Residential EPC, Green Tariffs & Clever Tips for Energy Efficiency
What is an EPC?
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is ultimately a chart clarifying levels of energy efficiency in residential building and its environmental impact. The result is calculated from the amount of energy spend per square meter as well as annual sum of Carbon dioxide emissions.
A professional, “domestic assessor” examines the residence providing certificate credible for 10 years. The 5 degree assessment categorizes energy efficiency in alphabetical order. Scoring “A ” means most effective performance while scoring G alerts the need for an upgrade and improvements. In fact, rating lower than band E classifies as illegal on todays rental market and can result in fines.
The paper will further estimate the cost of energy billing and conclude ways to boost the rating if the results linger on the end of the scale.
The Purpose of EPC
The 21st century is a bind with the phenomena of climate change and “Global Warming” which is further a bind to greenhouse gas emissions. Looking for solutions in reducing carbon emissions, regulations for residential sector were put forward aiming to reduce the negative impact on the climate change.
The Committee on Climate Change proposes that UK can bring it CO2 emissions to almost zero by 2050. This is expected to be achieved via low carbon technologies , changes in industry but it will also require adapted behaviour of public. The recommendations from the Committee include using heat pumps, hydrogen gas boilers and keeping thermostat on lower temperatures even in winter months.
EPC is a must if you are letting or selling your asset. Properties in private rental market are obliged to meet minimal requirements in energy performance. The established efficiency minimum standard qualifies as rating E. Listed buildings or properties with solid walls need to comply with other specific criteria. Failing to meet the legally set norms results in fines as high as £4000.
If you are a landlord of a listed building or a heritage property you can find helpful information on EPC Recommendations in following pdf. Document comments on changes for the envelope, heating, hot water, lighting, renewables and alternative measures.
Besides environmental benefits, increased energy performance correlates with decreased monthly spending on energy at the dwelling . Renters and buyers are keen to understand what utility cost implies the use of the property in their interest. Energy efficiency equals cost efficiency and therefore also impacts the property value.
Environmental challenges and the involvement of the government with the matter boosted competition between the energy suppliers in recent years.
“Renewable energy is now a mainstream technology that is cheaper and more advanced than ever – in 2011 clean energy suppliers made up less than 1 per cent of the market, now they account for around 17 per cent of it”, as Alice Cook wrote in December of 2017.
A year later Independent headlined that renewable energy will become cheaper than fossil fuels and become a smart economic choice by the time we approach 2020.
At the beginning of 2018 the cost for fossil fuel power ranged from 4p to 12p per kilowatt hour. “By 2020, IREA predicted renewables will cost between 2p and 7p, with the best onshore wind and solar photovoltaic projects expected to deliver electricity by 2p or less next year.”
Today the best companies don’t only supply 100% of renewable energy but also invest in projects bringing further positive impact on communities and environment.
The EPC Rating Calculation
The UK government has standardized and approved methodologies to survey energy performance of a dwelling. The calculation takes into consideration the type, age, location, size ,condition of the property and standardized assumption about the occupancy. It is based on the energy used for heating, hot water, lighting and ventilation then applies fuel costs to the energy used to produce an overall rating for the property. The rating displays on a scale of 1 to 100.
Getting an EPC
Process of obtaining an EPC is in many ways similar to the one of getting a Property Inventory. After you do your research on pricing, you book an appointment and an assessor will arrive and inspect the property using a software. Only an accredited Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA) or an accredited Home Inspector (HI) can produce your EPC.
The inspection length correlates with the size of the property. You can expect an EPC inspection to last approximately 45-60 min for a 3 bed semi house. The EPCs cost vary according to the provider. Typically you will spend between £60-£120 for the service including the EPC itself. Again, just as with rental inventory, getting an EPC done directly will cost you less than obtaining it via estate agency. EPC register will present you with accredited assessors in your area.
Landlord’s Fast & Smart EPC Improvements
Window & Door draught seals – Excluder tapes can be bought from about £4 (5 meter). Bottom door excluders starts from cca £7. Besides improving energy efficiency and reducing energy bills, using quality door excluders can help with sound insulation and keeping bugs away. Excluders could save you between £20-90 a year on bills. If you decide to draught proof your property keep bathroom doors out of the project. Air circulation in bathroom helps to prevent mildew growth.
Low flow shower head – regular shower head uses almost double the amount of water per minute in comparison to water-saving showerhead. Eco shower heads should be of good quality therefore read the reviews before purchasing. You can find eco shower heads from about £15, those of higher quality from around £30, reviews will help you to understand their functions. Saving should show on water bills mainly.
Electric Shower Is easy to install and runs water effectively. It also suits very well when multiple occupiers takes shower one after another. Electric shower energy efficiency stems from running at lower mains pressure than other systems. It heats up water only when its needed. Saving water and energy makes
Waterproofing/ damproofing wall cream – This invention works as brick sealer and long term damp prevention. Manufacturers claim durability up to 25 years. Besides protecting your walls from penetrating damp resulting in wall mildew, Masonry Cream increases the thermal efficiency of the dwelling which may save about 6% on bills over all. 5L Tub £150. 20L Tub £485.
Most efficient light bulbs – CFLs or LED bulbs use less energy to operate and have longer life spam. Between these two choices Led light are more expensive to buy but over all cheapest to run. LED lights are nearly 90% more efficient than old time incandescent bulb.
Insulating water tanks – Modern tanks comes with insulation already but older tanks will benefit from an extra insulating layer. Poorly insulated tanks loose heat much quicker. The water tank is where heated water waits to be used so keeping it at optimal temperature helps reducing energy cost.
Air fan instead of air conditioning. UK climate has usually mild summers and therefore installing air-conditioning may be unnecessary and more expensive. A ceiling fan will save lots on bills as it uses approximately as much electricity as a regular light bulb. The breeze it produces helps to feel cooler by several degrees. An attic air fan strategically blows warm air out of the property. In the winter it can push the warm air lingering near ceiling lower. Top reviews for ceiling fans in 2019 include pros and cons of described units.
Cellular shades have insulating characteristics. They will help reduce the bills and increase the energy performance of the property by keeping a buffer between outside and the inside. Cellular shades have single, double and triple cell design.
Magnetic secondary glazing. This is a cheaper way of insulating windows, reducing noise, condensation, heat loss and consequently energy bills. [Magnetic secondary glazing](Self-adhesive magnetic strips (coloured to match the window frame) are attached to the perimeter of the window frame – these are permanent, but since the colour matches the window frame, when the panel is not in place you shouldn’t be able to see them.) applies self-adhesive magnetic strips on the window frame, easy to install the panels and remove. Made measure to fit allows to match the needs of your home.
Window film ( Thermal window film / Low-E widow film) – Low emissivity film prevents the heat penetrating the glazing and it also restricts the UV rays from entering the interior. Does it really work? Naturally not as efficient as deep insulating solutions window film does have some effect on heat loss and heat restrain during seasons. Listed buildings are known to try the window film insulation strategy.
Insulating fire place. Particularly houses with multiple fireplaces as part of their structure benefits from Insulation. They are multiple options in ways to insulate the fireplace such as using chimney balloon or a chimney sheep excluder. Average cost £25.
Smart home devices – enable the home occupier to control the devices from the app on their phone remotely. The smart light bulbs, smart thermostat , smart switches , plugs etc. are giving you the benefit of control on a go. Being able to turn smart home devices on & off on demand will increase the energy performance and cut costs on the bills. Prices vary according to the item and the smart home eco system (the branding) of your choice.
Landlord’s Deep & Enduring EPC Improvements
ECO Washer Dryer – As inventory clerks we see landlords & tenants struggling with condensation, mildew and damp on daily basis. Although it is still preferable to dry cloths outside from an environmental perspective, this not an option for everyone. A good quality new generation washer dryer combo should be considered. “The highest energy rating for washing machines is A +++, with most being A+. However, as the dryer function consumes a lot of energy, most combos are rated “A”.” Beko WDR7543121B 7Kg / 5Kg cost around £400 and has energy rating A as most of the more expensive combos on the market.
Insulating Loft & Roof– About quarter of the heat is lost via roof. Insulating loft will make a difference in the energy performance of the house. It will reduce carbon footprint, will in crease the property value and gradually increase savings on bills. A semi detached house with insulated loft (270mm) will safe around £140 on bills a year and reduce carbon emissions by 580kg. The cost for such installment is cca £300.
Insulating a house can be done in several ways, in line with your needs and budget. Most heat is lost via roof and walls and then considerable amount via windows doors and floor. Insulating some of these can make a massive difference.
Insulating Floors – Floor insulation is another way to increase the energy performance, but it is more costly in compare to loft insulation. Cost depends on size and type of flooring . Saving wont probably get higher than £65 a year (detached house). However if you are a DIY lover this is a great way to reduce carbon footprint and increase the comfort of your home. Professional installation starts from £770, DIY may be managed under £150. Gained CO2 reduction up to 290kg a year (detached house).
Boiler upgrade – Boilers that are older than 15 years are now very inefficient in compare to the modern boiler generation. A- rated boilers are a generation of boilers are over 90% efficient which is 25% better than G -rated boiler, for illustration. A new boiler costs around £2000 and its installation increases the price.
Double & Triple glazed windows – are having a great impact on energy performance of the property. Investing into double glazing can reduce yearly energy bills up to £175. The cost of energy efficient windows depends on material used. UPVC is cheapest and wood the most expensive.
Internal wall insulation. It is believed that about 45% of the heat from home can escape via walls. This depends on type of walls you are having as well as the size of your asset. Internal Insulation of a semi detached house may cost between £3,500 -13 000. Insulating walls internally is a cheaper way in compare to external wall insulation. On the other hand you will have to bear with the procedure. Internal insulation will also slightly reduce your floor plan values.
External wall Insulation – generally one of the most expensive solutions but at the same time, very effective. Life can carry on undisturbed while undertaking the installation and property does not loose any space on the inside. A regular detached household could save around £450 on bills annually (similarly with internal insulation). The cost of external insulation ranges from £5 000 -15 000.
BMS Systems – Building management systems use sensors and wifi system to collect and act on the data. It is believed to be the most efficient method to monitor and run a building. Usually catching interest of developers but there are products for small homes as well. Low cost building management system may deliver saving about 20-30% on bills.
Eco heating systems Getting a Solar water heating or Air Source Heat Pump could be beneficial if it suits your home. It wont be cheaper than several thousand pounds but it will be saving you several hundreds pounds yearly. Ground source heat pumps and wood fuelled heating systems are further options in transferring your home into an eco habitat but it will require an investment over £12 000. Annual saving around £600.
The following chart illustrates return on investment in relation to time for a particular energy efficiency improvement. Products such as Led lights or BSM systems gained popularity due their affordability and electrical savings. But products such as EndoTherm, similar to chemical inhibitors is efficient for gas and heating savings.
Tenant’s Clever EPC Improvements
Eco Kettle – Is one the recent hot inventions. Some of the producers claim their eco kettles use about 30% less energy and help to reduce CO2 emissions. Other way to reduce the energy spending using a kettle is to boil only the amount of water you are using each time.
Washing your cloths on cold water cycle. Unless you have oil staining to your laundry you can wash your cloths on low temperatures, the detergent will do its job.
Use cord extensions with a switch – for instance – having plugged a kettle , a toaster , a microwave and and a coffee machine in multipoint extension and switching it off after your morning routine will gradually save you money.
Eco kitchen gadgets – getting eco friendly alternatives to your cooking kingdom is not difficult these days. Most of the items are higher quality and reasonably priced.
Air dry cloths – this one is tricky, cause UK homes suffers on condensation as well. If you have a laundry dryer which is letting the steam out of the property – it is most likely there to prevent mildew growth. However it does have large impact on the energy spending. If you have a garden and there is good weather, drying your laundry out will have an positive impact on you savings as well as on the environment. When drying your laundry indoors make sure you air the property regularly.
Be water conscious. Turn off water while brushing teeth, shaving, shampooing, or while soaping dishes. Avoid washing clothes half -load and don’t boil excessive amounts of water you will only let down the drain or cool down and re-boil again.
Chemical inhibitors for heating systems. These household helpers prevent building up the sludge inside radiators prohibiting them to optimally function. Maintaining the radiators fit help to run the property more energy and cost efficient. Performing the task can be a DIY job, inhibitor’s cost starts at £13.
Green tariff energy suppliers
All power in UK comes through one National Grid which ultimately means the gas and electricity in your home wont be green energy. Suppliers offering green tariffs are though committed to buy an equivalent amount of gas or electricity you use home from renewable sources.
Co-op – is a standard supplier, but also offers a Green Pioneer tariff providing you with 100% renewable electric energy.
Npower – with this company you are able to match all electricity and 15% of the gas you use by buying the same amount of renewable energy.
Octopus- harvest 96% of its electricity from solar farms and anaerobic digestion sites. The rest is gained from coal and natural gas. Octopus is offering a tariff that uses 100% renewable energy.
Ovo – achieved so far 64.7% renewable energy and 35. 3% comes from nuclear sources. Regular tariff with Ovo guarantee a min of 33% renewable electricity. A monthly investment of £5 will shoot to 100% renewable electricity on your tariff and plant 5 trees.
Top 5 Gas & Electricity deals at the start of 2019
Considering yourself a medium amount energy consumer, further reading suggests how much money could you be saving on energies per year.
Following quotes are displaying annual cost per tariff and an average saving amount compared with the price cup. A price cup for medium user equals £1,137 per year. Tariff exit fees (TEF) apply and vary from £0 to £30 per fuel type on listed contracts.
Green Network Energy offers an 18 month fixed contract ( GNE Exclusive Saver) which will cost you £878 a year. Potential annual saving £259. TEF £25
Utility Point. Choosing Up energy Saver contracts you for 12 months at £903 per annum. Potential 12 month saving £234. TEF £30
Octopus Energy advertises yearly price of £968 for an Exclusive Octopus 12 month fixed tariff. The potential yearly saving could reach £169. TEF £0
Toto Energy yearly bill for weflip New Year Saver comes to £980. Potential 12 month savings £157. TEF £0
Eon can supply you with energy for £980 a year on a 12 month fixed contract ( 1-Year exclusive November 2018) saving you up to £157 in 12 months. TEF £25.
The following chart displays the companies who’s customers gave the most positive feedback. Rating is based on bill accuracy, customer service, complaints handling, value for money and help to understand and reduce the energy use.
Making home improvements brings financial strain and professional landlords feel anxious about spending higher amounts of money. Government setting minimal EPC requirements is pushing landlords to consider ways of upgrading their asset. This is were Property Inventory Services will help you to safeguard your investment. Items such as walls, windows (and number of glazing), boilers, thermostats, water tanks, kitchen white goods, radiator controls are all usually noted in property inventory reports. Kitchen appliances have photographed serial numbers where possible so to ensure that records are accurate. Having done a quality Inventory Check In should serve the landlord as insurance in case of any harm to occur.
Tenants who intend to rent for longer may request permission to make some small improvements too. If you trust your tenants, this may be beneficial overall for everyone. Nevertheless you should always be aware and happy with the changes proposed. This includes the way of application.
Making expensive upgrades between tenancies may enable you to request higher rent to offset the cost. Given the tenant accepts the rental amount it is unlikely they will jump ship soon. On the other hand raising rent may cause just that.
We hope we have offered you a spectrum of choices in order to boost the energy performance of your asset. If you go ahead with any of these we will be most delighted to learn what difference it made. Don’t hesitate to share your experience!