Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
Energy Performance Certificates are an evaluation of the energy efficiency of a building. EPC’s can be produced by a qualified domestic or commercial Energy Assessor, who carry out a visual inspection of a building to collect and collate evidence of the building energy performance. This process is non-invasive and recognises only that which can be evidenced. For example, an energy performance certificate will not say that a building is awesomely energy efficient because the owner is planning or intends to install solar panels, a wind turbine and wall insulation! The EPC will reflect the building in its current state on the day of the survey.
The completed certificate will show the relative efficiency of the building as a whole as well as some of the main components of the building, for example the roof space, wall and floor. There will be a list of suggestions of where improvements can be made and on average how much one can expect to save based on the average household consumption of energy in the UK.
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In Scotland, you must display the EPC somewhere in the property, for example in the meter cupboard or next to the boiler.
The EPC is a result of European Union Directive 2002/91/EC relating to the energy performance of buildings. All EU member states have some form of EPC that is produced for a building, an example of this being the BER report in Ireland or the EP rating in Poland.
EPCs for homes were first introduced in 2007 as part of HIPs (Home Information Packs) for domestic properties.
Information Provided by EPC
An EPC is valid for 10 years. The certificate essentially displays the energy efficiency of your property on a scale of A to G. Band A signifies the highest rating and the most efficient homes and G the lowest rating. The average property in the UK is in band D.
An EPC also enlists various ways to improve your rating, which can include floor, loft and wall insulation, double glazing and heating systems etc.
See an example of an EPC below:
From the sample EPC report above, the recommendation for loft insulation up to a minimum of 270mm depth could save £141 over a three-year period typically. It is important to note at this stage though that even though there is a suggestion that this may be available on a Green Deal Plan, as of July 2015 no more Green Deal Plans are being produced. The current government have intonated that they will seek a more cost effective way of meeting carbon reduction and fuel poverty reduction targets though no details of this plan are yet available.
Limitations of an EPC
An EPC is produced using software called Reduced Data Standard Assessment Procedure (RdSAP). As the name suggests there is a limited amount of data that can be collected by an energy assessor when they are creating an EPC report.
An example of this can be seen in the case of glazing. Glazing can be single, double, secondary or even triple though in each case they can quite possibly be in a complete state of disrepair. This unfortunately is not reflected in the EPC, the assessor only has room to identify the type of glazing. This you may say would lead to misleading results. That’s true to an extent, though bear in mind that this is a standardised assessment procedure, most building will have most of the elements contained in an EPC assessment but perhaps not all of them, the EPC is not an in depth idiosyncratic look to the very last detail at the energy performance of a given building. That is where the assessor comes in and should be able to offer some advice of making improvements to the energy efficiency of the building.
At this stage another thing worth mentioning, in the case of glazing, is that elements of the building structure are weighed differently, for example, glazing has a smaller impact on the overall efficiency that wall or roof insulation for example, so you will find that any recommendation for replacement glazing will be placed lower in the list of recommendations than the before mentioned measures.
The EPC is a relative measure it is not the gospel. It should be used as a guide. Anyone buying or renting should take this into consideration when consulting the EPC.
One of the other concerns with the accuracy of an EPC is related to the fact that it is a visual inspection. The assessor must see what is present. This can manifest as a bit of an issue in houses that have been insulated but there is no way of evidencing the insulation or the quality/depth of it. A wall which has had cavity wall insulation installed and then freshly re-roughcast presents a bit of an issue if a completion certificate has not been issued. Properties with internal wall insulation have the same issue. From the assessors point of view the big question is ‘can this be evidenced?’
When do you get an EPC?
As per regulations, you should obtain an Energy Performance Certificate under the following conditions:
- When you are considering buying a residential property, you should be provided with an EPC.
- If you are considering renting a property, you should get an EPC from the landlord. It should also be noted that you don’t really require an EPC when you’re planning to rent a room along with shared facilities.
- For various government schemes like the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme and EPC will be required
The EPC is provided for in order to provide as much information to a prospective buyer of a building regarding the anticipated running costs and where improvements can be made.
We hope you have found the information above useful, do you still have any questions regarding Energy Performance Certificates? Why not drop us an email and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!
If you require an EPC, contact us at Green Energy Scotland and we will happily book you in for one of our qualified energy assessors to visit you soon.
Green Energy Scotland cater both for the domestic and commercial sectors. As accredited and experienced energy assessors we can offer excellent value for money on energy reports either for your home or business.
This doesn’t stop here however. The energy solutions we offer will depend on a number of factors, not necessarily aiming for the same goals. In business it is important for owners and shareholders that running costs are kept low. There are a variety of energy solutions which can help achieve this aim from changing the heating system, changing lighting and improving the building fabric through insulation. We understand that for any business information is key and with our detailed reports and feedback you can be assured you know where you stand.
Are you looking for Domestic or Commercial EPC assessment? We can help! Get in touch via our contact form or call us directly at: 0141 404 5819
The domestic EPC offers a method of measuring the energy efficiency of domestic dwellings whilst offering advice on the possible areas of improvement form an energy perspective.
The rating system is slightly different to the commercial side with a higher number indicating more energy efficienct. Common recommendations to be found on a typical EPC include wall insulation, loft and floor insulation, boiler replacement and the installation of low energy lights.
The software used to create a domestic EPC is called RdSAP (Reduced data Standard Assessment Procedure). This process of assessing the efficiency of a domestic building should only be used for existing dwellings. Assessments of the energy efficiency of new builds require the use of SAP software (Standard Assessment Procedure) which does not allow for as many assumptions as the RdSAP version.
A commercial assessment is conducted using the SBEM software (Standardised Building Energy Management).
The commercial energy assessment will assess the energy efficiency of your building and make recommendations in terms of short, medium and long term investments. The investments that everyone likes of course are the ones which pay of quickest, low input cost with high return. Things like LED lights will make a difference immediately to the energy bill, particularly for businesses that must have light on most of the time. Other favourites include insulation, in particular loft/roof space insulation where the cost of install is relatively low with high anticipated savings over the lifetime of the measure. It is no coincidence that in order to meet its carbon reduction obligations the big energy companies through the CERT scheme offered free loft insulation, the expected carbon reductions are high with low input costs, lower labour costs due to the relatively lower level of skill required as compared to measures like boiler replacement or window replacement
Longer term investments include Solar PV packages, changing heaters and replacing glazing. Notes that glazing is one of the less cost effective measures down to the high upfront cost and long term payoff.
This is a more complex process than a domestic energy assessment with more emphasis placed on the use of different parts of a given building. Building components which contribute to energy consumption for the purpose of space conditioning and water heating include the fabric of the building, use of heating system, glazing, presence of renewable technology and importantly the different activities being carried out in different ‘zones’ of the building.
Green Energy Scotland offers services to the commercial sector including heating installation, consultation and installation of other energy efficiency improvement measures like wall insulation and lighting. To find out more please contact our team and we will be happy to help.