Friday, January 9, 2009

Energy Performance Certificates - What are They?

Sample UK home performance rating energy effic...Image via WikipediaSince 1st October 2008, all rental properties with a new tenancy in England and Wales have been required to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

Why should you care?

Because your prospective tenants will be able to easily see how energy efficient and environmentally friendly your properties are, and if you have invested in energy saving measures your properties will perform well and will really stand out from the crowd. If not you may find them harder to rent out in future.

What is an Energy Performance Certificate?

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) look similar to the energy labels found on domestic appliances such as fridge freezers and washing machines.

The energy efficiency and environmental impact of your property will be rated on a scale from A-G (where A is the most efficient and G the least efficient) as shown below. Current running costs for heating, hot water and lighting will also be shown on the certificate, together with a list of recommended energy saving improvements.

How do I get an Energy Performance Certificate?

Either you or your letting agent will have to commission one from an accredited Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA). They will visit your property to assess the age, construction and location of the property as well as its current fittings such as heating systems, insulation, double glazing, etc. DEAs can be found in local directories or via this website.

How much do they cost?

The cost of an EPC will vary. At the moment average costs range between 40 pounds - 120 pounds, so it's worth shopping around.

What can I do to make my energy rating as high as possible?

1.) Insulating your property is the most cost effective measure you can take. In most cases cavity wall insulation is straightforward, inexpensive and hassle-free. Installing new loft insulation in most properties is an easy DIY job and should be done to a depth of 270mm.

2.) If your boiler is over fifteen years old it's probably time to replace it and you'll get a better rating if you combine it with modern heating controls. If you need to save space, buy a combi boiler, which does not store hot water in a tank but heats water directly from the cold water mains as it is used.

3.) Fit a hot water tank jacket.

4.) While double glazing can be fairly expensive, it will reduce noise and lower heating bills.

5.) When purchasing new appliances look out for the Energy Saving Recommended logo, and choose the most energy efficient in their category.

Are there grants to help cover installation costs?

There are several grants available that can cut your costs by half or even to zero!

If your tenants are in receipt of certain benefits you may be able to get your property insulated at a significant discount or even for free.

If you have insulated your properties you can also reduce your income tax by claiming under the Landlords Energy Saving Allowance.

Why is the Government introducing Energy Performance Certificates?

Domestic energy use accounts for 27 percent of the UK's carbon dioxide emissions. The Government is introducing a number of energy saving initiatives, including EPCs, aimed at making all buildings more energy efficient. These measures are being applied across all European Union countries as per the European Directive for the Energy Performance of Buildings.

Where can I find out how energy efficient my properties are?

The Energy Saving Trust will provide you with a personalised Home Energy Check report on each of your properties for free.

For further information on Energy Performance Certificates visit the complete online resource for landlords and property investors with UK buy to let investments.

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  1. You sell links (frowned on by Google, likely to get you demoted) and pimp the RLA and you call for "for alternatives to capitalism"!

    Did you write this article Dr.? I suspect not in which case I may report this post as spam.

  2. Hello anonymous,

    Thanks for your comments. They are welcome in the spirit of free speech that characterises this site. Let me answer your concerns.

    1) Selling links: I provide a service that sells a linking service, not one that sells links. If you care to look further, the service suggests links that can be examined and accepted or rejected by subscribers. Therefore, they have a choice. The service takes the legwork out of looking for links. Google has no problem with this.

    2) Pimping the RLA (Residential Landlords Association): the article was written by someone who represents the RLA and it provides a balanced view of the issues, providing appropriate warnings on the issue of EPCs. Just because you do not approve of the RLA, do not expect everyone to be a purist (I will answer this accusation in Section 3). Pimping is just a little over the top in view of the philosophy of this site being an open forum for all views (unless completely offensive and unreasonable), regardless of the organisation that one represents.

    3) Calling for alternatives to capitalism: Yes, I do call for alternatives, however I refuse to be a purist and suggest that we all need to 'go back to the land'. Doing that amounts to Pol Pottery! My view is that capitalism has produced benefits, such as the internet for example. Why throw out the baby with the bathwater? My view is that we should strategically use the advantages that have been produced under capitalism to create a new system where the large corporates cannot dominate everything that happens. Small-scale cottage industries in people's backyards, selling products on the net, freelancing and telecommuting all are non-contradictory ways of reaching for a new future. Therefore, my way of making a living is consistent with looking for alternatives to capitalism.

    4) Who wrote the article? Well, I can think of no better way to have a debate on important issues than to suggest that people write articles and send them to me for publication. If I write all the articles, you get one biased point-of-view! This is a forum for lots of views from lots of different viewpoints. So no, I did not write the article. Someone who wants to present their point of view did. Is that a crime? I hardly think Google would frown on that! Therefore, it is not spam!

    Now, after all that, I would like to invite EVERYBODY who reads these, and the preceding comments, to post their opinion on this issue. Get involved, things are just starting to warm up!



    Dr Robert Muller

  3. Since November 2008, the EPC or energy performance certificate required in the sale of apartments and houses. Since January 2009, the document has become mandatory for the rental of dwellings such as houses, apartments and residential buildings. The EPC will find more information about the energy efficiency of a home.