What helps towards a better EPC?

July 03, 2023

With the constant rise in energy prices, and a commitment to becoming a ‘greener’ nation, EPC ratings and energy efficiency has never been more important, but what features help to boost this rating?

The difference between a low and a high EPC rating could result in significant savings on energy bills each year.

An EPC is required to sell or let your home, and the most recent rating can be found online, here. Your home’s energy rating will be unique to your property, ranging from A (the most efficient) to G (least efficient).

The aim from government is to get as many homes as possible up to an EPC rating of C by 2035, and there are lots of changes you can make to older properties to achieve this.

So, what do homes with high EPC ratings look like, and what sort of features have been installed? We’ve taken a closer look at properties with a greater EPC rating, from new-builds showcasing the latest eco-friendly tech, to older homes that have boosted their EPC score with eco-friendly improvements.

Solar panels

Whether it’s a new build, originally created with solar panels and energy efficiency in mind, or an older home with solar panels more recently installed, there is no denying that solar panels can make a big difference when it comes to energy bills and overall efficiency.

The electricity produced by solar panels will be used to power any appliances currently in use within the home, with any excess electricity sent to the grid.

They work much like a hybrid car, if there isn’t enough sunlight (this is England after all), or you are using too much electricity, the system will pull from the grid to ensure your supply is not restricted. 

You generally don’t need planning consent for solar panels. However, if you live in a conservation area or a listed building you should check first. Also, if you’re your solar panels would be visible from the roadside of the property you made need to apply for planning permission.

It’s best to check with your local council planning officer if you’re not sure.

Internal or external wall insulation

One of the most common recommendations on an EPC is to install wall insulation. Approximately a third of all heat lost in an uninsulated home escapes through the walls, so it’s a good place to start.

Most homes in the UK have cavity walls, and the gap can be filled with insulation. 

If you have solid walls, these can be insulated from the inside or outside of your home.

Floor insulation

Insulating your ground floor if you live in a house, bungalow, or ground floor flat is another great way to save money on your heating bills and improve your EPC rating.

If you’re looking for a quick fix, you can seal the gaps between floors and skirting boards to reduce draughts yourself, using a tube of sealant bought from any DIY store.

Loft insulation
Unless you live in a ground or mid-floor flat, heat will escape from your home through the roof. While most homes have at least some loft insulation, often it’s not enough. Topping up from 120mm to at least 270mm of insulation will help. If your loft is easy to access and has no damp or condensation problems, it should be easy to insulate – and in many cases, it’s possible to do it yourself.

Increase hot water cylinder insulation

Insulating your hot water cylinder is another recommendation that’s often found in EPCs. A hot water cylinder jacket costs about £17, and fitting it is straightforward – just follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

If you already have a jacket fitted around your tank, check the thickness. It should be at least 80mm thick; if it isn’t, consider buying a new one. 

Heating controls
Installing and using heating controls effectively is another recommendation that requires a bit more investment, but could save you money in the long-term.

Replace your boiler 
If you’ve moved into an older home, your boiler might need upgrading. The costs for replacing an old inefficient boiler will vary, but a straightforward A-rated gas boiler replacement plus thermostatic radiator valves will typically cost about £4,000.

Replace single-glazed windows with low-E double-glazed windows
Making your windows more energy efficient is another common EPC recommendation – it will reduce your energy bills and make your home feel warmer. Double glazing is the most popular option, although costs vary depending on the materials and style. PVC windows tend to be cheaper, for example, while hardwood frames are the most expensive. 

If you are ever unsure of making changes to your home, please consult a professional.

Sources: Energy saving trust, Rightmove, EDF energy.

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