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What is an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?

An Energy Performance Certificate, commonly known as an EPC, is an essential document that provides detailed information about the energy efficiency of a property. It uses a scale from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) to rate the building. An EPC includes recommendations on ways to improve the property’s energy efficiency, which can lead to reduced energy costs and a lower carbon footprint. Initially introduced in England and Wales in 2007 as part of the Home Information Packs for domestic properties, its scope has since expanded and now plays a crucial role in the real estate market across the UK, including Middlesbrough.

 

Benefits of an EPC for Property Owners

Owning a property with a high EPC rating in Middlesbrough brings several significant benefits:

  1. Reduced Energy Bills: The primary advantage of a high EPC rating is the potential for lower energy costs. Energy-efficient homes require less energy for heating, cooling, and lighting, which directly translates to savings on utility bills.
  2. Increased Property Value: Properties with better energy efficiency often attract a premium. Prospective buyers are increasingly aware of the long-term savings offered by energy-efficient homes, making these properties more desirable in the competitive property market.
  3. Environmental Impact: By reducing energy consumption, homeowners contribute to lower carbon emissions, aligning with broader environmental goals and regulations.
  4. Better Living Conditions: Energy-efficient homes often benefit from better insulation, leading to a more comfortable living environment with fewer drafts and more consistent temperatures throughout the year.

 

Upgrades Property Owners Can Make

Improving a property’s EPC rating not only benefits the environment but can also enhance the property’s appeal and value. Here are some upgrades property owners can consider:

  1. Insulation: Adding or improving insulation in the loft, walls, and floors can significantly reduce heat loss.
  2. Heating System Upgrades: Replacing an old boiler with a more efficient model or installing a heat pump can improve heating efficiency and reduce costs.
  3. Double Glazing: Installing double-glazed windows helps retain heat and reduce noise, making the property more energy-efficient and comfortable.
  4. Solar Panels: Solar panels can generate renewable energy, reducing reliance on the grid and lowering electricity bills.
  5. LED Lighting: Switching to LED lighting can reduce energy consumption for lighting by up to 90%.

 

Government Regulations

The UK government has introduced several regulations to improve the energy efficiency of buildings. Notably, since April 2018, landlords in England and Wales must ensure their properties reach at least an E rating on their EPC before granting a new tenancy to new or existing tenants. This regulation underscores the government’s commitment to reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions across the housing stock.

Future regulations are set to be even stricter, with proposals aiming to raise the minimum EPC rating for rental properties to a C by 2025 for new tenancies and by 2028 for all tenancies. These measures indicate a clear governmental drive towards greener, more sustainable housing.

 

Why Homeowners and Landlords Need an EPC

In Middlesbrough, as in the rest of the UK, obtaining an EPC is a legal requirement when selling or renting out a property. The certificate offers a snapshot of the property’s energy performance and potential, providing valuable insights to buyers and tenants about the likely energy demands and costs associated with the property.

For landlords, the importance of an EPC extends beyond legal compliance. A property with a good EPC rating is more attractive to prospective tenants who are increasingly looking for homes with lower energy costs and environmental impact. Furthermore, failing to meet the required EPC standards can result in fines and restrictions on renting out the property, emphasising the need for landlords to invest in energy efficiency improvements.

Moreover, with the growing awareness of environmental issues and the increasing cost of energy, prospective buyers and tenants are becoming more discerning, often considering the EPC rating as a critical factor in their decision-making process. This shift in consumer priorities means that properties with higher EPC ratings are likely to be in higher demand, potentially commanding higher rents and sale prices.

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Adding solar panels to a property is likely to improve its Energy Performance Certificate rating because solar panels generate renewable energy, reducing the property’s reliance on non-renewable energy sources and decreasing its carbon emissions. The improvement in the EPC rating will depend on the size and efficiency of the solar panel system relative to the property’s energy needs. Solar panels are especially effective in enhancing EPC ratings for properties that consume a lot of electricity, as they can significantly offset energy use with clean, renewable power.

In EPC assessments, the installation of triple glazing can provide a greater improvement in energy efficiency ratings compared to double glazing due to the additional layer of glass and insulating gas, which further reduces heat loss and external noise. Triple glazing is particularly beneficial in colder climates where heat retention is crucial. However, the incremental benefit in the EPC rating when upgrading from double to triple glazing may not be as significant as the initial upgrade from single to double glazing, given diminishing returns in insulation improvement. The specific impact on the EPC rating also depends on other factors such as the property’s overall insulation and energy efficiency.

The orientation of a property can influence its EPC rating because it affects natural light and heat gain. A south-facing property, for example, can benefit from more sunlight during the day, potentially reducing the need for artificial lighting and heating, which can improve energy efficiency. During the assessment, the EPC assessor considers the property’s orientation as part of the overall evaluation of its energy performance. However, orientation is just one of many factors assessed, and its impact on the final EPC rating varies depending on the property’s design, insulation, and other energy efficiency features.

A property’s EPC rating can indeed affect its eligibility for green finance products, such as green mortgages or loans for energy efficiency improvements. Many financial institutions offer preferential rates or terms for properties with higher EPC ratings, recognising them as lower risk and more aligned with sustainability goals. Properties with higher EPC ratings are often more attractive to lenders because they are likely to have lower operating costs and be more resilient to future increases in energy prices. Property owners should check with lenders for specific eligibility criteria related to EPC ratings when considering green finance options.

What to expect when a Domestic Energy Assessor comes to your property

Every Domestic Energy Assessor / DEA will have their own order and format of carrying out the EPC depending on the software that they use and their personal preference to efficiency.

Frequently Asked Questions

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