It’s a legal requirement for all domestic properties within the UK to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) in place prior to 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 easy measures you can take to ensure your property gets the very best feasible rating.
In an EPC survey the Surveyor / Energy Assessor will be looking 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 pc software program which will generate the EPC. The methodology utilized by the software program to create the EPC is the Decreased Data Regular Assessment Process (RDSAP). RDSAP is a simplified version of the more rigorous Regular Assessment Process (SAP) which, along with the Simplified Building Energy Model (SBEM) is utilized 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 outcomes within the surveys costing much more to create, something 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 in addition to SAP methodologies as we carry out both Domestic and Commercial EPC work.
The RDSAP process entails the software program creating a series of assumptions in place of gathered information. This makes domestic EPC easier and quicker to create, decreasing the cost for landlords / vendors and therefore helping to increase compliance. This is all well and great, but does come at a cost, as the use of assumption in place of gathered information can result in some properties being given an arbitrary energy rating that does not correctly reflect the buildings performance.
Nevertheless, Commercial properties are more complex by nature. There may be various parts of the property being utilized for various purpose. Different parts of the exact same property might have various heating requirements. And so on. And an Energy Assessor needs to spend more time examining the property in addition to discovering its history.
On top of the EPC software program creating assumptions the Energy Assessor might have to make some assumptions themselves when carrying out an EPC survey. When this happens they are obliged to always assume the worst; for example when a light fitting is discovered to be empty they will always have to assume that when the bulb is replaced it’ll be with an incandescent bulb rather than a low energy one.
There are a number of low cost measures the owner of a property can take to ensure that their creating 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 the parts of the property they have to inspect within the EPC survey, as any assumptions they are forced to create 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 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 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 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 well insulated your hot water tank is. Most tanks have 25mm of foam insulation or a jacket. Hot water cylinder jackets are cheap to purchase, and adding an extra 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 technique. In most cases this will result inside your property getting a lower energy rating, as they are likely to be a much less effective means of heating than your properties primary heat source. If 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 inside 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’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 using wood. It’s 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 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:
If 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 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 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 little improvement, it’s 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 lots of more expensive measures you could take to enhance your EPC rating, like replacing your boiler having a band A boiler, increasing your loft insulation and filling your cavity walls. Nevertheless in the event you follow the above guidance then you’ll have carried out every thing feasible to cheaply and effortlessly enhance your EPC rating prior to the Energy Assessor visits