Energy Performance Certificates are abbreviated as EPCs. It is a legal requirement to obtain an EPC for a house if it is to be sold, or rented out. An EPC is now required before solar pv panels are fitted to a building, and the rating of the EPC has to be a “D” rating or better to get the full Feed in Tariff (FiT).
Anyone buying a house should carefully read the EPC for a prospective house, to understand its heating and lighting costs. The EPC also recommends potential improvements, estimates the costs involved, and indicates the potential savings possible through reduced energy costs.
The average EPC rating for houses in England and Wales is D60. The scale of energy efficiency is rated from “A” (very energy efficient, with a value of 92 plus) down to “F” (not energy efficient, with a value from 1 to 20). The larger the house, the more difficult it is to achieve and “A”, “B”, or “C” rating, because more energy is required for heating and lighting than for a small house. For new houses, the Building Regulations are being made progressively more strict each year, so that new houses are much more energy efficient than those produced 5 or 10 years ago.
The assessment has to be carried out by an Accredited Assessor, who will take measurements of the building and do a “walk round”, non-invasive, assessment.
The survey considers the following topics, and allocates a 5 star rating to each:
1. Wall, roof, and floor construction and insulation.
2. Type of windows installed, and the draught-proofing and glazing insulation properties.
3. Type of fuel for the main heating system, its age (efficiency), thermostats, and controls.
4. Secondary heating, if present.
5. Hot water system and controls.
6. Type and efficiency of lighting.
The survey also includes any solar thermal or solar pv systems that may be installed.
A quick comparison of total heat, hot water, and lighting costs for 4 example properties is:
300 year old thatched house (55 sq. m area) – EPC rating F34. Annual running costs £936.
Small detached bungalow (50 sq. m area) – EPC rating D57. Annual running costs £723.
1998 semi-detached house (55 sq. m area) – EPC rating C69. Annual running costs £503.
4 bed highly insulated house (229 sq. m area) – EPC rating C77. Annual running cost £1335.
NB The latter is 15 Main Road, which is fitted with both solar thermal and solar PV systems, but could be improved to a “B82” rating.
An EPC rating was obtained for Little Gransden Village Hall, and scored “D98”. The certificate is displayed in the Entrance Hall. The Hall comes under a different rating system from domestic houses. Village Halls and Commercial Buildings are rated from “A” (very efficient 0 –25), down to “G” (very inefficient over 150). A rating of “A0” is zero nett carbon dioxide emissions, and “A+” is even better with negative nett carbon dioxide emissions (i.e. overall, the building generates more energy than it uses).
An EPC is currently valid for 10 years, but there is a move to reduce this to 5 years, as a rating can be affected by heating costs. The two EPC assessments for the Village Hall, and for 15 Main Road, were carried out by Tony Wyatt from Bar Hill, Cambridge. Tony Wyatt was very helpful is explaining how the EPCs are calculated, which enabled me to write this article.
Tony can be contacted on 07779 620593, or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
See also www.yourenergyassessor.co.uk for details and the cost for domestic properties.