7 Easy Ways To Improve Your Property’s EPC Rating

With the ongoing energy and cost-of-living crises, people across the country are understandably worried about their finances.

The energy price cap rise has been one of the biggest factors, and UK households are now facing the highest-ever energy bills (even adjusted for inflation).

So how can households reduce their energy bills? By improving their property’s EPC rating. After all, a more energy-efficient home wastes less energy and in turn, reduces the money spent on heating and electricity.

We’ve put together a list of easy ways to improve your property’s EPC rating. Read on to find out more.

What is an EPC rating?

Your home’s energy efficiency is measured with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), typically on a scale of A to G, with G being the lowest possible energy efficiency rating.

This scale is colour coded to give homeowners a clear and concise picture of how efficient their home actually is. How are EPC ratings actually calculated though?

To have your property’s efficiency band calculated, a qualified assessor will take a look at how your home uses energy. This includes how much potential there is for heat or energy loss, what level of insulation is present, whether you have double glazing or not, and more.

Each part of the inspection will receive a score depending on how efficient or inefficient it is. Then, the assessor will work out what the overall EPC rating of your property is, based on the average score.

So if you have an A rating for insulation, but a G rating for heating efficiency, your overall EPC rating might be around C or D.

Also, the assessor will score each part of the inspection using SAP (Standard Assessment Procedure), which is a methodology introduced by the government as a way to measure a property’s energy and environmental performance.

Each of the EPC bands are scored as follows:

  • EPC rating A = 92-100 SAP points
  • EPC rating B = 81-91 SAP points
  • EPC rating C = 69-80 SAP points
  • EPC rating D = 55-68 SAP points
  • EPC rating E = 39-54 SAP points
  • EPC rating F = 21-38 SAP points
  • EPC rating G = 1-20 SAP points

 

Why do we need to improve our properties’ EPC ratings?

Improving a property’s EPC rating is an essential step in not only reducing energy bills, but in combating climate change. The less energy we use in heating and powering our homes, the less emissions we put into the atmosphere.

Even if we make a complete switch to renewable energy, having efficient homes is still essential. This is because having inefficient homes will need more energy from the grid, putting a greater strain on renewable energy sources.

Grids powered entirely by renewable energy sources can’t just generate more electricity on demand, unlike fossil fuels. When there is a greater demand for energy than a renewable grid can deal with, the likelihood of power cuts increases.

Unfortunately, we’re still some way off of having large enough energy storage to manage substantial energy demand surges.

The UK’s housing stock as a whole needs an overhaul, especially considering that the average EPC rating for UK homes is only band D. Research has also suggested that for around 1.7 million homes in bands D to G, reaching C or above is impossible.

Whilst it’s clear the UK government needs to do a lot more to help improve the UK’s housing stock, there are still a few things you do to improve your home’s energy efficiency.

Woman holding a miniature house, insulated concept

1. Use energy-efficient lighting

You can replace your old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs with halogen bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps, or LED bulbs to score a few easy points on your EPC rating.

The best part? It really doesn’t cost that much either – in fact, in the long run you’ll actually end up saving money. With a typical 60 watt incandescent bulb, you’ll average around 1,200 hours of lighting before it needs to be replaced.

A 6 watt LED bulb on the other hand, will last upwards of 60,000 hours.

A 60 watt incandescent bulb will cost you £1 to £2, whereas an LED bulb costs between £15 and £20. Considering how long an incandescent bulb lasts and the fact it uses far more electricity than an LED bulb, over a 60,000 hour period you’ll spend a whopping £700.

A 6 watt LED bulb over the same time will set you back £80 or £90.

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) bring big savings over incandescent bulbs too, but not quite as much as LED bulbs. Each CFL costs £3 or so and has a 10,000 hour lifespan, meaning you’ll spend a total of £180 (including electricity costs) over the same lifespan of a single LED bulb.

We based these calculations on the estimated cost of electricity per kilowatt hour (kWh) as of April 2022.

2. Get loft insulation

Loft insulation is by far one of the easiest, cheapest, and most effective ways to improve your property’s EPC rating.

Typically made from fibreglass or renewable wood fibre, loft insulation is installed to create a barrier between your home and roof to minimise heat loss.

By creating this barrier in your loft, heat rising from below is instead kept inside. This reduces the need to keep the heating on for longer than is necessary.

The best part about loft insulation is that you can quite easily install it yourself, which is something many homeowners choose to do.

It is most often laid between the rafters that support your roof, or between the joists in your loft floor.

The former is more expensive, but not substantially so, and is generally a better option for maximising heat retention.

3. Get wall insulation

Like insulating your loft, wall insulation will have a big impact on your home’s energy efficiency.

Cavity insulation is the most common type of wall insulation, as the majority of modern homes in the UK have a gap between the walls. It’s pretty cheap too, averaging around £370–£500 for your average home.

Once installed, you’ll see a substantial benefit to your home’s energy efficiency.

4. Add an insulating jacket to your hot water tank

If you get your hot water from a tank, you should consider adding an insulating jacket. Doing so will not only save you around £35 per year, but will also contribute a few points towards your EPC rating.

You can quite easily pick one up for around £25, meaning after just one year you’ve already made a profit. After several years, the benefits of an insulating jacket become substantial.

5. Replace your boiler

OK so saying this is an easy way might be a stretch, but if you can afford a new boiler, you should definitely consider it. Your heating system has a massive impact on your home’s EPC rating, and making it more efficient can add a lot of points.

In fact, installing a new boiler could see your EPC rating rise by 40 points. The minimum EPC rating is 39, so even if you don’t do anything else, getting a new boiler will help you reach the required standard.

6. Invest in double glazing

Double glazed windows are one of the best ways to immediately improve your home’s insulation, which in turn reduces your heating costs. And whilst they’re not as cheap as changing your lightbulbs, they can still be installed quickly and easily.

Expect to pay between £150 to £200 per window, or £2,000 on average for a three-bedroom home.

They also help improve your EPC rating, adding around 10 points to your property’s overall score. This is less than something like loft insulation, but is nonetheless a great step to take in improving your home’s EPC rating.

If you have the means, triple glazing is an even better option. Triple glazed windows are very effective at stopping heat from escaping, but don’t fret too much if you opt for double glazing because it’s still a very effective choice.

7. Get a smart meter

The importance of smart meters in reducing your energy bills cannot be overstated. Whilst getting a smart meter won’t directly improve your EPC rating, it will give you a much clearer picture of how much energy you use.

And when you know how much energy you use, you can start to immediately make steps to reduce it. Before smart meters, it was far more difficult for households to assess energy usage, leading to using more energy than needed.

Also, once you have a smart meter and have applied the tips above, you’ll be able to see the improvements in real time.

Summary

Improving your home’s EPC rating is the most effective way to reduce your energy bills. Just applying even a handful of the above tips will increase your EPC rating, so it’s definitely worth thinking about.

Not everyone will be able to afford some of the things listed here, but even if it’s just replacing the odd light bulb, it can still make a difference.

Tom Gill Writer

Tom is a big fan of all things eco and has a passionate interest in how technology and localised projects can work together to make the world greener.

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