How to improve EPC rating

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IMPRVING EPC RATINGS

Improving your property’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating is crucial for landlords and homeowners alike. A higher EPC rating not only contributes to a more sustainable future but also leads to lower energy bills and increased property value.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the EPC rating system, the importance of a good rating, and of course, the practical steps you can take to improve your property’s energy efficiency.

How do EPC rating bands work?

EPC ratings are divided into seven bands, ranging from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient). Each band corresponds to a range of Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) points, which are calculated based on the property’s energy performance.

The EPC rating bands are as follows where SAP points are given by an energy performance assessor upon visit to a property

EPC Rating Band SAP Points
A (92-100)
B (81-91)
C (69-80)
D (55-68)
E (39-54)
F (21-38)
G (1-20)

What are SAP points?

SAP points are a numerical representation of a property’s energy efficiency, calculated using the Government’s Standard Assessment Procedure.

The calculation takes into account factors such as the property’s construction, insulation, heating systems, and lighting. A higher SAP score indicates better energy efficiency and a lower environmental impact.

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According to recent data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, the average EPC rating for properties in England and Wales is D (60 SAP points).

In 2020, approximately 40% of properties had an EPC rating of D, while 34% had a rating of E or below. Only 3% of properties achieved an A or B rating, highlighting the need for widespread energy efficiency improvements.

What is the recommended score you should improve to?

The UK Government has set a target for all properties to achieve an EPC rating of C or above by 2035. However, landlords will face more imminent deadlines, with a minimum EPC rating of C required for all new tenancies by April 2025 and for all existing tenancies by April 2027.

new tenancies with epc rating C

Changes to EPC regulations coming up

To meet these targets and avoid penalties, landlords should aim to improve their properties’ EPC ratings to a minimum of C (69-80 SAP points) as soon as possible.

Homeowners not subject to rental regulations or who aren’t selling their home should still strive for a C rating or above to maximise their property’s energy efficiency, reduce energy bills, and contribute to a greener future.

Why EPC ratings matter

A good EPC rating is important for several reasons:

  • Lower energy bills: Properties with higher EPC ratings are more energy-efficient, resulting in lower energy consumption and reduced utility costs for occupants.
  • Increased property value: Energy-efficient properties are increasingly attractive to environmentally conscious buyers and tenants, potentially leading to higher sale prices and rental yields.
  • Compliance with regulations: Landlords must ensure their properties meet minimum EPC rating requirements to avoid penalties and legal issues.
  • Environmental impact: Improving a property’s energy efficiency helps reduce its carbon footprint and contributes to a more sustainable future.
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Improvements to make if your EPC rating is a G

If your property has an EPC rating of G (1-20 SAP points), it is considered very inefficient and requires significant improvements.

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Some key areas to focus on that likely haven’t been addressed yet include:

Improve wall insulationĀ 

Inadequate wall insulation is a common cause of heat loss in properties.

A house with a low EPC rating that should be improved

Depending on your property’s construction, you can improve its energy efficiency by installing cavity wall insulation, internal wall insulation, or external wall insulation. This can help retain heat, reduce drafts, and improve comfort levels.

Improve loft insulationĀ 

Heat rises, and a poorly insulated loft can lead to significant heat loss. By installing or upgrading loft insulation to a recommended minimum depth of 270mm, you can greatly improve your property’s energy efficiency, reduce heat loss, and lower energy bills.

Improvements to make if your EPC rating is an EĀ 

If your property has an EPC rating of E (39-54 SAP points), it is still very poorly insulated and as well as doing all of the recommended improvements mentioned previously in the article about what to do if your property is a G, there are still several areas you can focus on to improve its energy efficiency:

Improve floor insulationĀ 

Uninsulated floors can account for a significant portion of heat loss in a property. While it isn’t as important as loft insulation or wall insulation as these let out more heat, it can become worth doing at this stage.

Floor insulation in the UK

By installing floor insulation, such as underfloor insulation for suspended timber floors or slab insulation for solid concrete floors, you can reduce heat loss and improve your property’s EPC rating.

Install double and triple glazingĀ 

Single-glazed windows are notorious for heat loss and drafts. Upgrading to double or triple glazing can significantly improve your property’s energy efficiency by reducing heat loss, minimizing drafts, and improving soundproofing.

Look for windows with a high energy-efficiency rating for the best results. These windows typically have a lot of layers of air in between the panes of glass as air is a great insualtor.

Improve ventilationĀ 

Poor ventilation can lead to moisture buildup, mold growth, and reduced indoor air quality.

Installing a well-designed ventilation system, such as a Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR) system, can improve your property’s energy efficiency by removing stale air and recovering heat that would otherwise be lost.

Improvements to make if your EPC rating is a CĀ 

Even if your property has achieved an EPC rating of C (69-80 SAP points), there are still improvements you can make to further enhance its energy efficiency.

The good news is, around this stage, most of the hard work is usually done and the improvements you can make to bring your rating from a C to a B or an A include things like changing the equipment in your home and the bulbs that you use:

Upgrade light bulbsĀ 

Replacing traditional incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient alternatives, such as light-emitting diode (LED) or Compact Fluorescent Lamps CFL bulbs, can significantly reduce your property’s energy consumption. These bulbs use up to 90% less energy and last much longer, resulting in lower energy bills and reduced maintenance costs.

LED light bulb to improve epc
A CFL bulb in a home in the uk

Install a smart meter

Smart meters provide real-time information on energy consumption, helping occupants better understand and manage their energy usage. By installing a smart meter, you can encourage more energy-efficient behaviour and potentially reduce energy waste.

Upgrade your boilerĀ 

If your property has an old, inefficient boiler, upgrading to a modern, high-efficiency condensing boiler can significantly improve your EPC rating.

Look for boilers with an A energy efficiency rating, as they can convert more than 90% of their fuel into heat, resulting in lower energy bills and reduced carbon emissions.

Improvements in achieving an EPC rating of A

To achieve the highest EPC rating of A (92-100 SAP points), you may need to invest in more advanced energy-efficiency measures:

Install solar panels

Solar panels harness the power of the sun to generate electricity, reducing your property’s reliance on the grid and lowering energy bills. By installing a solar photovoltaic (PV) system, you can significantly improve your property’s energy efficiency and potentially achieve a higher EPC rating.

Solar panels on a house to improve epc rating

Install underfloor heatingĀ 

Underfloor heating systems provide a more even distribution of heat compared to traditional radiators, resulting in improved comfort levels and energy efficiency. These systems can be powered by electricity or a central heating system and are particularly well-suited to properties with good floor insulation.

Install air source heat pumps

Air source heat pumps are a highly efficient alternative to traditional heating systems. They work by extracting heat from the outside air and transferring it into the property, providing both heating and hot water. By installing an air source heat pump, you can significantly reduce your property’s energy consumption and improve its EPC rating.

In conclusion, improving your property’s EPC rating is a crucial step towards a more sustainable, energy-efficient future.

Air source heat pumps

By understanding the EPC rating system and implementing appropriate energy-efficiency measures, you can reduce energy bills, increase property value, comply with regulations, and contribute to a greener environment.

Whether your property has a low or high EPC rating, there are always improvements you can make to enhance its energy performance and reap the benefits of a more efficient home.

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