It is a legal requirement for all domestic properties within the UK to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) in place before a property is sold or rented out.
All EPCs must be issued by an accredited Energy Assessor.
This write-up describes what the Energy Assessor is searching 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 feasible rating.
In an EPC survey the Surveyor / Energy Assessor will be searching 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 computer software which will create the EPC. The methodology utilized by the software to produce the EPC is the Decreased Data Standard Assessment Procedure (RDSAP). RDSAP is a simplified version of the more rigorous Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) which, along with the Simplified Creating Energy Model (SBEM) is utilized for producing commercial and new develop EPC. The simplified RDSAP methodology was chosen for domestic EPC production simply because the complexity of the other two methodologies results within the surveys costing a lot more to produce, some thing which was regarded as to be acceptable for the commercial marketplace 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 process entails the software making a series of assumptions in place of gathered information. This makes domestic EPC simpler and quicker to produce, decreasing 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 place of gathered information can result in some properties becoming given an arbitrary energy rating that does not correctly reflect the buildings performance.
Nevertheless, Commercial properties are more complex by nature. There can be different parts of the property becoming utilized for different purpose. Different 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 as well as 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 instance when a light fitting is found to be empty they’ll always have to assume that when the bulb is replaced it will be with an incandescent bulb instead of a low energy one.
You will find a number of low cost measures the owner of a property can take to ensure that their creating gets the best energy rating feasible.
The first and most important thing to do would be to make certain that the assessor can get access to all the parts of the property they need to inspect within the EPC survey, as any assumptions they’re 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 simply because the hatch is locked or access through 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 component of it has been converted since 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 in the event you can show them the creating regulations sign off sheet, otherwise the construction date will be entered as the same as the main 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 purchase, 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’ll be entered as a secondary heating technique. In most cases this will result in your property obtaining a lower energy rating, as they’re likely to be a much 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 be taken into consideration.
Change coal for wood:
If you have a fire place in your property then this will 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 is no visual evidence as to what fuel you use they’ll be forced to assume it’s coal, as this gives a worse rating than utilizing wood. It is therefore 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’ll be letting the heat rise out of your property. It is therefore advisable to block off any unused flues. This can be as simple as stuffing some spare loft insulation up there.
Low Energy Bulbs:
If you have any light fittings with missing bulbs then fit them with low energy light bulbs. It is not recommended to go around replacing all of 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 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 instance, an E or a D rating.
Obviously there are many more costly measures you could take to improve your EPC rating, such as replacing your boiler having a band A boiler, growing your loft insulation and filling your cavity walls. Nevertheless in the event you follow the above guidance then you will have done every thing feasible to cheaply and easily improve your EPC rating before the Energy Assessor visits