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Gearing up for EPC changes

Stuart Harvey of Mason Gillibrand Environmental gives his view on the upcoming changes to the legislation regarding Energy Performance Certificates

Back in 2002, legislation was introduced to ensure that properties listed for sale (or to let) in the UK carried a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The energy efficiency of homes is graded on a scale from ‘A’ (most efficient) to ‘G’ (least efficient) – similar to the system used for household appliances - and is valid for 10 years. The system is now set for a shake-up, with new regulations recently finalised by the Department for Energy & Climate Change likely to impact commercial and residential landlords.

The changes will take effect from 1st April 2018 and will establish band ‘E’ as the minimum efficiency standard for both domestic and commercial buildings. This means that an ‘F’ or ‘G’ rating could have significant implications for landlords when renting out a house or flat or renewing a commercial lease. Properties will need to be improved so they meet the minimum standard, although exceptions for listed buildings will be in force.

There are some quick and relatively inexpensive ways of improving your property’s EPC rating – especially if it only needs nudging up a point or two.

• Check your windows

Windows are a big contributor to heat loss in any property. Investing in double, or even triple, glazing is a good way to help keep heat in and strengthen your EPC.

• Improve your lighting

Standard light bulbs generate more heat and run less efficiently than their low-energy counterparts. Replacing existing bulbs with energy-saving bulbs, such as LEDs, will help lower your property’s energy costs and raise its EPC.

• Add more loft insulation

Heat rises, so ensure that your loft insulation is at least 300mm in depth – simple and inexpensive to install.

• Draught-proof the gaps

Gaps around doors and windows can allow draughts to come in and heat to escape. Sealing any gaps will help keep the heat in.

• Insulate your walls

If your property has a cavity wall construction, ensure that this is filled – simple and inexpensive to introduce. It has a huge bearing on the EPC rating.

• Upgrade heating controls

Even if you have an old boiler, the introduction of modern controls such as a room thermostat, individual thermostatic radiator valves (TRV’s) and a timed programmer will have a positive effect on the EPC results.

• Replace your existing boiler

Old boilers can lose heat and waste a lot of energy. Installing a modern ‘A’ rated energy-efficient boiler will use less energy and help to boost the EPC.

• Implement a renewable technology

These cover a wide range of systems and technologies ranging from solar and photovoltaic panels, which generate hot water and electricity, through to biomass boilers and ground source heat pumps that replace conventional central heating systems, but are much more efficient. Most renewable technologies are currently incentivised via Government-backed schemes.

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