EPC Ratings Guide: How they are calculated & how to increase yours
EPC inspections focus on the areas of the home that can influence energy performance, and take into consideration heating and lighting methods, construction methods and insulation methods. Inspections will take 1-2 hours depending on the size and type of property.
Points are attributed to each energy efficient method found in the property during the inspection and specialized software is used to calculate the overall SAP (Standard Assessment Procedure) Rating.
The resulting energy performance certificate shows approximate energy costs and usage and recommends potential improvements. The property’s energy efficiency is represented in two charts: Energy Efficiency Rating and Environmental Impact (Co2) Rating.
Properties rated in the top band (A) of the charts are operating at maximum energy efficiency and/or having the least impact on the environment (in terms of Co2 emissions). While properties appearing further down the charts are less efficient and more damaging to the environment.
Landlords with properties achieving Energy Efficiency Ratings of F or G are prevented from letting them out after 1st April 2018 (and are required by law to carry out improvements to meet the minimum standard before reletting), however they do have until the 1st April 2020 in order to comply. To read more about the legislation click here.
The onus is on Landlords to know the EPC rating of their properties. Should your property be found not to be performing as energy efficiently as it could (or worse be illegal to let after April 1st 2018) there are measures you can take to increase your SAP points and up your EPC rating.
Beef Up Boilers & Plumbing
Installing an energy efficient condensing boiler is one of the highest scoring improvements in terms of SAP points. Although a new boiler can be expensive, it should be weighed up against the savings made on energy consumption and maintenance call outs. Water efficiency in bathrooms and kitchens can be improved with water saving taps and shower heads, eco flushes and reduced water use appliances.
Upgrade to Under Floor Heating
Wall mounted radiators (especially storage heaters) are inefficient and they clumsily impact on square footage – especially where space is in short supply. Underfloor heating is cheaper to use because it keeps rooms at constant temperatures rather than having to work hard in response to fluctuating temperature changes.
Invest in Insulation
Insulation also collectively scores highly in terms of SAP points. The cavities in lofts and walls and around your hot water cylinder may be out of sight but they certainly shouldn’t be out of mind – neither for you, nor your Tenant. Heat rises, so using recycled or natural loft insulation means more heat is retained below ceiling height. Plus, warmer walls mean less energy is used to maintain the internal temperature.
New Doors & Windows
Even if your property is already double-glazed it is worth considering the length of time that windows and doors have been in situ. Technology has changed considerably in the last ten years and it could be time to replace discoloured UPVC and fatigued seals with more environmentally friendly (more insulating, less polluting) frames and triple-glazing. What’s more this investment can add to the property’s curb appeal.
Give Draughts the Cold Shoulder
Planned and efficient air circulation and ventilation within the property is healthy but gaping holes (including letterboxes, open chimneys and plumbing exit points), which let cold air in and the heat out, are not conducive to effective eco-living. Cost effective fixes are widely available, including: expanding foam, chimney balloons and letterbox draught excluders.
Sign Up for Smart Meters
Being able to see exactly how much energy is being consumed by which appliances, often leads to reduced and more eco-conscious use. All homes will be offered smart meters before 2020 and opting for the upgrade will give your Tenants real time control over their gas and electricity consumption. It also makes billing more exact, reducing the likelihood of contested meter readings at Tenant departure – an appealing bonus.
Taking an honest look at your property’s eco-credentials and making the necessary upgrades may involve financial outlay but the green standard is here to stay.
Eco conformance will not only ensure you remain on the right side of the law, and get the thumbs up from future Tenants but it also ensures you’re on top of maintenance which will ultimately enhance the value and appeal of your asset.
It’s an undeniable win-win-win situation, which warrants a green light whichever way you look at it.