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Energy Performance sCam (EPC)

Energy Performance sCam (EPC)

(Image: SEE Monster)

Any of you ever wonder about the efficacy of these things? You need one to sell a house, there is a duty to display them in commercial properties and any new rental property will need to achieve a C rating by 2025 and any existing rental property by 2028. They feature a bar chart grading much like an appliance (the score being linked to a notional SAP rating) together with property details and various ways in which you might improve your score. Whilst there is no doubt there are some real professionals out there the general level of competence amongst assessors for the house buying public I would argue is poor but then nobody really appears to care as it is at best another cost. It will matter to renters given they will now have an expectation of performance relative to energy costs and rightly so. In time the market too may have due regard as better performing properties (bearing in mind the stock, new and old is pretty poor) may attract a higher price. It also matters to me because it makes little sense of energy targets and the status quo. Having recently been immersed in the property market I have some experience and here it is.

The house we sold was built in 2006 by ourselves. It is not an eco-house but it is well built; it has good insulation and airtightness standards, a condensing boiler and solar thermal. It optimised glazing to the south and reduced the size of openings to the north (a feature lost on many punters). I did the SAP that was approved by BCO and scored 81%. This was of no interest to the assessor who gave it a C rating (pretty good he thought). We challenged the assessment given the house was neither of cavity construction nor a typical 90’s build as he purported. We provided detail of the insulation build-ups both quilt and PIR but this was not admissible as we no-longer had receipts and in any case it had already been uploaded to the government platform. Thereafter put up and shut-up was the response.

The house we are buying is not ideal but it is a transition property and maybe improved. It also has an EPC of C (but clearly isn’t). It purports to have cavity walls though is in fact a converted pub dating from the 1850’s. The problem here is that cavity wall construction was not introduced much before the 1920’s and was certainly not mainstream for some decades thereafter. The report assumes the floor is insulated – dubious and the roof whilst insulated is insufficient. The suggestions for improvement (which having seen any number of reports is actually standard caveat) are generally not practical and the notion that PVs were a realistic option on a north facing roof slope is fantasy.

A new built house (within the last ten years) by a national provider boasted an EPC of A. I assume given it had a solar array. The issue with this was that the array (and that of next door) was not actually registered and there was no understanding of whether it delivered or not. The boiler was combi so there was no facility to divert power into a hot water cylinder whilst the walls were standard cavity construction and the roof had little more than 150 insulation. It still has an NHBC warranty running but it I can’t see how it even met the Building Regulations of 2016. I fear this is the situation nationwide whereby developers off-set poor fabric performance with the promise of PV.

I had concerns over the rating of every property we looked at which in time meant that judging a property by its energy rating became a meaningless exercise.

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