It’s 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 searching 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 be searching at five 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 data about all these elements; this data will then be fed into a piece of computer software which will create the EPC. The methodology used by the software to create the EPC is the Reduced Data Regular Assessment Process (RDSAP). RDSAP is a simplified version of the much more rigorous Regular Assessment Process (SAP) which, along with the Simplified Building Energy Model (SBEM) is used for producing commercial and new build EPC. The simplified RDSAP methodology was chosen for domestic EPC production simply because the complexity of the other two methodologies outcomes 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 as well as SAP methodologies as we carry out both Domestic and Commercial EPC work.
The RDSAP procedure entails the software making a series of assumptions in location of gathered data. This makes domestic EPC easier and quicker to create, decreasing the price for landlords / vendors and therefore helping to improve compliance. This is all well and good, but does come at a price, as the use of assumption in location of gathered data can result in some properties becoming given an arbitrary energy rating that does not correctly reflect the buildings performance.
However, Commercial properties are much more complex by nature. There may be various parts of the property becoming used for various purpose. Various parts of the exact same property might have various heating requirements. And so on. And an Energy Assessor needs to invest much more time examining the property as well as discovering its history.
On top of the EPC software making assumptions the Energy Assessor might have 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 have to assume that when the bulb is replaced it will be with an incandescent bulb rather than a low energy one.
There are a number of low price 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 would be to make certain that the assessor can get access to all of the parts of the property they have to inspect in the EPC survey, as any assumptions they are forced to make are likely to result in a worse EPC rating. For example if it is not feasible for the assessor to access the loft area, either simply 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 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 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 in the EPC, but only in the event you can show them the building regulations sign off sheet, otherwise the construction date will be entered as the exact 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 take a look at how well 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 in 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 much less efficient indicates of heating than your properties primary heat source. If you eliminate 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 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 is 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 using wood. It’s therefore advisable to eliminate 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 therefore advisable to block off any unused flues. This may 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 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 is feasible that it could make the distinction to your rating if you’re on the borderline between, for example, 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, increasing your loft insulation and filling your cavity walls. However in the event you follow the above advice then you’ll have done every thing feasible to cheaply and easily enhance your EPC rating before the Energy Assessor visits