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 should be issued by an accredited Energy Assessor.
This write-up describes what the Energy Assessor is looking 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 probably be looking 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 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 a simplified version of the much more rigorous Standard Assessment Process (SAP) which, together with the Simplified Building Energy Model (SBEM) is used 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 much 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 in addition to SAP methodologies as we carry out both Domestic and Commercial EPC work.
The RDSAP procedure entails the software program creating a series of assumptions in place of gathered data. This makes domestic EPC simpler and quicker to create, decreasing the cost for landlords / vendors and therefore helping to increase compliance. This is all nicely and good, but does come at a cost, as the use of assumption in place of gathered data can result in some properties becoming given an arbitrary energy rating that does not properly 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 same property may have various heating requirements. And so on. And an Energy Assessor requirements to spend much more time examining the property in addition to finding its history.
On leading of the EPC software program creating assumptions the Energy Assessor may 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 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 1.
You will find a number of low cost measures the owner of a property can take to make sure that their building 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 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 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 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 probably 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 building regulations sign off sheet, otherwise the construction date will probably 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 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 extra 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 within the property then they will be entered as a secondary heating method. In most instances this may result in your property obtaining a lower energy rating, as they are likely to be a less efficient means of heating than your properties primary heat source. If you remove these heaters then only the primary heart source will probably be taken into consideration.
Change coal for wood:
When you have a fire place in 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 is 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 is 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 is 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’s only a small 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 small 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 much more expensive measures you could take to enhance your EPC rating, such as 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’ll have carried out every thing feasible to cheaply and easily enhance your EPC rating before the Energy Assessor visits