TOP TIPS FOR A BETTER EPC RATING.
- Try and make sure as many of your fixed light fittings as possible have energy saving bulbs, i.e. Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) or Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs).
- If you have a hot water tank, make sure there is plenty of insulation around it. Good insulation can make a significant difference to the rating.
- Loft insulation. If we cannot see the loft is insulated because either we cannot gain loft access or because the loft is boarded over please have any paperwork available to prove loft insulation is fitted.
- If you have cavity wall insulation which is not visible due to rendering etc, make sure you have the paperwork available.
- If your double glazed windows were fitted after 2002 and the date is not visible in the units, please have paperwork available to show the installation date.
- Boiler information: We will try to establish the exact make and model of the gas or oil heating boiler. Where this is possible, the exact efficiency of the boiler can be established. This is likely to be higher than the software default setting for that type of boiler. Establishing the boilers details from visual inspection can be difficult, so please have any information manuals or service history available.
- If your property has had major alterations, extensions or a loft conversion, please show the building control sign off certificate to the assessor on the day of the survey. This documentation will have a major impact in producing a superior EPC.
- Please make sure all parts of the property are unlocked and accessible including basements and loft space.
ENERGY SAVING TIPS FOR YOUR HOME
There are many things you can do around your home to increase energy efficiency and, in effect, reduce your bills.
LIGHTING AND ELECTRICITY.
Look out for the logo. When purchasing new appliances; always look for the ‘Energy Saving Recommended’ logo. Energy Saving Recommended appliances are the most efficient in their category and could save you up to £34 a year. Also visit www.sust-it.net which lists thousands of appliances and how much they cost to run.
Unplug it. If chargers for devices such as mobile phones and mp3 players were unplugged when not in use, the UK could save enough electricity each year to power 115,000 homes. Turning off your mobile phone overnight will mean you have to charge it less.
Turn your lights off. When you leave a room, turn the light off on your way out. It’s said that UK households spend £1.9bn on electricity every year for lighting. Using fluorescent strip lights in kitchens give long lasting bright light with lower running costs.
NIGHT TIME LIGHT.
If you have an outside light, replace the bulb with a low energy light bulb. You can also fit a timer or a motion sensor so it’s only used when it’s needed. You can also buy solar garden lights for night time lighting.
ENERGY SAVING LIGHT BULBS.
In most homes, lighting accounts for 10–15% of the electricity bill. Energy saving light bulbs last up to 10 times longer than normal light bulbs, and each bulb fitted could save around £40 over its lifetime. They come in a range of styles, and often your energy supplier will provide you with some for free.
DOING THE LAUNDRY.
Wash cooler 85% of the energy that washing machines use goes to heating the water, so switch to a cooler wash. Washing at 30°C uses a third less electricity. Modern washing powders are designed to now be more effective at lower temperatures.
Fill it up Put full loads in your washing machine and wait until your dishwasher is full before turning it on. De-scaling these appliances will also help them run more efficiently.
Dry your clothes outside this way you’ll save energy normally used by your tumble dryer. In the winter, put your clothes on a clothes horse rather than on the radiator, as covering the radiator will make your boiler work harder than it needs to.
IN THE BATHROOM.
Take a shower. A five-minute shower uses about a third of the water of a bath and can save 50 litres every time. If you like a bath however, afterwards you can use the water to water your garden.
Fix the drip. Dripping hot taps can add to your heating costs. Get them repaired before it all adds up.
IN THE KITCHEN.
Cooking tips. Chop vegetables into smaller chunks for cooking, they cook more quickly thus using less energy. Put lids on your saucepans to stop the heat escaping and reduce cooking time. Cooking with a steamer means you can cook several types of vegetable on only one ring. Always use the correct size ring for the size of pan you are using. Smaller items are better cooked under the grill than in the oven.
Microwave more. Using a microwave is quicker and more energy efficient than using an oven. Use microwave to warm food up. Making toast in a toaster is more efficient than putting it under the grill.
The perfect cuppa! When boiling the kettle, only use as much water as you need. Boiling too much uses more energy and wastes water if you refill the kettle each time you use it. Most modern kettles have a gauge so you can work out the exact right amount. Also try and de-scale your kettle regularly – lime scale.
Keep it closed. Try not to leave your fridge door open. Each minute the door is open takes three minutes of energy to cool down again. Try to keep your fridge and freezer three quarters full and defrost them regularly. You can put bottles of water in your fridge to fill it up if it’s empty. Never put hot food in your fridge or freezer as it makes it work harder than it needs to.
Turn down the heat. Turning the thermostat down by 1°C can cut more than 10% from the average central heating bill. Set your water cylinder at 60°C to use less energy.
Layer up. Instead of turning the heating up, put on another layer of clothing. This will reduce your heating bill.
Time it right. Time your heating to go off 30 minutes before you leave the house, and come on again 30 minutes before you come home.
Put foil behind your radiators. Putting reflective foil behind your radiators will reflect heat back into the room and increase the efficiency of the radiator. Also make sure there is no furniture in front of your radiators.
Close your curtains. This will help stop heat escaping through the windows. Never put your curtains in front of a radiator though – doing so will block the heat.
Mind the gap. Keep windows and doors closed. If there are gaps underneath internal doors, roll up a blanket to keep draughts out. TIP: To help find the source of a draught, light a candle and use it to find the source. By moving the candle around the edge of a window or door frame, the flame will flicker where the draught is coming in. Use draught proofing strip around the frame of the door.
Cosy up at bedtime. Rather than having your heating on overnight in the winter, use a thicker duvet to keep you warm.
IF YOU HAVE A LITTLE MORE TIME.
Insulate your hot water tank. Buying a jacket for your water tank will only cost £10–£15 but it pays for itself in months with all the heat it traps in. Fit one that is at least 75mm (3″) thick and you could save around £30 a year. If every UK household that could fitted an adequate tank-jacket tomorrow, we’d save over £132 million of energy every year! You can also fit insulation for hot water pipes – this will cost between £5 and £10 and save you around £10 a year, which means you should recover the cost of fitting within a year.
Switch to a high-efficiency boiler. If your boiler is over 15 years old, it should be replaced with a new, high-efficiency boiler. By law, new gas boilers in England and Wales must now be of the high-efficiency condensing type, which can help you save up to a third on your heating bills and even more if you upgrade to modern controls as well. Choosing the correct heating system with a condensing boiler and correct heating controls can make a huge difference over time. With energy prices now higher than ever, you’ll certainly feel the difference in your pocket. Speak to a CORGI registered plumber and ask about condensing boilers. They will be able to tell you which one would best suit your home. Fitting a new boilers can save up to £140 a year, and cut your home’s C02 emissions by more than 800kg a year.
LOFT AND WALL CAVITY INSULATION.
Insulating your loft is another simple way to save energy – you can even do it yourself. If your loft is not insulated, you could be losing as much as 15% of your heating costs through the loft. Cavity wall insulation is a bit more complex, but if your home has unfilled cavity walls, a considerable slice of your energy bills will be spent heating the air outside. It will need to be installed by contractors. The Government, energy suppliers and local authorities all provide grants or offers to help you implement energy saving measures in your home. For more information, contact your energy supplier or local authority. If everyone in the UK installed loft insulation up to 270mm thickness, the equivalent financial savings would pay the energy bills for over 640,000 families a year.
Install double-glazing Double glazing creates an insulating barrier by trapping air between two panes of glass. It cuts heat loss through windows by 50% and could cut your heating bill by around £110 a year. Get some double glazing or consider retro-fitting double-glazed panes to standard wooden frames. That way, you keep original features and stay warm in winter. Go to www.uksashwindows.com for information on secondary glazing.
It is essential to keep safe and warm in winter and there are some simple things you can do to keep warm and stay healthy.
DURING THE NIGHT.
Try to keep a temperature of above 18°C (65°F) in your bedroom overnight.
If you use a fire or heater in your bedroom during winter, open the window or door a little at night for ventilation.
An electric blanket or a hot water bottle will help you keep warm but never use them together as you could electrocute yourself.
If you have an electric blanket, check what type it is – some are designed only to warm the bed before you get in and should not to be used throughout the night.
If you use an electric blanket make sure it is safe to use by getting it tested every three years.
The Fire Brigade, Trading Standards and Age Concern can test your electric blanket for safety.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
When did the obligations to provide EPC’s for rented dwellings come into force?
1 October 2008
When did the obligations to provide EPC’s for the sale of dwellings come into force?
For the marketed sale of dwellings this requirement started on 1 August 2007. For other types of sale, such as non-marketed sales, this requirement started on 1 October 2008.
When did the obligations for newly constructed dwellings come into force?
6 April 2008.
How long is an EPC valid for?
Where does the 10 year validity period come from?
The requirement for an EPC is driven by the European Union legislation, which includes a provision that the validity period of EPC’s should not exceed 10 years.
Where can I find an energy assessor?
Fully accredited energy assessors can be found at Complete EPC
Can a landlord charge a tenant for the provision of an EPC?
No. It is not permitted for the landlord to charge for the provision of the original EPC. However it is permissible for a tenant who has already received the EPC to be charged for the provision of a copy document.
How do I decide whether to keep the work in-house or use an external contractor?
This is a decision for individuals. A key factor to consider when choosing between in-house and external DEAs will be the number of dwellings that require EPC’s and the expected frequency of turnover.
Is it possible to amend and update an EPC without the need to commission a new assessment? A new EPC may be wanted for example if a replacement boiler is fitted?
An EPC cannot be amended or updated. If you want to capture the benefits of any energy efficiency measure that you have installed, you will need to commission a new EPC, for which a new survey will be required. However, if the work has been funded through the Green Deal, a new assessment is not required, provided that suitable evidence that the work has been done is available.
Is it always the building owner who is responsible for producing the EPC? What if the building owner has no direct relationship with the tenants?
Where a tenant sub-lets a dwelling, the responsibility to make an EPC available lies with the sub leaseholder.
Who has access to the EPC’s on the domestic register?
Data held on the domestic register is publicly available. It is possible to search for an EPC on the register by entering either the certificate’s unique reference number (RRN), or the property’s postcode. Anyone with an EPC can opt out of having their data made publicly available.
Are asset management databases available that can hold property specific reduced data standard assessment procedure (RdSAP) input data and the central register reference number in addition to the other asset details?
These are being developed by the market in response to a recognised need.
Is it possible to advertise a property before the EPC has been produced?
There is nothing to prevent a dwelling being advertised for sale or rent before the EPC is available. However, the landlord/seller will be expected to have made contact with a domestic energy assessor and commissioned the EPC with a view to receiving it within one week of the date it was commissioned.
If an EPC is being produced when the dwelling is empty, what impact will occupying tenants or owners have on the accuracy of the energy and environmental ratings when they move in?
The occupier will have no impact on the EPC ratings, as these are produced using standardised occupancy data (i.e. number of occupants and hours of heating per day).
What if the tenant wants to buy the dwelling they already occupy? Can I use the same EPC as I used when they took the tenancy?
If the tenant wants to purchase the dwelling they rent, the same EPC can be used.
Is an EPC needed if tenants are moving via a mutual exchange?
Whether advertised for exchange via a choice based lettings system or not an EPC will be required.
Is an EPC needed for shared ownership dwellings?
The first equity purchase of the dwelling creates a trigger for an EPC to be produced. The purchase of subsequent equity does not create a need for a further EPC.
What happens in the case of stock transfer? Can we have one EPC for a whole block in that case?
For a stock transfer an EPC is required for each dwelling. However, it may be possible to employ techniques which will reduce the number of dwellings that need to be assessed. Separate guidance is available on these.
What happens if I need to get an EPC to advertise the property, but I am going to improve before the new tenant moves in/ the sale is completed?
Either explains to the tenant or buyer that improvement works were carried out since commissioning the EPC and so the dwelling’s energy efficiency rating may now have changed. It may be beneficial to commission another EPC after completion of the improvements.
Will I have to issue an EPC if I have a lodger in my house?
A letting of a room within your house does not constitute a rental of a building or part of a building – so a separate EPC for that room is not required.
Will I need to show an EPC to prospective residents of, for example, a care home or a boarding school.
These examples do not constitute a rental of a building or a part of a building. Therefore, an EPC is not required.
Is an EPC required under a long term regulated tenancy where a tenant dies and a partner, member of their family or other individual is able to succeed to the tenancy under the Rent Act 1977?
Under such circumstances an EPC is not required.
Will an EPC be needed for holiday accommodation?
An EPC will be required for a property rented out as a holiday let where the building is occupied as a result of a short term letting arrangement and is rented out for a combined total of four months or more in any 12 month period. An EPC will not be required where the property is let under a licence to occupy, regardless of the length of time it is rented out for.
Do static caravans or houseboats require an EPC?
No – static caravans and houseboats do not require an EPC because they are not buildings.