a potential fortune on your heating bills.

The other reasons are in terms of actually needing to achieve certain ratings. If you’re a landlord then your property MUST achieve an ‘E’ rating before you can rent it out. If you are looking for a Feed in Tariff (FiT) when you install a renewable energy product, then your property must already be ‘D’ rated.

Here are five top tips for improving your EPC score.

  1. Insulation – The most important consideration can also be the cheapest too. Twenty five percent of a property’s heat is lost through its roof, luckily loft insulation is not only cheap, it is also one of the easiest things to install. Ensure you install it to a depth of 270mm (do not crush under boarding) in order to get the most benefit.Wall insulation is also crucial. Cavity wall insulation needs to be done by a professional company but it can be a relatively cheap process. Depending on government funding available to energy companies it can also be free.

    Solid wall insulation can be very expensive but can also be the number one saver for energy bills in older houses.

  2. Install renewable energy – If your home is suitable you should look into installing renewable energy. In almost all cases they will provide a large boost to your EPC score.Most people will think of solar panels when they imagine domestic renewables and Solar PV panels to supply electricity have been very popular. But you can also consider solar thermal panels for your hot water or biomass boilers or heat pumps to heat your home.

    When improving your EPC, if you want your property to achieve maximum score then you MUST have some renewable energy in place.

  3. Replace an old boiler – Heating makes up a large percentage of a household’s energy costs. If you have an old, inefficient boiler it will be reflected in your EPC score and, more importantly, it will be costing you more money than it should to heat your home.Look into getting an ‘A’ rated boiler and ensure that you have full control over the heating in your home. Also consider the installation of a room thermostat, a programmer and TRVs (thermostatic radiator valves.)
  4. Get double glazing – If you have old, thin, single glazed windows with wooden frames then you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that a significant portion of the heat from your home is being lost through them.Get double or triple glazing installed. If it’s too expensive or it’s not possible, secondary glazing can be just as effective.
  5. Replace your lightbulbs with LEDs – You can’t buy halogen bulbs anymore and there’s a good reason. Not only are they not energy efficient but they often only last a couple of years.Although replacing the bulbs will only have a small impact in improving your EPC and despite the fact that at first glance they seem expensive, when you learn that LED bulbs can last more than 20 years you realise that you’re actually going to save money.

If you enjoyed this article you might also like Biggest EPC Wins.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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

Environmental impact

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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

Lighting your Home The Energy Efficient Way in Bromley

EPC Bromley

A recent survey carried out by the Energy Saving Trust found that in the UK, we could save more than £1.4 billion every year on our electricity bills by simply replacing our old inefficient bulbs.

This is something we consistently find at EPC Bromley.  Houses continue to have the traditional but completely inefficient old style halogen and incandescent bulbs.  This is despite the huge cost saving potential of using energy saving light bulbs, such as LEDs and CFL bulbs.

EPC Bromley estimated that the saving could be as much as £50 per year per household.

The UK is well behind other countries in Europe when it comes to our yearly LED purchases.  Just one-third of all of our bulb purchases are LEDs.

According to EPC Bromley, Why is this the case in the UK?

Perhaps people are confused as to exactly what energy saving bulbs they should be buying in each case?  Perhaps the information available is too confusing?  When comparing the 60 watt wattage in an incandescent bulb to the comparable wattage in an LED bulb the much lower and varied wattages can certainly be confusing.

It seems that clear labelling is certainly one of the issues.

Price would seem to be another.  LED bulbs can often cost around the £7 mark, whereas the old fashioned equivalent can cost significantly more.  When replacing all the bulbs in the house it can certainly seem quite expensive, the £50 per year saving ends up looking quite small.

However, most LED bulbs have an expected lifespan of between ten and twenty years.  This means that you may never have to replace them in all the time you live in the house.  As we all know, the same cannot be said of halogen bulbs, some of which seem to go every other week!

At EPC Bromley we highly recommend LED bulbs, not only because of the cost saving but because of the crisp white light and stylish designs which complement any house.  If you think that low energy bulbs need to be ugly, curly and dim, think again.

Top Ten Tips for Better Home Energy Efficiency in Bromley

EPC Bromley

Read below for the top ten tips for energy efficiency in your home from EPC Bromley.

  1. Replace light bulbs with LEDs – Gone are the days when energy efficient light bulbs made your light fittings look ugly and were as bright as a flickering candle.  Modern LED spotlights, for example, are now bright enough  to replace your halogens and they come in all shapes and sizes to fit any light fitting.
  1. Control your heating – Your heating and hot water take up over half of your monthly fuel bills.  Ensuring you have a heating programmer, a room thermostat and thermostatic radiator valves and using them effectively could save you a ton of money each year.
  1. Draught proofing – Unless you have a particularly modern home you will be losing heat through gaps around doors and windows, or through the floorboards or chimney.  DIY draught proofing can prove to be incredibly cheap.
  1. Insulate your hot water tank – Your tank should have highly efficient foam insulation fitted around it.  If it doesn’t, then purchase a hot water cylinder jacket.  It’s far less efficient but better than nothing!
  1. Wall insulation – Cavity wall insulation is efficient and cheap (sometimes free!).  If you need solid wall insulation then it is far more expensive, but will save you hundreds of pounds in heating bills each year.
  1. Ensure you have double glazing – Double glazing fitted after 2002 is far more efficient than before.  If you are unable to install double glazing then secondary glazing can be just as effective.
  1. Loft insulation – Very important, if you have no loft insulation at all then this will seriously affect the energy efficiency of your house.  Remember, the recommended minimum depth is 270 mm.  If you place floorboards over the top of insulation it is only as effective as the depth it is squashed to.
  1. Use your shower rather than a bath – Showers use far less water than a bath, therefore your boiler is working less time to heat the water.
  1. Install solar energy – Solar thermal panels for hot water and Solar PV panels for electricity will not only make your home more energy efficient, but they will also save you a lot of money.  If you live in a rural area it is also worth considering a wind turbine.
  1. Track your energy usage – Energy monitors help you to keep an eye on how much energy you are using.  Most energy providers will be able to supply you with one.

If you need any other advice regarding domestic energy efficiency, call EPC Bromley to speak to an expert.