How to improve EPC rating

How to improve EPC rating

Whether you’re a homeowner or landlord, there are plenty of reasons you might be looking to improve EPC rating in your home. In 2018, it was decided that all rental properties needed to meet a minimum rating on the EPC scale from “A” to “G”. That minimum is currently an “E” rating and this could be raised to a “D” or “C” in the years to come. It’s also useful to remember that should you improve energy efficiency in your home, you’re also likely to cut running costs over time and attract that ever-growing population of eco-conscious tenants.

But won’t such improvements cost a lot of money? Well, there are all kinds of measures you can take to improve an EPC rating — some small, some big. It doesn’t need to cost much and some adjustments won’t even take up much of your time. So whether you’re simply looking to comply with government standards, or reduce your carbon footprint — step this way and we’ll take you through your options.

What is a good EPC rating?

Before we get going, let’s review the basics! EPC, how is it calculated? First, an accredited assessor will visit your property, and award points for things like insulation (which keeps the heat in) or LED light bulbs (that use less energy). There are 100 points up for grabs and these will place you in an EPC rating band from “A” (most efficient) to “G” (least efficient). An “A” rating is the best of the best, like a big gold star for your home. While a “G” rating means your home is about as energy efficient as a cardboard box.

As for the question of what is a good EPC rating? Well, the answer is more about what EPC rating works for your home. While newer properties might be capable of that top-class “A” rating, some older properties just aren’t built for more than a “B” or “C”. That’s because there are improvements you might not be able to make depending on the design and structure of your home. If you check out your Energy Performance Certificate, you’ll notice that there’s a “current” and “potential” rating. That potential rating will tell you what’s a good EPC rating for your property.

To get a better handle on the finer details of Energy Performance Certificates, check out: ‘What is EPC and how long is EPC valid for’.

How to improve EPC rating

So let’s say your property is currently rated “F” and you’re wondering how to bump it up to an “E”. Here’s our handy guide on how to improve energy efficiency:

1. Consider double or triple glazed windows

A huge amount of energy goes towards keeping your house warm and cosy. But if heat quickly escapes through your windows, then that energy is largely going to waste. Most homes have double glazing these days, but if yours doesn’t — making the switch could boost your property’s EPC rating by 5-10 points. Triple glazing is a step further, but quite a bit more costly. It can keep you toasty in the winter months though. Find out more about the advantages and disadvantages of triple glazing here.

2. Make the switch to LED light bulbs

Switching to LED bulbs can be a quick and easy fix if your property is teetering between ratings. That’s because the traditional halogen light bulbs are less efficient. If you’re unsure what you’re using — just check the wattage written on the bulb. Anything over 10W will most likely be halogen, while anything under 10W is likely LED. Replacing these old bulbs is a fairly inexpensive way to improve your EPC rating and decrease your energy bills in the process.

3. New insulation in your walls or roof

This is one of the most effective measures to improve your EPC rating, but it can come with a hefty price tag. Properties with poor insulation won’t retain heat well — think of chilly school gyms and old, brick farmhouses. Generally, the older the property, the more you’ll need to spend. For newer properties with cavities between the walls and just under the roof, it could set you back £300 - £500. But for old stone walls and more complicated structures, the cost can be as high as £20,000.

4. Go green with renewable energy  

Homes with a renewable energy source have become pretty desirable in recent years. Solar panels or a ground source heat pump should improve your EPC rating, save you a great deal in energy bills, and add value to your home. It’s an investment — but when you add in the bonus of doing something good for the planet, you might just find it’s worth it.

5. Invest in a new boiler

Old, inefficient boilers are the single most common reason that homes fall short in EPC ratings. There are newer models available these days that are significantly more efficient and an upgrade could increase your EPC rating by as much as 40 points. For best results, combine this measure with some smart heating tech — but more on that next.

6. Install a smart meter

Simply put, smart meters help you keep an eye on how much energy you’re using. It’s a good incentive each month to put a nice, thick jumper on rather than turn up the heat, or turn the TV off if you walk away to take a phone call. Over time, these small adjustments will conserve the amount of energy you use — which is better for your bank account and the environment. A smart meter can increase your EPC rating because it shows your commitment to monitoring and conserving energy.

Wondering how smart meters work? Check out our article on: ‘How to take a smart meter reading’.

A few final tips…

If you’re worried about having to make improvements that you can’t afford, you should know there’s a spending cap in place if you need to meet the minimum “E” rating. You can never be asked to spend more than £3,500 on improving your home’s energy efficiency, and if that doesn’t get your rating up to an “E” then you can apply for an “all improvements made” exemption via GOV.UK.

Looking for more ways to cut down on energy? Why not read: ‘12 easy ways for renters to reduce their utility bills’.

At Urban Jungle, we’re determined to make a positive impact on the environment. To read more, check out: ‘Our commitment to the planet and our people’.