It’s a legal requirement for all domestic properties in 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 easy measures you are able to take to make sure your property gets the best feasible rating.
In an EPC survey the Surveyor / Energy Assessor will probably be looking at five primary 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 data about all these elements; this data will then be fed into a piece of pc software program which will generate the EPC. The methodology utilized by the software program to create the EPC is the Decreased Data Standard Assessment Process (RDSAP). RDSAP is a simplified version of the much more rigorous Standard Assessment Process (SAP) which, together with the Simplified Building Energy Model (SBEM) is utilized 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 in the surveys costing a lot more to create, something which was regarded as to be acceptable for the commercial market 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 program making a series of assumptions in location of gathered data. This makes domestic EPC simpler and quicker to create, 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 data can result in some properties being given an arbitrary energy rating that doesn’t correctly reflect the buildings performance.
However, Commercial properties are much more complex by nature. There can be different parts of the property being utilized for different purpose. Different parts of the exact same property might have different heating requirements. And so on. And an Energy Assessor requirements to invest much more time examining the property in addition to finding its history.
On top of the EPC software program making assumptions the Energy Assessor might have to make some assumptions themselves when carrying out an EPC survey. When this happens they’re obliged to always assume the worst; for instance when a light fitting is found to be empty they will always have to assume that when the bulb is replaced it’ll be with an incandescent bulb instead of a low energy one.
There are several low cost measures the owner of a property can take to make sure that their building gets the best energy rating feasible.
The very first and most important factor to do is to make sure that the assessor can get access to all the parts of the property they need to inspect in the EPC survey, as any assumptions they’re forced to create are likely to result in a worse EPC rating. For example if it is not feasible for the assessor to access the loft region, 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 exact same applies for the hot water cylinder, if the Energy Assessor cannot open the cupboard to see the cylinder then it’ll be assumed it has no insulation.
Have documentation ready:
If your property, or any component 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 in the EPC, but only in the event you can show them the building regulations sign off sheet, otherwise the construction date will probably be entered as the exact same as the primary buildings original construction date, resulting in a worse EPC rating.
Insulate your water tank:
As component of the EPC inspection the Energy Assessor will take a 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 inexpensive to buy, and adding an additional one, or putting one on over the foam insulation will make a noticeable distinction to your EPC rating.
Remove portable heaters:
If whilst carrying out the EPC inspection the assessor finds any portable electric or propane heaters in the property then they will be entered as a secondary heating method. In most instances this may result in your property obtaining a lower energy rating, as they’re likely to be a less effective indicates of heating than your properties primary heat source. In the event you remove these heaters then only the primary heart source will probably be taken into consideration.
Change coal for wood:
When you have a fire location in your property then this may be entered in the EPC as either a coal or a wood heater. The Energy Assessor will make an assumption about what you burn in 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 is coal, as this gives a worse rating than utilizing wood. It’s consequently advisable to remove your coal scuttle, and replace it having 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’s consequently advisable to block off any unused flues. This can be as easy 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’s not recommended 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 is only a small one. For example, changing all the bulbs in a four bedroom hose from incandescent would make about a 2% distinction to the properties EPC rating. Whilst this is only a small improvement, it is feasible that it could make the distinction to your rating if you are on the borderline between, for instance, an E or a D rating.
Clearly there are many much more costly measures you could take to enhance your EPC rating, such as replacing your boiler having a band A boiler, growing your loft insulation and filling your cavity walls. However in the event you follow the above advice then you will have done everything feasible to cheaply and effortlessly enhance your EPC rating prior to the Energy Assessor visits