Energy bills are on the rise, and we are facing unprecedented times with another energy price cap rise due in October. With this in mind, now could be a good time to improve your EPC rating. Buildings with higher EPC ratings are more popular with those buying or renting.
Rising energy costs
In April this year, the energy price cap increased by 54%, meaning a typical household’s energy bills went up by around £700 a year from £1,300 to £2,000. In October that price cap is set to rise again, taking the average household’s energy bills to just under £3,000. After October, Ofgem is set to change the price cap every three months and bills are expected to remain high until October 2023. Ensuring your home is as energy efficient as possible is now more important than ever, whether you’re looking sell, rent or stay put. A few improvements now could save you hundreds of pounds in the long run.
What is an EPC certificate?
The Energy Performance Certificate (or EPC) rating on your home shows how efficiently your property uses energy. When a property is being sold or rented, this certificate is required and must be made available. It’s valid for ten years.
The EPC certificate is graded from A (the highest) through to G (the lowest) and all properties should aim for a C or higher rating. New build homes usually have the highest rating and are around 60% more efficient than older homes. The average EPC rating in the UK is D.
As well as a property costing less money to run, homes with a higher EPC rating command higher asking prices and sell quicker.
From 2026, landlords must make sure the property they are renting out to tenants has an EPC rating no lower than A, B or C.
Understanding and Improving Your EPC Rating
The EPC rating of a property is assessed and set by a government-approved energy assessor. They look at the amount of energy a property uses per square metre and its carbon dioxide output. They look at the heating system, lighting, hot water and the current running cost of the home. It also assesses the savings that could be made when energy-saving improvements are implemented.
The following will be assessed:
- Windows – are they double or triple glazed?
- How old is the boiler?
- Is the boiler energy efficient
- What thermostat is used?
- Which fuel source is required for fires – coal, wood or gas
- Is the property insulated sufficiently?
- Are pipes and the water tank insulated?
- Does the property have a renewable energy source or air/ground source heat pumps?
- Are there water saving systems in place?
- Are the light bulbs energy efficient?
Improve your rating
- There are several things you can do to improve the EPC rating of your home.
- Insulate your loft to prevent 25% of heat escaping.
- Cavity wall insulation to prevent 35% of heat escaping.
- Replace your boiler with an energy efficient one and consider using a renewable energy system such as a ground or air source heat pump.
- Install energy efficient lightbulbs
- Replace windows with double or triple glazing
- Seal any draughts.
- Replace original floorboards with a wood, vinyl or carpet with good quality underlay.
Some energy companies and local authorities will provide funding for insulation, glazing or new boilers depending on your income and the age and efficiency of your current heating system. Contact your local authority to see if you are eligible for a grant under the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery Scheme.
Changing your EPC rating
If you believe your rating is incorrect, talk to the assessor – their name will be on the certificate issued. You can ask them to reassess the property based on why you think there are errors and, as a last resort, you can appeal to the assessor’s accreditation scheme – details will be on your EPC certificate.