Saturday, June 13, 2009

CONSERVATION: Potential Of Energy Performance Certificates To Save Money And The Planet‏

by Dominic Donaldson

The media has been full of news about the economic downturn and falling house prices. As a result, first time buyers are finding it increasingly difficult to get a mortgage through banks and building societies to buy a property. This has led to widespread demand for rented properties, but what some people may not be aware of is the need for an energy performance certificate to be produced by the landlord.

Since October 2008, it has been law for landlords to produce an energy performance certificate to new tenants. The certificate is valid for ten years and the aim of it is to show the energy efficiency of the property. The reason the certificates have been introduced is to tackle the effects of greenhouse gas emissions on the climate.

Basically, the European Union has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to lower levels than in 1998. By 2010 Europe is expected to have reduced emissions by around eight per cent to reach the pre-1998 levels, and in line with future commitments to cut levels even further the energy efficiency of buildings is being addressed.

An energy performance certificate is included in home information packs and gives information about the energy efficiency of a home. An inspector will assess a property and give it a rating from A to G depending on a number of factors. To achieve a good rating, a home must have loft insulation and double glazing as this reduces the need for heating, therefore releases less greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.

A home can achieve a higher rating if it uses energy from sustainable sources such as wind or solar power, but the majority of homes in the UK do not have access to such technology and so commonly fall in the D to E bracket. The results of the assessment include advice on how to make the property more energy efficient in an attempt to gain an A rated certificate.

Because of the new legislation that has been brought in by the Government, new homes that are being built will be far more energy efficient, with some even obtaining a zero carbon rating. As the financial situation begins to improve globally, we can expect that house building and home buying will increase. Hopefully the trend towards providing energy efficient housing will take off both in an attempt to save people money and to save people from the effects of climate change.

Dom Donaldson is an environment expert.
Find out more about an Energy Performance Certificate at

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