SERVICES: Energy Performance Certification
The energy performance certificate (EPC) is an essential requirement in the UK if you are selling, renting or building a property. It is also essential if you are applying for grant funded schemes such as the government Feed-in-Tariff or Renewable Heat Incentive.
Much like the multi-colored sticker on new appliances, EPCs basically tell you how energy efficient a building is and gives it a rating from A (very efficient – dark green) to G (very inefficient – red). EPCs let the person who will use the building know approximately how costly it will be to heat and light and what its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are likely to be.
The EPC will also indicate what the energy-efficiency rating could potentially be if improvements are made and highlight some ways to achieve this. Key energy improvements such as adding extra loft insulation, draught-proofing, underfloor insulation or even switching to more energy efficient lighting are all excellent investments for the home owner.
However, as the EPC software assumes ‘standard’ occupancy and ‘standard’ heating patterns and lighting usage, the slight drawback is that the information given can be too standardised.
MJC Surveyors Ltd can deliver a more considered, appropriate and bespoke interpretation of your EPC score in order to commission retro-fit energy improvements that would better reflect your individual needs and provide cost effective solutions.
MJC Surveyors Ltd provides the following services:
EPC and Energy Assessments – Standard
- Homes – for Sale
- Homes – for Rent
- Homes – with Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) requirements.
- Homes – with Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) requirements
EPC and Energy Assessments – Reporting and advice
- Homes – needing considered advice to improve their EPC score in general
- Homes – needing considered advice on retro-fit energy improvements that would be best suited and provide the most cost effective solution in reducing energy bills
- Homes – needing considered and comprehensive advice and indicative cost options appraisal for commissioning retro-fit energy improvements, insulation measures and new technologies (ideal for partial or full refurbishments where material savings as well as energy savings are a prerequisite)
- Homes – needing innovative advice and support on ‘whole-house’ retro-fit energy improvements
EPC and Energy Assessments – Floor Plans
- Floor Plans – sketches of property layout made during an energy assessment and converted into floor plans
- Floor Plans and Photos – a simple representation of the footprint of your home together with photos
EPC and Energy Assessments – Housing Associations, Co-operatives & Local Authorities
- EPC production – single commission
- EPC production – as part of a regular ‘voids’ programme
- EPC production – as part of planned maintenance incorporating low carbon refurbishment
- EPC production – as part of a housing stock condition survey commission
- EPC production – as part of a whole stock energy efficiency audit
EPC and Energy Assessments – Partnering approach
- EPC ‘accuracy value and quality promise’ – adopt a partnering approach with Housing Associations, Co-operatives and Local Authorities explaining the value of collecting better energy performance data on existing stock. See gov.uk/government/consultations/energy-performance-certificates-in-buildings-call-for-evidence
- EPC technical summary – provides address specific calculations, workings and photographs, giving full ownership of energy efficiency data back to the client
- Funding and Incentive schemes – work in partnership to help access funding sources
Find out more about energy and EPCs
In order to tackle increasing global temperatures and significant environmental impacts, the Government has committed to a target of a 60% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050 (The Government ‘energy white paper’ Feb 2003). Domestic homes contribute to 30% of all UK CO2 emissions and more greenhouse gases than other buildings. In fact, buildings are responsible for around half of the UK’s carbon emissions – that’s almost twice as much as cars and airplanes combined. EPCs are designed as a way of reducing that daunting figure in compliance with the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), which was introduced in 2003 and recast in 2010. The big success of the EPBD in the UK has been the introduction of the Energy Performance Certificate: the handy little document that everyone should be shown when buying or renting a property (Energy Savings Trust – energysavingstrust.org.uk; Elmhurst Energy Systems Limited – elmhurstenergy.co.uk).
Although EPCs may not seem like a ground-breaking development their implication has been really important, not only to boost awareness of energy usage and saving but also to gain an insight into the energy efficiency status of the UK housing stock in general. For example, the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) rating for a property (‘A’ rating – for highly energy efficient homes down to a ‘G’ rating for poorly insulated homes) is also used by policymakers to address fuel poverty (gov.scot/policies/home-energy-and-fuel-poverty/energy-efficiency-in-social-housing/. The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (England & Wales) was introduced on the 1st April 2018 (Energy Savings Trust – (energysavingstrust.org.uk). There is now a requirement for any properties rented out in the private rented sector (in England & Wales) to have a minimum energy performance rating of E on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The regulations will come into force for new lets and renewals of tenancies and for all existing tenancies from the 1st April 2020. It will be unlawful to rent a property which breaches the requirement for a minimum E rating, unless there is an applicable exemption (Registered Landlords Association – rla.org.uk)
Currently, there is no minimum EPC rating required for private or private rented domestic properties in Scotland. However, the Scottish Government is consulting on the introduction of a minimum EPC rating requirement for private rented housing in Scotland: “Energy Efficiency and Condition Standards in Private Rented Housing”. The consultation proposes that the minimum standard for these properties would initially be Band E and would then be raised to Band D. There is a suggestion that the minimum rating would be raised further at a later stage. It is suggested that the initial trigger would be new tenancies granted from 1 April 2019 (The Scottish Government – gov.scot/publications/energy-efficient-scotland-strategic-environmental-assessment-environmental-report/pages/18/)
How does an EPC work and what is a SAP rating?
Both the SAP rating (Standard Assessment Procedure for the energy rating of dwellings) and EPC are related to the Energy Cost Factor (ECF) and based on the calculated annual energy cost for lighting, space heating and water heating for a square meter of floor area. It has a simple points score system of 1 to 100 – a low rating indicates high cost per square meter and high rating conversely indicates low cost. In addition to producing a cost-based rating – called the Energy Efficiency Rating- the SAP produces an estimate of CO2 emissions called Environmental Impact Rating.
In order to arrive at an EPC points score, banding and impact rating the SAP or RdSAP software (elmhurstenergy.co.uk/software/sap-energy-software) looks at three main features:
- Property characteristics: its size, shape, construction and age
- Heating & lighting: how the property is heated, how hot water is produced and what is used to light the rooms
- Insulation: how the property retains heat
Factors that have the most influence on the SAP rating include:
- Number and length of heat losing walls
- Fuel types used to heat your home
- Wall construction and insulation
- Roof construction and insulation
- Floor construction and insulation
- Space heating systems and their efficiency
- Water heating systems and their efficiency
Factors that have the least influence on SAP rating are:
- Heating controls
- External doors
- Draught proofing
Factors that do not have an influence on SAP rating are:
- The actual energy price paid by the occupants (these are pre-determined)
- The occupants’ personal heating preference and hot water use (these are standardised)
- The number of occupants (again this is standardised and assumed)
- The location and topography of the property
EPCs and Grant funded schemes
As mentioned previously, an EPC is essential if you are applying for grant funded schemes, such as the government’s Feed-in-Tariff (FITs), or Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).
Your property EPC needs to be available to potential buyers as soon as you start to market your property for sale or rent. Customers in Scotland, England & Wales wishing to get payments under the Government feed-in tariff (FIT) for solar PV or RHI will have to prove their home has an EPC rating of band D or above to receive FITs at the standard rate. You will need to be able to produce your existing EPC or obtain a new one.
What are feed-in Tariffs (FITs)?
FITs is a Government scheme designed to encourage uptake of a range of small-scale renewable and low-carbon electricity generation technologies. Under FITs, you could be paid for the electricity you generate if you install or have installed an eligible system like solar PV, wind turbine, hydro or micro Combined Heat and Power (CHP) technology.
If you are eligible to receive FITs payments you will benefit in three ways:
- Generation tariff: your energy supplier will pay you a set rate for each unit (or kWh) of electricity you generate
- Export tariff: your energy supplier will pay you a further rate for each unit you export back to the electricity grid
- Energy bill savings: you will be making savings on your electricity bills because generating electricity to power your appliances means you don’t have to buy as much electricity from your energy supplier
(Energy Savings Trust – energysavingstrust.org.uk)
What is the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
The Renewable Heat Incentive is a UK Government scheme set up to encourage uptake of renewable heat technologies amongst householders, communities and businesses through financial incentives. The domestic RHI was launched on 9th April 2014 and provides financial support to the owner of the renewable heating system for seven years. The scheme covers Scotland, England & Wales and is targeted at – but not limited to – off-gas households. The new technology systems are:
- Biomass (wood fuelled) boilers
- Biomass pellet stoves with integrated boilers providing space heating
- Ground to water heat pumps
- Air to water heat pumps
- Solar thermal panels (flat plate or evacuated tube only) providing hot water
To qualify for RHI the new technology systems must be on the product eligibility list and you will also require an up-to-date EPC. (Energy Savings Trust – energysavingstrust.org.uk)