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Having a higher EPC rating can improve the value of your home, and make it a more attractive prospect for potential buyers. Your EPC rating shows how energy efficient, and environmentally friendly your home is - and more pragmatically, how expensive your utilities bills are. A higher EPC rating shows buyers that they won’t have to pay huge amounts to run your home.
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 energy performance rating of ‘E’. This requirement will be extended to all existing tenancies on 1st April 2020.
What is an EPC rating?
EPC stands for ‘Energy Performance Certificate’. Your certificate will have two main charts. One will show your home’s ‘energy efficiency rating’ and the other its ‘environmental impact rating’. Each of these will show both your home’s current rating and it’s potential rating. The potential rating is based on what can be achieved by implementing the recommendations made by your assessor.
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 EPC will be valid for 10 years. But, you should consider a reassessment if you’ve made any improvements or upgrades that could impact your rating.
Ways to increase your EPC rating
Here are some of the key ways you can boost your EPC rating, (and whether they are actually worth doing if you’re moving house).
Remember, these changes will have to be a genuine upgrade in order to improve your EPC score. Simply replacing already functional insulation or double glazing won’t make a difference.
£100-£400 / 10-15 points / 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 can be laid 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.
£500-£22,000 / 5-20 points / Consider me
- 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 will involve minimal disruption and 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 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.
£2,000-£5,000 / 5-10 points / 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 increase your score by 5-10 points, but will cost about £250 to £400 per window.
- Just replacing currently installed double glazing will not improve your EPC rating
LED Light bulbs
£50-150 / 1-5 points / Consider me
- Replacing old halogen or incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient LEDs 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.
Upgrading Your Boiler
Varies / Up to 20 points / Consider me
- A new boiler can increase an EPC score by as much as 20 points for about £1,000 - £3,000. So, although it is a substantial investment, if your old boiler is dragging down your score, it may be an investment worth looking into to make your home more appealing to potential buyers.
Hot Water Cylinder Jacket
£20-£50 / 1-5 points / Worth it
- If you live in a particularly old property, a 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. Consider ‘lagging’ your pipes too.
£1,500+ / 5-20 points / 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.
- 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.
- 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 an 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.
For more advice on preparing your home for sale check out our handy guide.
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.
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