Time to take a bit more notice of that EPC?

As a surveyor, I spend a fair bit of time looking at Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs). Those little coloured bars you see at the bottom of the property details, and the calculations that sit behind them, actually contain a wealth of interesting information, but in the past it’s been rare for home buyers to show too much interest.

So what is an EPC? Much like the multi-coloured sticker on new appliances, EPCs tell you how energy efficient a building is and give it a rating from A (very efficient) to G (inefficient). They’ll tell you how costly it will be to heat and light your property, and what its carbon dioxide emissions are likely to be. The EPC system is far from perfect, but it still serves a very useful purpose.

But that’s not a purpose that too many home buyers have historically focussed much on. After all, finding the right house is hard enough and, when you finally have, the fact that the EPC rating is a bit on the low side is seldom enough to really put people off.

But I wonder if that is about to change? Soaring energy prices have rarely been out of the headlines over the last few weeks and suddenly the cost of heating our homes is in focus like never before. I have a feeling that energy efficiency is going to be much higher on house hunters’ priority lists now too. After all, there’s little point having that dream house if you can’t afford to put the heating on.

My Level 2 and Level 3 survey reports already contain more and more information on energy efficiency and sustainability and my guess is that my de-briefs with clients are going to focus on these areas more and more too.

For those clients who are willing to take on a house with a low rating, the question then turns on how to improve it. Whilst the EPC is a useful document, the recommendations section is perhaps the weakest part. Not all energy efficiency improvement measures are appropriate for all property types and it takes expertise and careful planning to improve the energy efficiency of an older building without either wasting money on ineffectual interventions or creating new problems along the way. Mixing the wrong materials can have disastrous implications for ventilation and dampness, for example.

If you are purchasing an older property and want to understand how best to improve its energy efficiency then please consider an Energy Report from Stephen Michael Surveying. The report builds on the EPC assessment and makes recommendations that are appropriate for your property and situation, taking into account your property’s construction, features and location. Recommendations will also be tailored to your budget and your desired return on investment.

If you would like a pre-purchase survey that includes a proper focus on energy efficency, or if you are interested in an Energy Report for your property, then please Contact Me for a no obligation initial chat or free quotation.