It’s a legal requirement for all domestic properties within the UK to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) in location before a property is sold or rented out.
All EPCs should be issued by an accredited Energy Assessor.
This article describes what the Energy Assessor is searching at when they carry out an EPC inspection, and at what simple measures you can take to make sure your property gets the very best feasible rating.
In an EPC survey the Surveyor / Energy Assessor will be searching at 5 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 information about all these elements; this information will then be fed into a piece of computer software which will create the EPC. The methodology used by the software to produce the EPC is the Decreased Information Regular Assessment Procedure (RDSAP). RDSAP is a simplified version of the much more rigorous Regular Assessment Procedure (SAP) which, along 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 much more to produce, some thing which was considered to be acceptable for the commercial market but not for domestic properties.
At CommercialEPC.eu, we have access to both RDSAP as well as SAP methodologies as we carry out both Domestic and Commercial EPC work.
The RDSAP procedure entails the software creating a series of assumptions in location of gathered information. This makes domestic EPC easier and quicker to produce, reducing the cost for landlords / vendors and therefore 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.
However, Commercial properties are much more complex by nature. There may be different parts of the property being used for different purpose. Different parts of the same property might have different heating requirements. And so on. And an Energy Assessor needs to spend much more time examining the property as well as discovering its history.
On leading of the EPC software creating assumptions the Energy Assessor might need to make some assumptions themselves when carrying out an EPC survey. When this occurs they are obliged to always assume the worst; for example when a light fitting is found to be empty they will always need to assume that when the bulb is replaced it’ll be with an incandescent bulb rather than a low energy one.
You will find a number of low cost measures the owner of a property can take to make sure that their building gets the very best energy rating feasible.
The very first and most important factor 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 are forced to make are likely to result in a worse EPC rating. For instance if it’s not feasible for the assessor to access the loft region, either because the hatch is locked or access through under eves storage cupboards is blocked by stuff, then the assessor will need to assume no insulation is present. The same applies for the hot water cylinder, if the Energy Assessor can’t open the cupboard to see the cylinder then it’ll be assumed it has no insulation.
Have documentation ready:
If your property, or any part of it has been converted because 1996 then the Energy Assessor will 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 building regulations sign off sheet, otherwise the construction date will be entered as the same as the primary buildings original construction date, resulting in a worse EPC rating.
Insulate your water tank:
As part 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 within the property then they will be entered as a secondary heating method. In most instances this may result inside your property obtaining a lower energy rating, as they are likely to be a less efficient indicates of heating than your properties primary heat source. In the event you remove these heaters then only the primary heart source will 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’s therefore advisable to remove 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’s therefore 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’s 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 small one. For instance, changing all of 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’s feasible that it could make the distinction to your rating if you are on the borderline between, for example, an E or a D rating.
Obviously there are many much more expensive measures you could take to enhance your EPC rating, like replacing your boiler with a band A boiler, growing your loft insulation and filling your cavity walls. However if you follow the above guidance then you’ll have done every thing feasible to cheaply and easily enhance your EPC rating before the Energy Assessor visits