Energy Performance Certificates (Residential)

The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (2002/91/EC) was made to encourage the reduction of Carbon Emissions through increasing the efficient use of energy in order to satisfy commitments made in the Kyoto Protocol. An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is required for all homes whenever built, rented or sold.

If you are buying or selling a home it is now law to have a certificate. They are also required on construction of new homes and have been required upon letting of a property since October 2008.

The certificate records how energy efficient a property is as a building and provides A-G ratings, similar to the labels now provided with domestic appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines. A copy of the graph provided within the EPC should be displayed with the Agents sale particulars.

EPC’s are produced using a standard methodology for capturing the required data called RdSAP (Reduced Data Standard Assessment Procedure) and assumptions about energy usage so that the energy efficiency of one building can easily be compared with another building of the same type. This allows prospective buyers, tenants, owners, occupiers and purchasers to see information on the energy efficiency and carbon emissions from their building so they can consider energy efficiency and fuel costs as part of their investment.

Its use as a comparative tool is perhaps not clearly explained enough within the Certificate. As mentioned, the EPC is produced on the assumption of ‘typical’ energy usage depending on the number of ‘habitable’ rooms within the subject property that are assumed to be heated to certain temperatures for certain hours on week days and weekends. Location is also factored in. Therefore the estimated costs shown on EPC’s can be wildly different to what the present occupier actually pays. It is when using these figures comparatively that they become effective, A home estimated to cost £1,000 per year to heat can be seen to relatively cost twice as much than one that is estimated to cost £500 per year to heat, regardless of what the present occupiers actually pay.

An EPC is always accompanied by a recommendation report that lists cost effective and other measures such as low and zero carbon generating systems to improve the energy rating. A rating is also given showing what could be achieved if all the recommendations were implemented.

The certificate is important because nearly 50 per cent of the UK’s energy consumption and carbon emissions arise from the way our buildings are lit, heated and used. Even comparatively minor changes in energy performance and the way we use each building will have a significant effect in reducing energy consumption.

EPC’s can only be produced by accredited Domestic Energy Assessors of which, R K Lucas & Son, have two.

About the Report

The Assessor does not determine any of the ratings calculated within the EPC. The ratings are derived from the information collected during the assessment and input into the software. Nor does he have control over the elements classification i.e. very poor, poor, average, good or very good. The report will state that there is partial double glazing if there are any single glazed units within a property that may be mostly double glazed. The report will also state partial low energy lighting, again even if the majority of light fittings are low energy light bulbs.

The report makes certain assumptions beyond the Assessors control. For example, it assumes:

• The level of insulation within a cavity wall dependant on when built unless direct evidence of retrospective fill is clear;
• The thickness of loft insulation if this cannot be inspected i.e., if a loft space is boarded or there is a limitation to inspect the insulation based on the appropriate level at the time of construction;
• The annual heating and lighting costs are not calculated by the Assessor but by the RdSAP.

EPCGRAPH3EPC Graph The average EPC rating for homes is E, however; we are yet to experience any negative impacts on marketed properties with lower ratings. Perhaps in the future we shall see a greater awareness of energy consumption and costs but for now the EPC remains a useful tool for discovering which measures may have a greater effect on lowering bills and using the EPC in this respect may be quite useful to the owner.

What the inspection entails.

The Assessor will take certain measurements of the property, drawing floor plans and making site notes. It is necessary to photograph the property externally and internal appliances for the report’s site notes. Access is required to all rooms of the property to assess the methods of heating, lighting and ventilation in the home. Clear access is required to meter cupboards, heating systems and their controls, i.e., boilers, timers, hot water cylinders and thermostats etc. An inspection of the loft space, if accessible, is required to assess insulation. The Assessor will have his own ladder available if a loft ladder is not installed. It might be necessary to open windows and doors to determine wall thickness. For the average 3 bedroom property the inspection will take approximately 1/2 hour – longer if the property is larger or of unusual complexity.

After the Inspection

Once the EPC has been lodged with the Central Register a copy will be forwarded to the instructing party (usually the Solicitor commissioning the HIP or Landlord) together with the appropriate invoice for payment. Should you wish to discuss the EPC once you have read through it your Assessor will happily hold a brief discussion with you to answer any questions that you may have.

If you would like to discuss your requirements further please contact us.