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  1. Blog
  2. How to improve your EPC rating
Add value to your home
15 December 2020

How to improve your EPC rating

Rosie Hamilton
Writer & Researcher
three light bulbs hanging in front of a blue sky with clouds

Table of contents

  1. 1. How to improve your EPC rating
  2. 2. What is an EPC rating?
  3. 3. EPC rating bands explained
  4. 4. What is a good EPC rating?
  5. 5. How is your EPC rating calculated?
  6. 6. Benefits of improving your property's EPC rating
  7. 7. How to prepare for your EPC assessment
  8. 8. See if your EPC rating is up to date
  9. 9. FAQs

Updated 4th May 2022

Your energy performance certificate (EPC) shows how energy efficient, and environmentally friendly your home is - and how expensive your utilities bills are likely to be.

How to improve your EPC rating

If you're keen to get the best EPC rating possible, the best way to improve your EPC rating is to make upgrades, improvements and adjustments to your home's energy set up before the EPC inspector comes to call.

Below we list some of the top ways you can boost your property's EPC rating - and give our verdict on whether they are actually worth doing if you're planning on moving house soon. You will generally want to focus on the improvements that will have a significant impact vs the cost.

Remember, these changes will have to provide a genuine upgrade to your home's energy efficiency in order to improve your EPC score. Simply replacing already functional insulation or double glazing won’t make a difference, you may need to make some significant improvements. There are also lots of other improvements you can make that will be based on your specific property so make sure you check the amount of heat you're using, what your current bills are and any spots in the house you think may be running inefficiently.

For most people though - here's how to make a difference and improve your EPC rating.

7 best ways to improve your EPC rating:

1. Improve your loft Insulation

  • Cost: £100-£400
  • Improves EPC rating by: 10-15 points
  • Overall: Worth it

If your roof is not insulated, you can be losing a huge 25% of your home’s heat through it. In order to counter this - and make your home more efficient - it’s recommended that you have loft insulation at least 270mm thick.

Loft insulation comes in a variety of materials including: fibreglass, mineral wool, cellulose, or, sheep’s wool. These are commonly bought in rolls which are easy to install by laying out between and over the joists in your attic.

For a roll of around 8 metres squared, you can find insulation for as little as £20. This means you can insulate a small loft space yourself for less than £100.

If you prefer to hire a professional, installing insulation will take about a day, and usually cost about £400.

If you have no previous loft insulation, installing material 270mm thick can improve your EPC rating by 10-15 points but its also worth checking your existing insulation.

2. Improve your wall Insulation

  • Cost: £500-£22,000
  • Improves EPC rating by: 5-20 points
  • Overall: Consider it

In the same way that your home loses a lot of heat through its roof, it’s also losing heat through its walls. The reason there is such a disparity in costs is because the type of walls you have can make a huge difference to the amount of work involved.

Cavity wall insulation is cheaper, as it involves filling in a gap that is already there. This makes it easier and less disruptive to install. This type of insulation can improve your EPC rating by 5-10 points.

Insulating solid walls is more difficult and disruptive, and considerably more expensive. But the improvement to your EPC rating that solid wall insulation will have is much greater. Heat passes through solid material at a faster speed than through a gap, so solid walls lose heat more quickly than with cavity walls.

If you have solid walls, just insulating the external walls could be a good compromise. The insulation can be applied with minimal disruption to the household, and won’t reduce the floor area of your home.

You might also be able to apply for help with the costs of wall insulation. Search for grants available in your postcode on the Energy Saving Trust’s website.

3. Install double glazing or upgrade to triple glazing

Double glazing installation on house

  • Cost: £2,000-£5,000
  • Improves EPC rating by: 5-10 points
  • Overall: Probably not worth it

Older windows can be responsible for up to 30% of heat loss in your house. But, because they only cover a small surface area of your walls, installing double glazing has a smaller - though not insignificant - impact on your EPC rating than installing wall insulation.

Going from single glazing to double glazing could add to your EPC rating by 5-10 points, but will cost about £250 to £400 per window. Triple glazed windows will deliver even more energy saving improvements. Double or triple glazed windows are both great options that will improve your rating and the temperature in your house.

However, simply replacing or upgrading any double glazed windows will not improve your EPC rating - you need to be upgrading from single glazing to double or triple glazing. Draught proofing windows and doors will also help.

4. Replace existing lighting with LED light bulbs

Interior Lighting

  • Cost: £50-150
  • Improves EPC rating by: 1-5 points
  • Overall: Consider it

Replacing old halogen or incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient LED bulbs has a fairly small impact on your EPC rating - probably adding about 1 or 2 points. But if you’re on the border, this can make the key difference really quite cheaply. Energy efficient lighting is becoming more readily avaliable and is coming down in price too.

5. Upgrade your old boiler

Copper Retro Boiler

  • Cost: Varies
  • Improves EPC rating by: Up to 40 points
  • Overall: Consider it

A new boiler can increase an EPC score by as much as 40 points for about £1,000 - £3,000. So, although it is a substantial investment, if your old inefficient boiler is dragging down your score, replacing it with a newer more efficient boiler model may be an investment worth looking into to make your home more appealing to potential buyers as well as driving down heating costs. You may want to look into ground source heat pumps if you want to improve the heating across your property even further. If you have the budget it's worth looking into an efficient secondary heating source for the long term. Smart meters will help you to monitor you energy usage too but won't directly impact your score. Having a modern efficent heating system will lower the running costs of your house and is a key pillar to your overall epc rating.

6. Add a Hot Water Cylinder Jacket

  • Cost: £20-£50
  • Improves EPC rating by: 1-5 points
  • Overall: Worth it

If you live in a particularly old property, a more cost effective way of targeting the failings of your old boiler is to insulate your hot water tank. Some suggest that a well insulated hot water tank can be just as efficient as a combi boiler. Although it won’t increase your rating by 40 points, you’ll still get a boost from reducing the heat lost from the water tank. (And it's a much, much cheaper upgrade.)

The modern standard for insulation is around 50mm of factory foam or 80mm of loose jacket insulation. You might also want to consider ‘lagging’ your pipes too.

7. Install Renewable Energy

father and son playing football outside a house with solar panels

  • Cost: £1,500+
  • Improves EPC rating by: 5-20 points
  • Overall: Probably not worth it

If you’ve done absolutely everything to improve your EPC score, then installing a renewable energy system is the best way to dramatically increase an EPC rating. Solar energy will make your home more efficient and more environmentally friendly too. There are many grants being offered by local councils to help cover the cost of installing solar panels too.

Larger solar panel electricity systems (also known as photovoltaics or PV) will have the largest impact on your EPC rating. Solar thermal systems will have a smaller effect as installing solar panels.

However, if you’re looking to sell soon, the likely return on investment - not to mention the disruption caused by installation - is not worth the improvement in EPC score. This is a long term investment to make on a home you are going to keep for a number of years.

If you’re at the point that renewable energy is the only improvement you can make to your EPC score, it's likely you already have a very efficient household.

What is an EPC rating?

EPC stands for ‘Energy Performance Certificate’. You have to get one of these if you decide to put your home up for sale, or if you want to rent your property out. An EPC rating is the score you get based on your home's energy efficiency. You can read everything you need to know about EPCs here.

These certificates include two main charts. One shows your home's ‘energy efficiency rating’ and the other its ‘environmental impact rating’. For each of these criteria, you will be shown your home's current rating, and it's potential rating.

There will also be a list of recommendations included showing ways you can improve your home's energy efficiency. The potential rating is the estimated energy performance of your home if you make all of these changes.

An EPC certificate can only be issued once an inspection has taken place. Assessments take about 2 hours to complete, and must be carried out by an accredited official.

Once you’ve had an assessment your energy performance certificate will be valid for 10 years. But, you should consider a reassessment if you’ve made any improvements or upgrades that could have made your home more energy efficient since your last certificate was issued.

You can check here whether your home’s EPC is still valid, or get an instant quote for a new assessment:

Does my house already have an EPC?

EPCs are valid for 10 years, and you can use the one purchased by the previous owner.
So, you may have an EPC and not know it!

EPC rating bands explained

EPC - Energy efficiency rating bands table

You will see these rating bands on your epc certificate, this is what each EPC rating band means:

EPC Rating BandSAP PointsWhat it means - Efficiency
A92-100Most efficient
B81-91More efficient
C69-80Above Average
D55-68Average
E39-54Below Average
F21-38Not as efficent
G1-20Least efficient

What is a good EPC rating?

A good EPC rating is anything above a B. The best energy performance rating is ‘A’, which means a property has an efficiency score of between 92-100. The closer you can get to this score, the better!

However, most properties aren’t this energy efficient. The average rating for a property in the UK is ‘D’ - meaning they have an energy rating between 55-68.

As a general rule, you should expect newer properties to have better ratings (and cheaper energy bills) than older homes. This is because minimum energy efficiency standards builders have to meet have been steadily increasing - as has the affordability of installing energy saving measures.

How is your EPC rating calculated?

EPC Check Results Example Your EPC rating is based on how much energy is used per m² in your property. They will look at factors including:

  1. The energy efficiency of your propery based on your estimated fuel costs and energy bills
  2. The impact of your CO2 emmissions (carbon dioxide)

Benefits of improving your property's EPC rating

Why should you improve your EPC rating? There are multiple benefits to having a better EPC rating.

  • A higher energy performance rating shows buyers that they won’t have to pay huge amounts to run your home.
  • This means that a higher EPC rating can improve the value of your home
  • A beter rating makes it a more attractive prospect for potential buyers and is a key part of the house selling process.
  • A higher EPC rating is also particularly appealing to buyers looking to buy a property to rent out.
  • As of 1st April 2018 it became a requirement for any property newly put on the private rental market to have an minimum epc rating, or energy performance rating of ‘E’. This minimum requirement was extended to all existing tenancies on 1st April 2020.

Making a few changes can significantly improve your score and help you save money.

How to prepare for your EPC assessment

In order to get an EPC issued, an accredited assessor will have to come to your property to check out all the features that contribute to your home's energy performance. The best thing you can do to prepare for their visit is to ensure that they are able to access everything they need to as easily as possible. And, if you have any relevant information about your home's energy efficiency, it can be useful to have this ready to show to the assessor.

  1. Think about access

The EPC assessor is going to need to check all your light fittings, radiators, windows, and heating controls. Make sure that they will be able to access these areas easily. This might mean rearranging some furniture, or ensuring that they can walk into spare rooms, or cellars you may not regularly use.

  1. Have useful documents to hand

EPC assessments are non-invasive. For example, the assessor won’t drill holes in your walls, or look under the floorboards to check what type of insulation you have. This means that they will have to make assumptions based on the age and size of your property. However, if you can provide written proof that you’ve had certain improvements made, they will be able to factor these into your EPC rating.

Have any insulation installation receipts, window glazing certificates (eg. a FENSA), and the handbook for your boiler to hand so they are ready to be shown to the inspector.

For more advice on preparing your home for sale check out our handy guide.

See if your EPC rating is up to date

Need an EPC? You can check here whether your home’s EPC is still valid, or get an instant quote for a new assessment here.

FAQs

What do the two ratings on my EPC mean?

EPC: Your home on the C02 Chart The two ratings on your certificate show:

  1. Your current rating
  2. Your potential rating you could achieve by making improvements.

What is the impact of my EPC score?

  • A higher rating will mean your house is more energy efficient, your bills are likely to be lower and you are having a lower impact on the environment, great for the eco concious.
  • A poor epc rating means there are multiple things to improve in your home and you're likely to have higher energy costs than similar properties.

If you have a smart meter you'll be able to see the before and after costs while you run your home day to day that the energy efficiency improvements have made.

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