Energy Performance Certificates; Part of the Solution.

From: Synergy Property Services
Published: Fri Jan 15 2010

It is now more than two years since Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) were introduced. EPCs not only show the energy efficiency of a property, the likely fuel costs and carbon dioxide emissions, but also give recommendations on how to improve the energy rating and deliver energy cost savings. Sceptics claim these are "worthless" but a recent survey by National Energy Services (NES) tells a very different story.

On the domestic front, NES has analysed data from over 300,000 EPCs for homes in England & Wales and has quantified the potential reduction in energy waste and CO2 emissions identified by the Energy Assessors. The results are startling.

They found that if the recommendations in each EPC, to bring homes up to their potential rating, were implemented, the average CO2 emissions for each home would reduce by 1.2 tonnes and its fuel bill would be cut by £182 a year. This adds up to a total cut in CO2 emissions of 22%; against a Government target for housing by 2020 of 29% (reduction on 2008 emissions). As more than one million homes change hands each year, these savings demonstrate a potential to reduce our national CO2 emissions by 1.36 million tonnes and reduce energy costs by £200 million every year. If Further Measures, included in the EPC, were implemented the energy cost saving could be almost doubled.

These are very encouraging conclusions as to the potential of EPCs; but realising this potential, by undertaking the Recommendations, urgently requires home owners to receive more information about EPCs, what they actually mean and how they help save money and energy. Energy Assessors also need to help implement the Recommendations in the EPC; without this the UK’s carbon-cutting targets are less likely to be met. Energy Assessors already have the skills to help building owners and occupiers; financial incentives to get things moving in the right direction are now required.

Real Action and Financial Incentives

Our next Government (whichever party) will still have the legal commitment to reduce emissions, so the rhetoric of Copenhagen now needs real action and financial incentives.

Some form of mandatory improvements should be introduced for any property changing hands. An energy inefficiency surcharge on Stamp Duty, refundable once energy improvements have been carried out would add incentive and urgency to the problem.

Measures such as the proposed ‘scrappage’ scheme for heating systems would make a far bigger impact on carbon emissions and energy savings than the current one for cars, and at a lower cost to the tax payer.

The Recommendations from the EPC need to be included in all estate agent particulars so buyers/renters can plan ahead.

The Government must start planning ahead for implementing some of the higher cost, non-standard improvement measures which will be essential if the overall target for emission reductions is to be met. This is an investment in all our futures.

Energy Education not Expense.

Home owners still worry that implementing the Recommendations of their EPC will be expensive; however, the energy cost saving can offset the cost of implementing improvements such as loft and cavity wall insulation. In two thirds of the homes surveyed, the largest saving would come from recommended improvements to the heating system - it’s amazing how many people think heating is made efficient by simply fitting thermostatic radiator valves. It is imperative that Energy Assessors receive the support of Estate Agents, Councils, Politicians and the Media to ensure home owners understand the real benefits of an EPC to their pocket and the planet.
Company: Synergy Property Services
Contact Name: Andrew Morphet
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: 0800 458 4127

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