Will the EPC Changes Cause Damage to our Commitment to Climate Change?
Written on 9 February 2022 by
With the ongoing focus regarding green mortgages and the benefits supporting households buying and building sustainably, it only leads to questioning the recent Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) changes.
The changes to legislation impact landlord requirements for homes, calling for them to have an EPC rating of C of above for new tenants in 2025, and for existing tenants until 2028.
This may raise the question, what is an EPC? And more importantly, what can it tell us about our homes moving forward?
When Were EPCs Introduced?
EPCs were introduced in England and Wales on 1 August 2007, as part of Home Information Packs (HIPs) for domestic properties with four or more bedrooms. When the requirement for HIPs was removed in May 2010, the requirement for EPCs continued.
What Do EPCs Show?
An EPC lasts for 10 years and provides an A-G scale of the energy efficiency of your home. “A” being the most efficient have the lowest costs and are typically associated with a new build property.
EPC’s also show recommendations on ways to improve the home’s energy efficiency to save money. Factors such as double glazing, lights, loft insulation and solar panels to name a few. Whilst the recommendations will help you save money in the long run, the cost of implementing these changes can be a large factor.
How Are EPC Ratings Assessed?
The UK has some of the oldest building stock in Europe, with 36% of UK homes built before 1945 and at least 75% predicted to still be in use in 2050.
With that in mind, EPCs are generalised and do not consider the effects or the appropriateness of the housing stock the UK caters. An example being, EPCs doesn’t consider older building that may have equivalent forms of efficiency, such as traditional internal shutters.
EPC recommendations also may be inadequate for UK homes, adding insulation to solid stone walls can trap moisture inside.
Spec complied a report on the inaccuracies in how EPCs are calculated and assessed.
The techniques to measure floor space can have a significant impact on the accuracy of EPCs. The problem, Spec explained, ‘tens of thousands of landlords may be unwittingly breaking the law’.
The research also claimed to highlight the limitations of the old-fashioned measurement techniques of most Domestic Energy Assessors, with the average discrepancy in property area coming in at 8.6% (or 87sqft).
According to the findings, one in four EPCs record the size of a property so inaccurately that it varies by more than 10% from the true size of the property.
Anthony Browne, senior adviser to Spec, “Our study reveals that it’s not really a case of if your EPC is measured inaccurately, but how much it is measured inaccurately.”
“Inaccurate EPCs present serious challenges and risks not only to property professionals, consumers and estate agents - but also the environment.”
“It means tens of thousands of landlords are unwittingly renting out their properties, opening them up to the risk of fines of thousands of pounds through no fault of their own,” he said.
What's the Issue?
The main issue is that EPCs estimates the cost of energy, not the carbon impact.
Most costs associated in improving the home cost tens of thousands and will pay for themselves decades into the future. Also, possible improvements, such as fuel switch can improve an EPC rating whilst increasing carbon emission. Contrary to what we are trying to improve.
Putting a focus on making our homes more efficient is a positive step forward.
We only need to take a look at escalating energy prices to understand that making our homes more efficient could benefit us all, and in tail lower household bills.
But, if we are indeed going to make improvements, we need to equally act responsible in how we measure and question the very thing at the heart of our decision making.
If you still have questions regarding EPC ratings or how to make your home more energy efficient to sell, please get in touch on 0330 433 2927 and one of our advisers can talk you through everything.