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What do you think of Energy Performance Certificates?

Are Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) effective? We want to know what you think.

September 8, 2018

Politicians love a good consultation. It seems like every other week they’re calling for evidence on one thing or another. However, every now and again a particularly interesting one pops up and the current consultation on Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) is one such example.

What do EPCs do now and what is being proposed?

The government is calling for evidence on EPCs and how they can be more effective.

At present EPCs simply let us know how energy efficient a property is but, short of that, they don’t do a lot else. One possibility is that the government could apply the same rules for sellers as they imposed on landlords earlier this year. Under the new buy-to-let regulation, landlords can’t let a property unless it has a rating of A to E. If the same rules were introduced for house sellers they’d be unable to sell a property with an F or G rating, meaning many properties will need to be upgraded before selling.

Green mortgages for green homes?

It’s also possible that EPCs could be linked to so-called ‘green mortgages’. The idea is that buyers looking to purchase a more energy efficient property could benefit from more generous mortgage offers. The concept was first suggested in the government’s Clean Growth Strategy.

“We’ve already seen some evidence of lenders using the energy efficiency of new build property as an eligibility factor in access to a particular deal that can offer a preferential rate,” says David Hollingworth, mortgage expert at London and Country mortgage brokers. “Barclays already has a green home mortgage available on applicable properties built by certain developers.  There’s no reason that other lenders wouldn’t look to develop green mortgages in a similar fashion, appealing to those that value the energy efficiency of new homes but also raising awareness of the EPC rating.”

But Hollingworth says since new homes are generally much more efficient than existing properties, it would be important to see incentives extending to products that may be aimed at those seeking to improve and upgrade the energy efficiency of their existing property.

“Lenders will be able to support the release of equity for home improvements but perhaps we could see an uprating in the EPC rating being used to offer improvements to the mortgage rate,” he adds.  “That presents its own challenges and administration of course and ‘before and after’ EPC reports will come with a cost but this kind of approach could help owners of older property take on the costs of making energy efficiency improvements to their homes.”

What do you think?

The HomeOwners Alliance plans to submit a response to the EPC consultation and, to add your views, we’d love to know what you think.

Tell us:

  • How useful do you think EPCs are for homebuyers? Has an EPC ever influenced your purchase?
  • Have you ever used an EPC to negotiate the price of a property?
  • Did you consult the EPC for renovation recommendations?
  • Would you support the idea of properties coming with a building logbook, containing information on works that have been done?
  • Have you bought a new build and found the EPC  is not accurate? Please do comment below as we hear about this from our users but would like to give evidence to government of it.
  • How would you feel about having to get an EPC after key home improvements?

The deadline for consultation responses is October 7th. Tell us what you think and we’ll feed your comments through – by either emailing us at hello@hoa.org.uk or leaving a comment below.

If you’re not sure whether or not your property has an EPC or you can’t find it, you can search using the government register by postcode here.


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8 Comments

  1. i think the EHCPs are a load of rubbish – it’s just money for old rope! I can spot an old fashioned light bulb against an energy efficient one from a mile off. The same for single v double glazed units. These certificates are not worth the paper they are printed on, Anyone with an ounce of intelligence can get a good idea if a house is energy efficient – if you have a choice of a 13′ high ceilings or standard new build height would you think the new build was quicker to heat? I could rant on and on about this but hey ho what good would that do. Like everyone else I fall prey to this ridiculous requirement.

    Comment by Deborah Hodges — September 23, 2018 @ 5:52 pm

  2. It is merely a source of income for contractors. In truth an unnecessary tax and burden on sellers. I have spoken to buyers and they have done nothing after moving.

    Comment by L. H. Zaidi — September 20, 2018 @ 7:57 am

  3. How useful do you think EPCs are for homebuyers? Has an EPC ever influenced your purchase?
    I think they are of only passing interest because if people like a particular house they are likely to buy it regardless. They are more likely to look at the recommendations for improvements & think it is more easily done than they imagine. In addition some people would not imagine how they might be affected as they can’t see the effect until they’re there shivering. It might influence me if the rating were lower than present because I live in an old Victorian house & would not want an EPC lower than the current rating, which sad to say is F with a potential increase named as only E. I personally would be a bit sceptical however about any listed possible improvements because my experience with the woman who came to do the EPC for a flat I own was that she wrote it could improve with energy efficient lightbulbs when every single bulb there was already en energy efficient one. Plus, they started doing the EPCs when people still flocked to buy incandescent bulbs so that is no longer relevant. If the improvements were feasible in the course of refurbishment anyway then I would take it on, but not if the house were already in good order, just cold.
    Have you ever used an EPC to negotiate the price of a property? No.
    Did you consult the EPC for renovation recommendations? N/A. I bought pre-EPCs. However the most important thing about the improvements in insulation etc which an EPC is likely to recommend is that with period houses it is very, very difficult. eg.
    1. Loft insulation. the existing insulation in the loft is inadequate & when I investigated putting down more the suggestion was to lay it over the existing, across the rafters. This would then make negotiating the attic where things are stored as extremely hazardous at best, downright dangerous at worst (foot through the ceiling inevitable). So really there would need to be much deeper space between the rafters, ie build up the woodwork over each rafter so you can see where you put your feet or board over the extra depth & lose headroom? Ouch.
    2. External wall insulation (no cavity walls). For just the back of my house I was quoted £18,000 about six years ago. It would look ghastly, you’d have to extend all the windowsills, move all the downpipes, extend the edges of the roof, move the soil pipes. As for the front and sides, in a conservation area it wouldn’t be allowed. On top of that you had to have a certain number of things done in order to qualify for a grant & haven’t the grants dried up now anyway? In some areas you’d need planning permission. People can’t be forced to go through great long drawn out planning applications in order to sell. Give incentives to the purchasers in the form of grants where possible but not organised so that newer houses benefit but not our lovely old Victorian homes. Grants for heritage style double glazing even if only at the front?
    3. Internal wall insulation. It needs to be so thick you’d lose large amounts of space in small rooms & a lot of Victorian houses would end up with tiny rooms, eg our kitchen & it would all need to be reconfigured.
    4 Under floor insulation. Sounds great but don’t period houses need the ventilation they were built with? All the mess and disruption of having all the floors up?

    It would be an absolutely TERRIBLE idea if the government said you had to have a particular standard before you could sell. Most people anticipate works on that scale when they move in & that’s fine, not when you want to have it ship shape for people to view. Please tell them that would be RIDICULOUS. Excuse the capitals but they are a bt slow to see the picture all too often. It’s good that landlords have to be within the higher EPC limits but it would put a huge brake on sales if this had to be done by sellers. Tenants often get a raw deal and need the protection, buyers aren’t in the same position.Let the purchasers do the upgrading as most would anticipate some work anyway when decorating or modernising.
    Would you support the idea of properties coming with a building logbook, containing information on works that have been done? Not sure. They should already get planning & building regs permission for lots of things that they don’t, so I think they’d just lie or not say. They’d still cover over & not say. Who would regulate the log book? If it were more official red tape people would try to skip it because it could lead to hold-ups & local authorities don’t have the time to do their jobs as it is. If builders had to fill in a log book they’d not all tell the truth if they were getting paid cash.
    Have you bought a new build and found the EPC is not accurate? n/a
    How would you feel about having to get an EPC after key home improvements? Not obligatory. An optional one would be to the owner’s benefit.

    Comment by Pam Kelly — September 18, 2018 @ 11:59 am

  4. IN present format and the way they are verified not much use. Cannot trust the information on them (lot of assumptions and “good” comments that are not always correct). It should be revised correctly after any changes to the building. Log book maybe a good idea, but again only if completed correctly.
    Our case “Good” comments for insulation – but actual as follows
    1/Loft a mess with effectively no insulation. (Now completely redone)
    2/In the past a window has been removed and bricked up (single wall only so was a large cold spot), we had to remove the plaster, then fit insulation and replaster.
    3/Double glazed windows on two bedrooms – have up to 1/4 inch gap around them when closed! Intend renew the windows next month.

    Regards
    Derek Walford

    Comment by Derek Walford — September 17, 2018 @ 9:54 am

  5. I think EPC’s are useless. Incidentally I have just bought a house without an EPC so where is the control?
    I noted on the surveyors report it had cavity wall insulation, also noted was loft insulation I can see it has double glazing so what more do i need
    I think the government should decrease regulations as most are useless & a waste of time. Take gas safe-..now you have gas safe cowboys & gas safe has the ordasity to say its not interested in incorrect installation including unsafe electrical. Only interested in gas leakes. I can smell a gas leak & Br gas for many years sucessfully attended to this aspect

    Comment by Lin — September 15, 2018 @ 1:47 pm

  6. The one on our house gave 4 stars for our heating, which was shot! Also recomended underfoor heating even though we had concrete floors!

    Comment by Rob — September 15, 2018 @ 6:34 am

  7. EPCs are based on an algorithm which is by nature general and does not therefore take account of individual circumstances. This will lead to anomalies, discrepancies and errors. They seem to be based on modern criteria and thinking which is also, despite what many claim, based on ‘fashionable’ thought. Ideas, even scientific ideas, change over time as more evidence comes from improved research, experience and thought. One example would be old buildings with thick walls which were built based on experience and a different way of thinking and living. Do they work in the way that modern living, thought and construction believe? They would be classified as energy inefficient as they have no modern insulation and so ‘must’ be insulated to get a good rating. But are they as inefficient as the EPC system would declare? Do they require a different thought process?
    So overall EPCs may work for more modern housing, although having seen how they work I am not convinced, but to base mortgage deals and other scenarios on this system seems poor polkicy.

    Comment by Richard Bolam — September 14, 2018 @ 12:57 pm

  8. EPCs really add little to common sense ideas about whether a property is likely to be expensive or cheaper to heat. The recommendations are either obvious and accessible or barmy eg putting solar panels on a Grade 2 listed building (as I have experienced).
    I do not think a log book would be useful as it would be difficult to evidence. To add another EPC after an improvement is always an option but to make it compulsory adds another layer of bureaucracy.
    The most important saving to a buyer would have been the use of a common survey (at whatever level) but, as you know, this part of the total scheme ‘died’.

    Comment by M GRETASON — September 14, 2018 @ 12:54 pm

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