It’s 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 searching at when they carry out an EPC inspection, and at what easy measures you are able to take to ensure your property gets the best possible rating.
In an EPC survey the Surveyor / Energy Assessor will probably 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 information about all these elements; this information will then be fed into a piece of pc software which will generate the EPC. The methodology utilized by the software to produce the EPC is the Decreased Information Regular Assessment Procedure (RDSAP). RDSAP is a simplified version of the more rigorous Regular Assessment Procedure (SAP) which, along with the Simplified Creating Energy Model (SBEM) is utilized 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 within the surveys costing a lot more to produce, 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 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 place of gathered information. This makes domestic EPC easier and quicker to produce, decreasing the price for landlords / vendors and therefore helping to improve compliance. This is all well and great, but does come at a price, as the use of assumption in place of gathered information can result in some properties becoming given an arbitrary energy rating that does not properly reflect the buildings performance.
Nevertheless, Commercial properties are more complex by nature. There can be various parts of the property becoming utilized for various purpose. Different parts of the exact same property might have various heating requirements. And so on. And an Energy Assessor requirements to invest more time examining the property as well as finding its history.
On top of the EPC software making assumptions the Energy Assessor might need to make some assumptions themselves when carrying out an EPC survey. When this occurs they are obliged to always assume the worst; for instance when a light fitting is discovered to be empty they’ll always need to assume that when the bulb is replaced it will be with an incandescent bulb instead of a low energy 1.
There are several low price measures the owner of a property can take to ensure that their creating gets the best energy rating possible.
The first and most important factor to do would be to make sure that the assessor can get access to all of 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 is not possible 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 need 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 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 probably be able to enter the date of conversion as the construction date for that element within the EPC, but only if you can show them the creating regulations sign off sheet, otherwise the construction date will probably be entered as the exact 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 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 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 within the property then they’ll be entered as a secondary heating technique. In most instances this may result inside your property getting a lower energy rating, as they are likely to be a less effective indicates 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 inside 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 is no visual evidence as to what fuel you use they’ll be forced to assume it is coal, as this gives a worse rating than utilizing 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’ll be letting the heat rise out of your property. It’s therefore advisable to block off any unused flues. This can 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 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 is only a small 1. For instance, 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 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.
Clearly there are lots of more expensive measures you could take to improve your EPC rating, such as replacing your boiler having a band A boiler, increasing your loft insulation and filling your cavity walls. Nevertheless if you follow the above guidance then you’ll have carried out every thing possible to cheaply and easily improve your EPC rating before the Energy Assessor visits