It is a legal requirement for all domestic properties in the UK to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) in location before a property is sold or rented out.
All EPCs must be issued by an accredited Energy Assessor.
This article describes what the Energy Assessor is looking at when they carry out an EPC inspection, and at what simple measures you can take to ensure your property gets the very best possible rating.
In an EPC survey the Surveyor / Energy Assessor will 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 create the EPC. The methodology used by the software program to create the EPC is the Reduced Information Standard Assessment Process (RDSAP). RDSAP is really a simplified version of the more rigorous Standard Assessment Process (SAP) which, along with the Simplified Creating Energy Model (SBEM) is used for producing commercial and new build 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 considered 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 procedure entails the software program making a series of assumptions in location of gathered data. This makes domestic EPC easier and quicker to create, reducing the price for landlords / vendors and consequently helping to increase compliance. This is all nicely and good, but does come at a price, 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 more complex by nature. There can 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 more time examining the property in addition to finding its history.
On leading of the EPC software program making assumptions the Energy Assessor might need to make some assumptions themselves when carrying out an EPC survey. When this occurs they’re obliged to usually assume the worst; for instance when a light fitting is found to be empty they’ll usually need to assume that when the bulb is replaced it will be with an incandescent bulb rather than a low energy 1.
There are a number of low price measures the owner of a property can take to ensure that their creating gets the very best energy rating possible.
The first and most essential factor to do would be to make certain that the assessor can get access to all the parts of the property they have to inspect in 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 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 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 will be assumed it has no insulation.
Have documentation ready:
If your property, or any component 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 in 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 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 purchase, and adding an additional 1, or putting 1 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’ll be entered as a secondary heating technique. In most cases this will result inside your property getting 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 be taken into consideration.
Change coal for wood:
When you have a fire location inside your property then this will 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’ll be forced to assume it’s coal, as this gives a worse rating than using wood. It is consequently 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’ll be letting the heat rise out of your property. It is consequently advisable to block off any unused flues. This can 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 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 little 1. 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 little improvement, it’s possible 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 expensive measures you could take to enhance your EPC rating, like replacing your boiler with a band A boiler, increasing your loft insulation and filling your cavity walls. However in the event you follow the above guidance then you will have carried out everything possible to cheaply and easily enhance your EPC rating before the Energy Assessor visits