It is a legal requirement for all domestic properties within the UK to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) in location prior to a property is sold or rented out.
All EPCs should be issued by an accredited Energy Assessor.
This write-up describes what the Energy Assessor is looking at when they carry out an EPC inspection, and at what simple measures you are able to take to ensure your property gets the best possible rating.
In an EPC survey the Surveyor / Energy Assessor will probably be looking at 5 main elements as follows:
- How the property is constructed
- How the space is heated
- How the water is heated
- How the property is lighted
- What ventilation systems are in place
The Energy Assessor will collect information about all these elements; this information will then be fed into a piece of pc software which will create the EPC. The methodology used by the software to produce the EPC is the Decreased Information Standard Assessment Process (RDSAP). RDSAP is really a simplified version of the more rigorous Standard Assessment Process (SAP) which, together with the Simplified Creating Energy Model (SBEM) is used for producing commercial and new develop EPC. The simplified RDSAP methodology was chosen for domestic EPC production because the complexity of the other two methodologies results within the surveys costing a lot more to produce, some thing which was considered to be acceptable for the commercial marketplace but not for domestic properties.
At CommercialEPC.eu, we have access to both RDSAP in addition to SAP methodologies as we carry out both Domestic and Commercial EPC work.
The RDSAP process entails the software making a series of assumptions in location of gathered information. This makes domestic EPC easier and quicker to produce, decreasing the cost for landlords / vendors and consequently helping to increase compliance. This is all nicely and great, but does come at a cost, as the use of assumption in location of gathered information can result in some properties being given an arbitrary energy rating that doesn’t correctly reflect the buildings performance.
Nevertheless, Commercial properties are more complex by nature. There may be different parts of the property being used for different purpose. Various parts of the same property may have different heating requirements. And so on. And an Energy Assessor requirements to invest more time examining the property in addition to discovering its history.
On leading of the EPC software making assumptions the Energy Assessor may have to make some assumptions themselves when carrying out an EPC survey. When this occurs they’re obliged to always assume the worst; for example when a light fitting is found to be empty they will always have to assume that when the bulb is replaced it will be with an incandescent bulb rather than a low energy one.
There are several low cost measures the owner of a property can take to ensure that their creating gets the best energy rating possible.
The first and most important thing to do would be to make certain that the assessor can get access to all of the parts of the property they need to inspect within the EPC survey, as any assumptions they’re forced to create are likely to result in a worse EPC rating. For example if it’s not possible for the assessor to access the loft area, either because the hatch is locked or access via under eves storage cupboards is blocked by stuff, then the assessor will have to assume no insulation is present. The same applies for the hot water cylinder, if the Energy Assessor cannot open the cupboard to see the cylinder then it will be assumed it has no insulation.
Have documentation ready:
If your property, or any part of it has been converted since 1996 then the Energy Assessor will probably be able to enter the date of conversion as the construction date for that element within the EPC, but only if you can show them the creating regulations sign off sheet, otherwise the construction date will probably be entered as the same as the main buildings original construction date, resulting in a worse EPC rating.
Insulate your water tank:
As part of the EPC inspection the Energy Assessor will look at how nicely insulated your hot water tank is. Most tanks have 25mm of foam insulation or a jacket. Hot water cylinder jackets are cheap to purchase, and adding an additional one, or putting one on over the foam insulation will make a noticeable difference to your EPC rating.
Remove portable heaters:
If whilst carrying out the EPC inspection the assessor finds any portable electric or propane heaters within the property then they will be entered as a secondary heating method. In most cases this may result inside your property obtaining a lower energy rating, as they’re likely to be a less efficient indicates of heating than your properties primary heat source. In the event you eliminate these heaters then only the primary heart source will probably be taken into consideration.
Change coal for wood:
When you have a fire location inside your property then this may be entered within the EPC as either a coal or a wood heater. The Energy Assessor will make an assumption about what you burn within the fire based on what they see at the time of the inspection. If there’s no visual evidence as to what fuel you use they will be forced to assume it’s coal, as this gives a worse rating than utilizing wood. It is consequently advisable to eliminate your coal scuttle, and replace it with a wood basket.
Block up unused flues:
Any open flue will result in a lower EPC rating, as they will be letting the heat rise out of your property. It is consequently advisable to block off any unused flues. This may be as simple as stuffing some spare loft insulation up there.
Low Energy Bulbs:
When you have any light fittings with missing bulbs then fit them with low energy light bulbs. It is not suggested to go around replacing all your incandescent bulbs with low energy units, but rather just to replace them as the old ones burn out. Whilst low energy bulbs do have an effect on the EPC rating, it’s only a little one. For example, changing all of the bulbs in a four bedroom hose from incandescent would make about a 2% difference to the properties EPC rating. Whilst this is only a little improvement, it’s possible that it could make the difference to your rating if you are on the borderline between, for example, an E or a D rating.
Obviously there are lots of more costly measures you could take to enhance your EPC rating, such as replacing your boiler with a band A boiler, increasing your loft insulation and filling your cavity walls. Nevertheless if you follow the above guidance then you’ll have carried out every thing possible to cheaply and effortlessly enhance your EPC rating prior to the Energy Assessor visits