Energy performance certificates for traditional buildings need improving
Calling landlords, owners, and lovers of Britain’s traditional period buildings – your EPC rating could be improved!
Carbon Savvy supports the UK government’s directive to meet net carbon-zero by 2050. In collaboration with Clovelly Estates, Mitchell & Dickinson and industry experts, we are raising funds to carry out a focused and rigorous study into why EPCs do not accurately represent the most cost effective energy efficiency measures for period buildings in the UK. We will produce a report for the government Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, as well as publishing guidance for landlords and property owners on the best steps to take in order to meet minimum energy efficiency standards.
Residential properties are required to meet a minimum energy efficiency grade of E, something that for the majority of the UK’s 450,000 traditional buildings requires carbon-saving interventions. The current Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) assessments are an excellent device to indicate modern heating efficiencies, until it comes to older traditional buildings, the thick air-pocketed walls of which are far better insulators than modern walls.
However studies by Historic Environment Scotland and Society for Protection of Ancient Buildings have measured the efficiency of traditional walls and shown they are more efficient. There are several other areas where EPCs typically underestimate heating efficiency of traditional buildings, including the draughts through doors and windows, improvements achieved by secondary glazing, and conversion between energy efficiency improvements and EPC points gained after installing insulation.
Thus as a traditional building resident, you could be paying unnecessarily high heating bills for expensive heating systems that landlords default to, or you’re a property owner shelling out for these systems without first installing the industry-recommended ‘fabric-first’ (this means installing insulation to prevent heat loss prior to installing heating systems). Or perhaps you’re a potential property buyer, for which your mortgage terms are affected by the EPC rating. Finally, you might be a member of the public who’s interested in climate change literacy and wants to support effective endeavours to reverse the impact of climate change. All of these need EPCs to be representing traditional properties with a reasonable degree of accuracy.
What’s in it for you
What would it mean to you if your property EPC rating was increased by one or two bands? For a typical British home this could mean increasing the property value by £5,000 – £10,000, and the value placed on EPC ratings by home buyers is increasing rapidly each year as fuel bills rise. For landlords with traditional properties inaccurate EPCs often mean that your property is being graded lower than it should be. This is especially true if you have installed fabric insulation measures. Therefore fixing the problems with EPCs will make it easier for your properties to reach minimum energy efficiency standards.
The ‘EPC Project’ exists to gather and present evidence to: The Building Research Establishment (who write the EPC software), the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and the Department for Levelling Up Homes and Communities (DLUHC). This evidence makes the case for fixing the problems with EPC calculations. We are campaigning to ensure these problems are fixed in the new version of EPCs due out in 2023, and not delayed until the following version due out in a few years time. Fixing the problems now is essential to avoid tenants falling into fuel poverty, millions of pounds being invested in the wrong technologies, homes being wrongly underrated, and Britain’s retrofit programme being taken off the pathway to net zero.
What you can do
- Write to the Secretary of State for BEIS, DLUHC, and to the BRE urging them to take swift action
- Sign the petition “Fix EPC calculations to avoid fuel poverty” – https://chng.it/t84Fk4fmHt
- Make a donation using our dedicated project bank account, run under the auspices of Carbon Savvy CIC: a/c no 69862163, sort code 30-98-97 (Lloyds bank). Reference “donation”. We recommend a donation of £2,000 for estates, £500 for small landlords and an amount of your choice for individuals.
- Contact us via the webform at the bottom of this page for more information and to be added to our EPC Project funders mailing list. (N.b. the main subscribe button at the bottom of this page is for the Carbon Savvy general mailing)
Press Release 21st Oct – 2022
TEN DAYS TO ACT AS A MAJOR CALCULATION FLAW IS UNCOVERED IN EPC (ENERGY PERFORMANCE CERTIFICATES) RATINGS FOR UK HOUSING – LEADING TO INCREASED FUEL POVERTY AND FAILURE FOR THE UK TO MEET NET-ZERO CARBON TARGETS.
In a direct appeal to Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy the environmental pioneer Mukti Mitchell has written and highlighted how millions of homeowners whose homes were built before 1925 are effectively being penalised for insulating their homes and instead rewarded if they install expensive heaters. The double impact is expensive energy loss and a huge challenge to efforts for the UK to meet its own net-zero carbon target.
The specific and immediate issue relates to the resetting of the EPC criteria due on the 2nd of November. Mukti Mitchell explains, “Currently, the Building Research Establishment who set the EPC rating awards 1 single point for draught-proofing and 20 points for high heat retention heaters. It is accepted that draught-proofing limits heat loss by up to 20% but the rating system disincentives insulation instead it actively encourages homeowners and landlords towards expensive heating systems and uncontrollable energy costs.”
Mukti Mitchell continues, “As of today and despite detailed representation to the authorising body and broad acceptance of the issue, this erroneous position looks set to continue. Homeowners will be inadvertently encouraged towards expensive and uneconomic solutions at the same time as unnecessarily and frighteningly generating huge amounts of additional carbon.”
He concludes, “I believe that the minister will understand that the remedy of uprating insulation solutions for EPCs is immediately actionable. The consequences of maintaining the current position are financially crippling in the face of fuel bill rises and devastating for all of our efforts to achieve net-zero targets.”