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EPC's Explained

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is required in Scotland whenever a property is built, sold or is being rented out. It produces an energy efficiency rating. It shows a property's energy use and typical costs and recommends how to reduce energy and save money.

Here we explain what information is shown on the EPC and break it down page by page to show what you can do to make improvements around the house to save money on your energy bills and make your home more energy efficient.

So what are EPC's for?

Their main purpose is to rate a property's performance in terms of energy use per square meter of floor area, rate the energy efficiency based on fuel costs and its environmental impact based on CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions.

This must be carried out by an approved Domestic Energy Assessor who produces the Energy Performance Certificate.

The EPC shows your current energy efficiency rating and fuel costs and the potential rating and energy bill savings that could be made if the recommended energy efficiency measures are installed.

The EPC is colour coded from green to red. The green end of the scale shows that the property is very energy efficient with lower fuel running costs however the red end of the scale reports that the fuel running costs are higher and the property is not energy efficient.

The certificate gives you an understanding of what improvements can be done, how much they will cost, and how much you can save. This can be useful when looking to improve your current property, or if you’re looking to buy a property and see what impact the recommended improvements could have. Improving the energy efficiency in a home not only lowers bills and increases comfort, it can also increase its value.

The information is very useful when renting out a property as regulations are changing. From 1st April 2016, tenants have the right to request energy efficiency improvements be made to the properties that they rent.

As from 1st April 2018, it is a legal requirement for properties being leased to have a minimum energy performance rating of E on an EPC. Landlords have to increase their energy efficiency rating or they will be unable to sign a new lease or grant a lease extension or renewal. There are huge fines applicable for failing to comply. This is in force in England and the Scottish Government is in consultation to enforce Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards.

Getting an EPC done now gives landlords time to increase their energy efficiency rating before the new measures come into force.

EPC's Explained

 A page by page look at an EPC Certificate

Page 1 - Current and potential energy costs

Page 1 of the EPC shows the estimated current and potential energy bills of your property. It shows, if you made the recommended improvements, how much less your energy bills could be. It is important to remember though that these costs are just for heating, lighting and hot water. You will still have additional costs on your bills for your appliances, tv, computers and other day to day items that you use in the home.

Energy efficiency rating

This page will be familiar to you as it is the same as the energy labels on your white goods. It shows the current energy efficiency rating (A is the best and G the worst) and it shows the potential rating that you could achieve if all the recommended energy efficiency improvements are made.

Top actions

This is a list of the top recommended energy efficiency measures that can be installed to make your property more energy efficient. It shows what the cost is to install these measures and the typical savings over 3 years. This page shows the measures that are priority however the full list of recommendations are shown on page 3 of the EPC. 

Page 2 - Performance

This page shows an assessment of the key elements of the property that have an impact on its performance rating. It describes each element such as construction, heating and windows and gives it a star rating dependent on how they perform on an energy efficiency and environmental scale. 5 star is very good and 1 star is very poor.

It is a good indicator on how the elements are performing and what you need to improve.

Low carbon energy

If a home has low or zero carbon energy technology such as solar PV or solar water heating then they will be shown here. These measures can benefit from government incentives and lower energy bills

Heat demand

This part looks at the amount of heat that the property is expected to use and how improving the insulation will reduce this. It is useful for people considering a domestic renewable heating system as there is a Home Energy Scotland loan scheme open to homeowners interested in installing greener technologies.
Please see this link for further information. http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/scotland/grants-loans/renewables/loan-scheme

Page 3 - Improvements

The recommendations are the most important section of the EPC. Here you see a breakdown of the recommended measures, the cost to install, the typical savings per year and energy and environmental rating that you would achieve after the improvements.

They are listed in order of importance, and the figures are based on doing the improvements in that order. You may not be able to do them all, or in the order listed, but it’s gives you a good guide.

The amount of recommended measures will vary, depending on what is applicable for your home. 

Improvements explained

This section gives more detailed information on the recommended measures which is useful when deciding which to install.

The lower cost measures that can be easy to install would be the best place to start. This section gives advice on the depth of loft insulation required to significantly reduce heat loss thereby improving comfort levels, reduce energy use and lower fuel bills.

Installing low energy lighting reduces lighting costs as they last 12 times longer than ordinary bulbs.

Both these measures can be done as DIY projects and are relatively cheap to install.

Alternative measures

This section also gives further details on the measures that could deliver higher energy efficiency in your home.

Solar PV Panels and solar water heating significantly reduced demand on the heating system to reduce fuel and save money. They are more expensive to install however the savings that can be achieved are shown in the recommendations panel and there are government loans that can be applied for to help to install these measures.

This section shows other energy efficiency measures that could deliver even higher standards for the home. They are alternatives to investigate on top of the recommended measures. It can show innovative technologies like wind turbines, ground source heap pumps and air source heat pumps.

For more information please see the link http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/scotland/grants-loans/renewables/loan-scheme

Page 4 - Assessors information

The final page of the EPC shows the details of the assessor, the accreditation body, if there is any related party disclosure and the date of the assessment.

General information

This section gives you information on buildings impact on the environment. It shows what carbon dioxide emissions your property produces as opposed to the average household. It shows your current rating of emissions and the potential rating if energy efficiency measures are installed. The CO2 emissions can be reduced further by installing renewable energy sources.

With a greater knowledge of climate change and the new regulations and measures being introduced it is important to understand the current environmental impact your property is having to enable you to make the necessary improvements. As well as comfort, improving your energy efficiency measures will give you a better rating, making it more appealing if you wish to sell or rent out your property.

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