7 easy ways to improve your property’s EPC rating

  • Switching to energy efficient light bulbs can improve your rating
  • Other measures include insulation, replacing your boiler and double glazing
  • Take a look at our 7 top tips, plus what to do before your energy assessor arrives

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are documents required under UK Law whenever a house (or commercial building) is built, sold, or rented out. First introduced in 2007, about two-thirds of buildings in the UK now have one.

If you have never seen one, they rate a particular building, like your home, on a scale of A to G, with A being the most energy efficient (and cheapest to run) and G the least efficient (and most expensive to run).

If your property has an EPC, it will be available to look at online for free, but you should have received one if you moved into your home after 2007.

Each certificate includes other information, including recommendations on how to improve the building’s rating.

This can range from simple things like changing light bulbs, to more expensive measures like insulating cavity walls and lofts, to installing things like solar panels and heat pumps. These are only recommendations, but if you want to shave the cost off your energy bills, they are a good starting point to consider.

But, which ones, if any, get you the most “bang for your buck?”

Let’s take a look.

EPC ratings illustration

Why should I try to improve my EPC rating?

The energy efficiency of your home has a direct correlation with how much it costs to heat your property, so improving your rating is an essential step towards reducing your energy bills, combating climate change and making your property more attractive to prospective buyers.

The less energy you use to heat and power your home, the less it costs you to live in it.

The UK’s housing stock needs an overhaul, especially considering that the average EPC rating for UK homes is band D.

This is partly due to the age of the housing stock in the UK, but also a consequence of relatively slow changes to building regulations prior to the millennium.

Furthermore, research has also suggested that reaching a rating of C or above is impossible for around 1.7 million homes in bands D to G. This could be for a variety of reasons. For example, some of these homes might be located in conservation areas, or the buildings themselves might be listed – meaning that they are of special architectural and historic interest, and therefore difficult to modernise with energy efficiency measures.

That said, most other housing stock can have at least some upgrades undertaken to make them more energy efficient, and therefore climb up the EPC ratings ladder.

Given the cost savings you could potentially make on your energy bills, making improvements to your home, even small ones, will pay off in the long run.

But where should you start? Let’s take a look at our top 7 tips to making your EPC rating epic.

Woman holding a miniature house, insulated concept

Tip 1 – Energy-efficient lighting

One of the easiest things to do to improve your EPC rating is to swap out your older light bulbs. In most cases, this will involve replacing your old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps or LED bulbs to score a few easy EPC points.

The best part? It doesn’t cost that much – but in the long run, you’ll save money.

A 60-watt incandescent bulb costs £1 to £2, whereas an LED bulb will cost a few quid more, but 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.

On average, LED bulbs use 75% less energy, and last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs, so over time, you will save hundreds of pounds in electricity and bulb changes over the years.

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) bring big savings, too. 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.

It’s a bit of a no-brainer really.

Tip 2 – Loft insulation

Loft insulation is one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways of improving your property’s EPC rating. 

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

Heat rising from below is kept inside a little longer by creating this barrier in your loft. This reduces the need to keep the heating on longer than necessary.

The best part about loft insulation is that you can quite easily install it yourself, which many homeowners choose to do. Just make sure you wear gloves and a mask when you do.

It is 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.

Tip 3 – Cavity wall insulation

Cavity wall insulation is the most common type of wall insulation, as most modern homes in the UK have a gap between the walls.

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

It’s pretty cheap, too, averaging around £370–£500 for your average home, but the returns on investment are potentially huge over time.

However, it is not always appropriate for your home, especially if you have a narrow cavity in your walls, like most 1930-1950s properties. If you have an EPC, it will detail your wall type if this is the case.

If you have solid stone or brick walls (or pre-fabricated walls), you can consider internal or external wall insulation, but these are costly and complicated works. It is best to consult an expert before going down this route.

Tip 4 – Insulate your hot water tank

If you get your hot water from a tank, you should consider adding an insulating jacket. You’ll want to aim for around 60mm to 80mm thick for best results. Doing so will save you around £50 per year and contribute a few points towards your EPC rating.

You can 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.

Alternatively, you could consider switching to a condensing boiler and removing that old tank (more on this in the next section).

If you must have a hot water cylinder, you should consider getting a more modern version, which are very well insulated (these are more expensive of course).

Tip 5 – Replace your boiler

OK, so saying this is easy might be a stretch, but if you can afford a new boiler, you should consider it. Your heating system greatly impacts your home’s EPC rating, and making it more efficient can add many points.

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

For best results, consider getting a condensing boiler installed, or better yet, get a heat pump – these are expensive, but with the government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme, they will cover £7500 of the costs of getting one installed.

If a heat pump isn’t right for your home, there are also cutting-edge boiler replacements that are electric now, like zero-emission boilers (ZEB) that you might want to consider.

However, the software used to create your EPC rating may not give you a rating improvement for a ZEB, as it’s still quite new technology.

Tip 6 – Double glazing

Double-glazed windows are one of the best ways to immediately improve your home’s insulation and reduce your heating costs. While they’re not as cheap as changing your lightbulbs, they can still be installed quickly and easily.

Double glazing costs between £300 to £800 per window, or £5,000 on average for a three-bedroom home. They also help improve your EPC rating, adding up to 10 points to your property’s overall score. This is less than loft insulation but is a significant step to improve 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 if you opt for double glazing; it’s still a very practical choice.

Learn more about double glazing and triple glazing by reading our in-depth comparison of the two.

Tip 7 – Get a smart meter

Smart meters are a controversial improvement measure, but they can help you use energy more wisely.

For some in the industry, the importance of smart meters in reducing your energy bills cannot be overstated.

While 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.

When you know how much energy you use, you can immediately take 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 see the improvements in real-time.

What to do before your energy assessor arrives

There are some other things you can do to improve energy efficiency in your that may not always be reflected on your EPC.

The simplest, and one that will make your energy assessor very happy, is to make documentation available for them on-site. This will include information on double glazing installation dates, build dates of the home, insulation installation certificates, your boiler’s make and model, and, if you have them, the handover documents and MCS certification for things like solar panels and heat pumps.

Without these documents handy, the assessor may need to make assumptions, which could have a negative impact on the rating for your home.

Another option, if you have one, is to board up an open fireplace. These act as big heat vents if you don’t use them for open fires. The energy assessor has to note them (and how many), which impacts your home’s rating. If you don’t need it, close it up.

Yet another often-overlooked measure is draughtproofing. Most modern doors and windows have excellent draughtproofing, but you can add draughtproof strips to older windows to help reduce heat loss from your home. These are super cheap and the energy assessor will look for this and factor it into the final EPC rating calculations.

If you have any portable electrical heaters, store them away before the energy assessor arrives.

If present, these must be factored into the calculations and can significantly reduce your EPC rating. However, if you need to use them regularly, it usually means the heating system or insulation in your home is insufficient, so you should look into those measures, too.

You are welcome!


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

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

Written by:
Christopher is an Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) specialist with extensive experience advising consumer and trade clients on energy efficiency and sustainability.
Reviewed by:
Roland is Editor of The Eco Experts. He is passionate about solar power, reducing plastic waste and technology that can help humanity overcome some of its greatest challenges.
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