How To Improve Your Energy Efficiency

What is an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?

Energy Performance Certificates, or EPCs, are ratings provided to indicate the energy efficiency of building and structures in the European Union. The most common use of EPCs is for buying and selling properties, as it provides an indicator of how energy efficient the home or property is and can be used to estimate how much residents are likely to pay for their energy bills.

EPCs are valid for 10 years from the date of issue, so if you are looking to rent or sell a property you will need to ensure your EPC has not expired. You can check the EPC of any property using the EPC register website (provided the owner has not opted out of the register).

 

What is a good EPC rating?

EPC ratings are given on a banded scale from A to G, with the most energy efficient buildings being graded in band A. Properties must meet a certain number of SAP (Standard Assessment Procedure) points for each band. On average, UK properties tend to fall into bands D and E, usually due to the fact that the properties are older and do not contain any retrofitted energy saving appliances. Therefore most households have a sizeable opportunity to improve their rating.

 

How is EPC calculated?

A building’s EPC rating is based on the presence and performance of several features including, but not limited to, loft insulation, radiators, boilers, double glazed windows, and hot water tanks. An assessor will visit the property in question, make notes about these factors, and these notes are used to generate the energy efficiency rating. Ultimately, an efficiency rating is given based on how much energy a building uses, and the CO2 emissions it produces.

 

Why improve your EPC rating?

Improving your EPC by making your property more energy efficient will contribute towards lower running costs. Your EPC certificate will contain an estimate of ‘potential future savings’ you could make by improving your home’s energy efficiency. Of course you’ll need to balance these savings against the cost of making the improvements, but many houses could stand to make significant savings by making small tweaks. As you’ll need to provide a valid EPC when renting or selling your house, making improvements to your energy efficiency will likely be reflected in the value of your property. At the very least, a higher EPC rating gives prospective buyers less material to haggle on price with.

 

Can smart meters help with energy efficiency?

 

The UK government is rolling out Smart Meters across the UK and is aiming to complete the process by 2020. Smart meters have many benefits, not least removing the need for taking manual meter readings. Smart meters also provide a display in your which allows you to monitor your energy usage and associated costs, meaning you are better informed about your energy expenditure. As a result, you’ll be able to identify areas of poor energy efficiency and manage them more effectively.

 

How can I improve my energy efficiency rating?

Your Energy Performance Certificate will contain a summary of the home’s energy performed related features, along with a grading system for each feature. The certificate will also contain some recommended measures for improving your property, including indicative costs and typical savings over the course of a 3 year period. While these measures will differ from property to property, we’ve provided an overview of some of the most common energy saving measures that property owners can take to improve their energy efficiency rating.

    • Make use of high performance insulation in your roof and walls to prevent heat loss. Investing in thick curtains to cover drafty windows is also advised to reduce heat being lost here too.
    • Consider replacing your draft doors and windows with something more robust. Double glazing should be installed as a minimum, and you could even consider triple glazing where necessary.
    • Make use of LED lighting by switching to energy saving light bulbs. This is one of the cheapest ways to be more energy efficient, and can have a significant impact on your electricity usage.
    • Switch to a condensing boiler. Switching to a condensing boiler will significantly reduce your energy bills and contribute to a lower carbon footprint, saving you money whilst saving the planet!
    • Update your appliances in general. Many households are still operating using electrical appliances from as much as 20 years ago. While they may have been state of the art at the time, modern day appliance have long since outstripped them in both performance and energy efficiency.
    • Consider investing in solar panels. While for the majority of people solar panels are considered to be a significant investment, the savings made after installation can cover the initial cost in a little as 7 years. In some cases, households are even able to sell their solar power back to the National Grid using what’s called a Feed-In Tariff.
    • Switch to a cheaper energy tariff. Many people find that they are overpaying for their energy usage out of loyalty to their existing provider. Robin Hood Energy has a wide range of tariffs available so there is something to suit every household. Get a quote online and find out how much you could be saving.

     

    While these are some of the bigger steps property owners can take to upgrade dwellings, there are also many other day to day energy saving tips which can help to cut your home energy bills.