Here are our top tips to make your home more energy efficient
Horton and Garton are increasingly asked by sellers what steps they should take when considering how to improve EPC ratings.
In this blog, Paul Cooney, Director of the Horton and Garton Chiswick office, shares useful information on EPCs and top tips for making your home more energy efficient.
What is an EPC?
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is used to measure a property’s energy efficiency.
The EPC will include information regarding the property’s energy usage and costs likely to be incurred together with recommendations for improvements that could reduce bills and make the property more efficient.
Sellers have to provide this certificate to potential buyers, so an EPC must be completed prior to the property being marketed.
How long is an EPC valid for?
An EPC is valid for 10 years.
Who does an EPC?
An EPC is carried out by an accredited energy assessor. They will access all of the rooms in a property and the loft, they inspect heating systems and take measurements and photographs of key information included in the survey.
Unlike a building survey, an EPC is not invasive, it is purely a visual inspection of a property to establish its energy efficiency.
What is a good EPC rating?
The efficiency is measured using a scale of A-G, each letter applicable depending on a score out of 100.
A is the best possible score, these homes will be incredibly efficient, have less impact on the environment and will enjoy low fuel bills.
A property with an A rating will have a score between 92 – 100, a property with a G rating, the lowest possible score, will have a rating between 1 – 20 points.
How do I increase my EPC rating?
Here are some top tips for how to improve EPC rating and make a home more energy efficient.
Replace the windows
Single glazed poorly insulated windows have been said to account for up to 40% of heat loss from a home meaning upgrading windows can significantly improve an EPC rating.
Install better insulation
If you have one, improving loft insulation is perhaps one of the cheapest and easiest ways to boost your EPC rating.
Cavity walls should also be appropriately insulated so be sure to check. If a property has solid walls the EPC rating is typically lower, it is possible to improve this by insulating solid walls internally or externally though this is one of the more expensive actions to take in a bid to improve your EPC rating – it can significantly change the score given to the property so in certain cases is worth considering.
Should the property have a hot water cylinder it’s important to make sure there is adequate insulation around the tank.
Switch to LED Bulbs
Not only do LED bulbs last much longer but they’re more efficient – this easy switch is well worth doing.
Replace the old boiler
Heating is reportedly accountable for over half of a home’s energy costs meaning an inefficient boiler could be having a hugely negative impact. Replacing an old boiler with a modern A-rated one will reduce bills and boost an EPC rating.
Consider renewable energy sources
If it’s a possibility, renewable energy sources such as solar panels, ground-source heat pumps and biomass boilers can significantly improve an EPC rating. Homes that achieve an A rating will usually have a renewable energy source.
Seal open chimneys
Open fires are beautiful features that many properties in Chiswick do have but if they’re not in use it’s a good idea to block them or install a closed heater in the space instead.
Often overlooked by sellers, it might be the case that when they bought the property the previous owner had installed additional energy efficient factors that would boost an EPC rating.
Whether installed by yourself, the current owner, or a previous owner, if these features are not easily accessible, the EPC assessor cannot include them in the score meaning obtaining documentation to prove work has been carried out is necessary. Have such documents available for the EPC assessor when they visit the property.
What about listed homes or those in conservation areas?
In Chiswick there are many older homes and these typically require more attention to boost the EPC rating.
There is also the additional consideration that many Chiswick houses are located within conservation areas, such as Bedford Park, meaning changes made must be sympathetic and in line with the guidance for the area.
Listed buildings do not need an EPC but can be evaluated to ascertain what is possible to improve energy efficiency. The government recommends owners of listed properties take advice from their local authority conservation officer regarding any planned works.
Does EPC affect house price?
Undoubtedly a poor EPC rating will affect the house price, buyers will often view a home with a low rating less favourably.
Many homeowners actively take steps to improve their property’s energy efficiency throughout their time living in a home when a new technology is released or more cost-effective way to enhance the property becomes available.
There are some elements that are not always considered that can improve a rating – something so simple as switching the lightbulbs!
It’s always advisable for sellers to take the steps that they are able to, to improve an EPC rating, prior to putting a property on the market as potential buyers will need to consider the costs involved to improve the property’s energy efficiency themselves.
At Horton and Garton we work with a group of professionals who carry out EPC assessments in the instance that a property does not have a valid certificate in place.
It’s often the case that a property might have been altered and improved by the current owner meaning when it’s time to sell it can be worth having a new EPC carried out to ensure the rating is accurate.
To talk to Paul about the steps taken when preparing your home for sale please do get in touch, we’d be happy to discuss the process of selling property in Chiswick and answer any questions you might have regarding the current guidelines that must be adhered to.