EPC ratings are something we are already used to seeing on electrical appliances like fridges and washing machines, but they are becoming increasingly important to homeowners.
It is now a legal requirement to have an EPC rating when you are selling, letting or building a property in the UK, with a few exceptions.
In Scotland the certificate must be displayed somewhere in the home.
Solar Panels will absolutely affect your EPC rating in a positive way, but they’re not a magic bullet that will raise you EPC rating from an F to an A – in fact, nothing is.
You would have to build your house from scratch, using the best energy reducing materials, buy A rated appliances AND generate your own electricity to get an A rating.
Can Solar Energy Systems improve your EPC Rating?
They can indeed!
Your home must have a rating of D or higher to start with, but it will improve with the inclusion of solar panels and improve further if your system includes battery storage.
A system can cost as little as £7,999 for an average 3-bedroom home and also add up to 25% to the value of your home.
A good system can add up to 15 points to your EPC rating – which could nudge you up into a higher category, saving you money and increasing the saleability/rentability to your property.
Attaining an EPC can be handled by an agent or an estate agent, but you can save yourself money by searching the EPC register’s assessor page and hiring your own assessor.
What is an EPC Rating?
EPC stands for Energy Performance Certificate and it’s an indication of how much energy your home is using and losing.
Some of the ways to improve your EPC are very obvious – good insulation, double or triple glazing and, of course, reducing the amount of fossil fuel energy you use.
That EPC is then registered on the government’s online database.
This makes each property’s EPC easily searchable for potential buyers or renters.
But, the EPC isn’t just good for assuring tenants or buyers your home is OK to live in, it’s also useful to you as you can find out whether you are wasting money or not.
How is your homes EPC score calculated?
An assessor will first calculate the property’s Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) and then work towards the EPC score.
The higher the score, the higher the EPC score.
The scores are shown on the graphic below.
What can you do to improve your EPC rating?
Common sense prevails when it comes to improving your EPC rating.
Points are then added or removed depending on your energy use and what you have in place to save your energy.
The perfect score is 100, that’s a high A, and means you aren’t wasting ANY energy – a zero rating means you heat the place with a 3-bar electric fire and leave all the windows open!
Anything that saves energy, or improves the efficiency of your home, will improve your EPC rating.
Everything from changing the light bulbs to installing a new heating system.
Insulate your home correctly
Insulation isn’t just for the loft; it should be used anywhere there may be a chance for heat to escape.
Most modern homes will already have insulation in the walls, but older houses may need it modernising.
The kind of cavity wall insulation used in the 70s and 80s isn’t great but is very hard to remove and replace.
In cases like this it may be an idea to consider insulation that covers the surface of the wall – this will also work in homes without cavity walls.
Also, insulating doors and windows around the frame or door jam is a great way to keep the heat in.
- Add as many as 20 points to your EPC rating.
- You can save up to £200 per year, depending on your home.
- Reduce the house’s carbon footprint by the equivalent of one return flight to Cancún, Mexico from Leeds!
Insulate your floors
Insulating the floor isn’t something that usually crosses our minds, but we lose between 10 to 20% of our heat through badly insulated floors.
Obviously solid floors, like concrete etc, would be hard to insulate, but insulating floating floors would cost around £1500 and £3000.
Upgrade the lighting to LED light bulbs
You know when you’ve had the lights on a while and the bulb gets really hot? That’s inefficiency right there.
Traditional, incandescent light bulbs turn a lot of the electricity they use into heat energy, as well as light, and that means you’re wasting that energy.
LED bulbs use between 80 and 90% less energy than their more traditional counterparts.
Plus, most smart bulbs are LED so that means you can control them with your home hub – saving more energy by turning them off automatically when no one is in the room.
- LED Bulbs can save you up to £160 a year on bills.
- LEDs last forever, well nearly – up to 100k hours … compared to 3k hours for traditional bulbs.
- Cheap and easy to replace – boosting an EPC rating up a few notches with each one.
- 80-90% less energy than either incandescent or halogen light bulbs.
Invest in double or triple-glazed windows
We are still surprised to walk into any home these days and see a window that is only single glazed – seems flimsy and strange because of the prevalence of double glazing.
However, there are still homes out there with single glazing and even below standard double glazing.
Paying for new windows is a big outlay but it really is essential to saving money on energy and fuel bills.
There are even secondary glazing options for listed buildings or properties where the windows are unable to be removed.
It may be worth looking at replacing the glass units in your current double glazing if you’ve had them over 20 years.
- Getting better windows can add five to ten points to your EPC score.
- Save around £100-£140 a year for heating – based on a detached home.
- Also, double or triple glazing makes your home quieter.
Upgrade your boiler
If you have an inefficient boiler you will be burning money every time you put the heating on or take a shower.
Boilers are very expensive and it’s worth thinking about alternatives these days, like heat pumps or a log burner.
If you are looking for a boiler, it’s always best to spend a little extra on the most efficient model you can afford.
Although the initial layout may be a bit painful, the savings on your bills for years to come will make up for it.
Install underfloor heating
Underfloor heating was THE thing to have in the 60s and early 70s but, as it was so hard to repair or replace, it soon fell out of favour as everyone moved to central heating.
But, like most things, the technology has improved dramatically and this way of staying warm is taking off again.
Underfloor heating uses much cooler water than a standard combi-boiler and, if paired with a heat pump, will use 40% less energy.
Use a renewable energy source
Another no brainer this one, and probably one of the easiest to achieve, even without buying any equipment.
There are more and more energy suppliers that supply ‘green’ energy, so look around for deals and ethical companies.
When you buy your energy from a renewable supplier you will get electricity from the grid, so it will actually be a mix of renewable and fossil fuels.
What you are doing is investing in renewable energy through sustainable companies, which is better for everyone.