How to Improve your Home’s EPC Rating
EPC ratings can be improved through making certain changes in your home which lead to improved energy efficiency in the property. From installing wall and roof insulation, to replacing an inefficient boiler, there are many different ways you can improve the energy efficiency of your home.
In this article, we explain what EPC ratings are and what you can do to improve the EPC rating of your house.
What is an EPC Rating?
Simply put, an EPC rating is an assessment of the energy efficiency of a property.
The EPC rating of a house is determined by:
- The amount of energy used per m²
- The level of carbon dioxide emissions (given in tonnes per year)
EPCs are conducted by EPC assessors or ‘Domestic Energy Assessors’. The assessor will carry out a survey of the home before producing the EPC report and certificate.
EPC stands for Energy Performance Certificate. This certificate shows how energy efficient a property is. It summarises the home’s energy efficiency and estimated energy costs.
The EPC certificate includes:
- Property’s energy usage
- Property’s carbon dioxide emissions
- How much energy the property uses and whether it is energy-efficient
- The amount of carbon the property generates
- Recommendations to improve energy efficiency
- The estimated costs of implementing energy-saving features
- Potential financial savings which could be made from making suggested changes
- Whether the property is eligible for certain benefits based on how green it is
Your home will be graded between A and G, with A indicating the highest level of energy efficiency, and G indicating the lowest level of energy efficiency.
The grade of your home depends on the numerical rating of your home’s energy efficiency, which is scored out of 100. Through making changes to your home, you can improve your property’s energy efficiency score and move up the graded system.
Typically, new homes have a better EPC rating in comparison to older homes which may have aging features.
EPC Rating Bands Explained
As mentioned above, EPC ratings are calculated numerically, scoring out of 100. The government’s Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) is the standard used to calculate the EPC rating of a house.
The scores are divided as follows:
- EPC rating A = 92-100 points
- EPC rating B = 81-91 points
- EPC rating C = 69-80 points
- EPC rating D = 55-68 points
- EPC rating E = 39-54 points
- EPC rating F = 21-38 points
- EPC rating G = 1-20 points
As you can see in the energy efficiency rating table below, the ‘Current’ column indicates the current EPC rating of the property, and the ‘Potential’ column indicates the potential score of the EPC rating of the property if improvements were made.
Anyone can access the EPC of a house online through the EPC register. It is the responsibility of the house seller or the landlord to provide a valid EPC when they are looking to sell or rent their property.
Who Would Need an EPC Rating for a Property?
Energy Performance Certificates are a necessary part of buying, selling and renting homes in the UK.
By law, every house needs to have a valid EPC before it can be sold (unless exempt). Also, as of April 2018, rental properties must have a minimum EPC rating of band E before landlords can let their properties to new tenancies or renewals. Unless there is an applicable exemption, all rental properties must meet this minimum EPC rating.
If you are looking to sell your home, a good EPC rating can increase the interest of potential buyers. This is why, as a seller, it is prudent to make improvements to the energy efficiency of your home before you put your property on the market. You can request a new survey after improvements have been made to confirm the improved energy efficiency score of your property.
It is also worth pointing out that there is a growing appetite in the housing market for innovative solutions to energy consumption and usage. As a homeowner, you could add value to your home and gain a significant competitive advantage through shifting to renewable power.
Those wishing to claim for government incentives such as the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) will need to provide information on the EPC rating of their home too.
Also, those who are not necessarily looking to let or sell, but are interested in improving the energy efficiency and running costs of their home, may choose to work towards improving the EPC rating of their home.
What is the Green Homes Grant?
In the wake of the Green Deal, financial support from the government was available to help people make improvements in the energy efficiency of your home. The scheme closed to new applicants in March 2021.
An estimated 600,000 people were expected to benefit from the Green Homes Grant. Most were entitled to £5,000, whilst other were entitled to as much as £10,000.
If an application was made before 31st March 2021, you should still be able to get the measures installed if you meet the eligibility criteria.
To redeem a Green Homes Grant voucher, all of the following must apply:
- You have a Green Homes Grant voucher
- You are the homeowner or landlord
- The work was completed by a TrustMark-registered installer
If you are considering which grants you may be eligible for you can retrieve your property’s existing EPC rating certificate here.
How to Improve the EPC Rating of Your Home
As we have alluded to, there are a number of ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home and improve the EPC rating of your home.
The 9 tips below provide a useful overview of the main things you can do to improve the energy efficiency of your home and increase your house’s EPC rating.
Upgrade to LED Light Bulbs
One of the easiest and least labour-intensive ways of improving your EPC rating is to switch your old light bulbs for modern LED bulbs.
LED light bulbs are more energy efficient and eco-friendly than traditional halogen bulbs and will provide immediate savings on your energy bills.
Long-term, LED light bulbs will need replacing less often too. It is estimated that an LED bulb will last 20 times longer than a filament bulb, lasting up to 20,000 hours, whilst using only using 5 watts of power, compared to 40 watts. According to SimplyLED, an LED bulb would cost just £19 during its lifetime compared to an incandescent bulb that would cost £152 over the same period.
Install Wall and Roof Insulation
Another way of improving home energy efficiency and long-term energy savings is by investing in additional wall, roof or cavity insulation. This low-cost measure significantly reduces the loss of energy from your home, resulting in significant improvements in your home’s EPC rating.
Increasing loft insulation thickness to at least 270mm can dramatically reduce energy waste. An uninsulated or poorly insulated loft conversion will lose heat up to at third faster than a fully insulated one. Previously, the recommended depth of insulation was as low as 100mm, before rising to 200mm (or higher). It is likely that older homes with fewer renovations will not be well insulated, if insulated at all.
Going from no insulation to 270mm can improve the EPC rating by 10-15 points, whilst a top up of existing insulation will typically add 2-5 points.
Cavity wall insulation is another cost-effective way to keep heat in your home and save money on your energy bills too. Indeed, cavity insulation can save you up to £160 in annual bills. Also, cavity insulations can increase EPC ratings will by 5-10 points.
The cost of installing new or additional insulation varies depending on the size and walls of your property. Generally, adding insulation will cost around £200 for each two-storey wall. Detached houses will incur greater costs in comparison to terraced houses and bungalows.
Replace Windows with Double or Triple Glazing
While proper insulation is essential, failing to keep your windows in good condition will mean that your home is still wasting a lot of energy. Most modern homes will have double glazing as standard, but it is always useful to check as new double glazing can add up to ten points on your EPC rating.
In the UK, the average price for white 1x1m UPVC double glazed windows is £300. For apartments, prices can range from £1,550 to £2,750, while prices for semi-detached or smaller detached houses can cost between £4,900 and £7,600 for new double glazing.
Insulate Hot Water Cylinder
If your home has a hot water cylinder, insulating your tank is a cheap and simple way of improving your home’s energy efficiency. This can increase your property’s EPC rating score moderately, by just a few points.
Replace Draughty Doors
If you have draughty doors in your home, you could invest in replacing them. Replacing doors can improve your home’s EPC rating and help you (or a potential buyer) to save money on heating bills, reduce your carbon footprint and reduce noise.
Install Solar Panels and Invest in Renewables
Investing in renewables can be more expensive than other options listed here but through doing so, you can improve your EPC rating significantly.
For example, a system of 16 solar panels can add up to 10 points to your EPC rating. Also, you can choose to put renewable electricity back into the national grid in a scheme known as the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). Big energy companies offer tariffs to customers who are part of this scheme. The amount you could save varies widely depending on the electricity company you are using.
The cost of installing solar panels can vary considerably. According to moneysavingexpert.com, the average home solar panel system will cost around £4,800. When choosing a system it is important to opt for one which is in suitable for your location and circumstances. It is important to shop around and get a variety of quotes to find your best option before proceeding.
As well as solar panel installation, you could consider the following renewable energy options to improve the EPC rating of your home:
- Air source heat pumps. These pumps take energy from the air outside and convert it into heat for your home. They produce fewer carbon emissions than most boiler systems and help your home waste less energy
- A ground source heat pump system. This pump system absorbs heat from pipes buried in your garden and transports it into your home. A well installed system can be as much as 400% more efficient in electricity usage
- Storage heaters. These heaters are able to precisely control your heating, making for better usage of your heating system
Use a Smart Meter
Smart meters can influence the way you use energy around the home, leading to reduced costs and greater energy efficiency. A smart meter will provide you with a live reading of your day-to-day energy usage and reveal the times when you are using more energy than might be necessary.
Also, through using a smart meter, you will never have to submit another meter reading to your supplier again. A smart meter can be installed by your electricity supplier at no extra cost to you and some suppliers will provide incentives to get one installed.
Replace an Inefficient Boiler and Heating
Your boiler and heating system are two of the most important factors in your EPC rating. By upgrading an old boiler to a modern condensing model, you can add up to 20 points to your EPC, depending on the age of your boiler. With a boiler replacement, you can also enjoy cheaper energy costs. A boiler replacement can shrink your energy bills by as much as £315 per year.
The age of your boiler can also be a significant point of consideration when having your property valued too.
Combi and conventional boilers are the most common boilers in the UK. These systems can cost generally cost between £500 and £2,000. Condensing boilers cost around £2,500, whereas a biomass boiler can cost up to £13,000. Higher performance boilers will incur greater costs, but usually with a guarantee of greater performance and better energy efficiency.
Consider Other Possibilities
It is also important to consider whether your home might have a feature which could influence the EPC score. For instance, if you have already installed insulation but there is no access to the space, it is a good idea to try to locate some official documentation which you can provide to an EPC assessor. You can also do this if you think that installation may have already been installed before you moved into the property.
Providing the assessor with this documentation will usually lead to a higher EPC rating, perhaps even as high as if you actually installed an improvement.
What is the EPC Register?
The EPC register is an online database which lists every EPC in the UK. This government database allows you to view a detailed report of the energy efficiency of a property by simply entering the postcode of the property.
How Much is an EPC Certificate?
An Energy Performance Certificate typically costs between £60 and £120. For most properties, the cost will be in the lower end of this range.
To apply for an Energy Performance Certificate (or retrieve an existing Energy Performance Certificate) visit epcregister.com to find an accredited domestic energy assessor.
How Long is an EPC Valid for?
An EPC certificate is valid for 10 years upon issue, however if you are making improvements to your home, it can be easily renewed once you have made changes to your property.
Is it Possible to get an Energy Performance Certificate Online?
You must book an EPC assessment online. However, the EPC rating check must be conducted in-person by an accredited domestic energy assessor. You will receive your EPC certificate after they have conducted their survey.
If you require any assistance with your EPC, whether that is getting a new one or locating an old one, Chancellors can help. For more information, contact our team;
By phone on 01344 408 194
By email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Correct at time of publication (18th September 2020). The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the individual contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of the Chancellors Group of Estate Agents Ltd or its subsidiaries. References to legislation, best practice and other matters with legal implications such as fees, rules and processes are included for information and editorial purposes only and are not authoritative, nor should they be interpreted as advice. When in doubt you should only take advice from an industry professional or solicitor where appropriate. E&OE.