Any improvement for your home relating to energy efficiency is beneficial. Improving the EPC rating of your property will have several benefits. The steps you take to improve your EPC rating will improve thermal comfort and save you a sizeable chunk on your energy bills. We are going to examine what the EPC rating scale is and how it can impact you.
What is the EPC rating?
In summary, an EPC rating is a review of a property’s energy efficiency. The rating indicates to homeowners, renters, and new buyers how much their energy bills will cost in their new property.
The EPC rating of the house will depend on two variants:
- The amount of energy used per m²
- The level of carbon dioxide emissions (given in tonnes per year)
The acronym stands for Energy Performance Certificates and are valid for a period of 10 years. If you are looking to sell or rent after this period, you will need to get your EPC certificate renewed. A valid EPC is necessary for all properties due to be sold, except for listed buildings. It can also instruct people when deciding between properties. The easy comparison presented by the scale will inevitably always push a person towards properties with a higher EPC rating.
Why should you improve the EPC rating of your home?
The major reason to improve the EPC rating of your home is the potential return when choosing to sell. However, the benefit for improving your rating whilst living at the property is also worthwhile. The vast savings on your energy bills, especially given the current rising costs make the investment worthwhile. Some changes may be extensive and expensive, but there are also low cost solutions. We will discuss these solutions below.
The current legislation states that the EPC rating of a property can be E. However, changes are coming:
Minimum EPC rating to be raised from E to C. The plan is to enforce this from 1 April 2025 for new tenancies, and from 1 April 2028 for existing tenancies. The government says this would be sufficient to bring more than 90% of D-rated properties up to a C rating, as well as nearly 60% of E-rated properties.Kirsty Burnham; accessed at https://www.nrla.org.uk/
External wall insulation to improve the EPC rating
The most common and most popular recommendation to improve the EPC rating of a property is to install some form of insulation. The options are either external wall insulation, internal wall insulation, or cavity wall insulation. All have their specific benefits and issues. They also impact the savings on your bills differently.
At EWI Store, we would always champion external wall insulation as the best solution. It does not impact the internal floor space or cause damp issues in the wall cavity.
In the last 6 months, numerous existing and prospective clients have been on the phone worried about the relatively low to par EPC ratings on their asset housing stock. The common question seems to always arise – what else could be done to improve the energy efficiency of the properties given that many already have modern boilers and state of the art heating controls…
Improving the efficiency of the walls of a building is typically the easiest way to hit the C rating on your EPC. This is due to two reasons – firstly the walls often account for the largest surface area, and secondly because you can take very low performing walls efficiency wise, and make them super high performance.
Of all the types of wall insulation (cavity, internal and external wall insulation), external wall insulation normally comes out the winner as you can add so much insulation without any real upheaval – we would recommend adding 90mm of EPS or 100mm mineral wool to hit the u-value of 0.3 to adhere to modern building regulations.Alan Bouquet – London EPC
We have detailed the thickness required to achieve a u-value of 0.3 in one of our other blogs. Read more here! The savings will naturally vary depending on the property and the thickness of insulation you install. However, with the rising bills, you can expect close to £1,000 worth of saving on your bills with external wall insulation.
What other benefits will external wall insulation give me?
Apart from improving the EPC rating of your property, external wall insulation can offer other benefits. Mineral Wool is a dual density insulation board, and as a result, offers fantastic acoustic insulation for the property. This is particularly useful when you live in heavily urban areas. The insulation barrier can block out the noise of cars and the general public. Kingspan K5 insulation boards are a space saving solution and they are also very resistant to mechanical impact. This also makes them very suitable for installations in urban areas where space is likely to be a premium. EPS insulation is a very cost efficient option whilst sacrificing none of the thermal performance.
Internal wall, cavity wall, and loft insulation
Internal wall insulation works in a similar way to external wall insulation. However, the savings are not as pronounced. The major problem you will face with internal wall insulation is the reduced floor space. There will also be large disruptions to normal life as rooms need to be done one at a time.
Cavity wall insulation can provide savings of around £500 per year. However, it comes rife with problems. CWI can often be installed very poorly, which leads to heavy problems with damp accumulating in the wall cavity. The pilot holes for the filler tube will also be unsightly on the external façade.
Loft insulation is incredibly easy to install and obviously makes very little impact on your living space. You do need up to 270mm to ensure you hit the desired target to effect some noticeable savings.
These forms of insulation do not directly tackle the issue of cold walls. On the other side, external wall insulation does precisely that. The insulation on the external of your walls creates a thermal envelope. This helps your walls stay warm, acting as a heat store, rather than letting the walls get cold.
Other ways to improve the EPC rating
Whilst insulation is the solution we recommend most, there are several other avenues you can pursue. These can be a little less disruptive to your home as they will not require building works for the most part.
- Low energy lighting – Energy efficient LEDs to replace traditional and halogen bulbs will save you energy.
- Increase hot water cylinder insulation – Insulating your hot water boiler to a thickness of at least 80mm can save you up to £70 per year.
- Heating controls – With integrated heating controls, you can programme your heating to come on only when needed. A reduction of 1 degree can save around £150 per year.
- Replace boiler with new condensing boiler – Whilst an expensive solution, a new A-rated boiler will have a marked difference.
- Replace single glazed windows with low-E double glazed windows – Double or even triple glazed windows can make your home feel much warmer as they retain heat much better.
- Solar photovoltaic panels – For larger renovation budgets, solar photovoltaic cells will provide a renewable source of electricity, which will reduce your energy bills.
The rising energy bills are a source of trouble for many in the country. Electricity and gas costs per kWh are due to rise in January to March from 17p/kWh to 31.8p/kWh for electricity, and 4.2p/kWh to 6.4p/kWh for gas. Improving your EPC rating will result in those effects being less pronounced as you’ll use less electricity.
If you are looking to invest in external wall insulation, read some of our other blogs, or give our sales team a call!