Energy Performance Certificates
As of 21 May 2010, the controversial Home Information Pack (HIP) is no more. As one of their first changes in office, Housing Minister Grant Shapps and Communities Secretary Eric Pickles have scrapped the HIP, stating:
'The expensive and unnecessary Home Information Pack has increased the cost and hassle of selling homes and is stifling a fragile housing market.'
The Government hopes that by removing the obligation to have a HIP in place before marketing a property, home owners will be able to regain some autonomy and the freedom to act more spontaneously, which in turn should stimulate the market. Nevertheless, home owners are still obliged to commission an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) before marketing the property (although you don't have to have received it before you go ahead).
What Is An EPC?
Domestic appliances have been carrying energy ratings for some years - those colourful banded charts that rate the energy efficiency from A to G, with A being the most efficient. All new homes and homes being sold or let must now be assessed to find out how energy efficient they are, and where they fall on the crucial chart of doom - will yours lie in the saintly green zone or lurk in the red depths of carbon squander?
A second chart shows your home's environmental impact in terms of its carbon dioxide emissions. The EPC will contain a report of what you can do to reduce your home's energy use and carbon emissions, and a 'potential' rating to show what rating it could have if these recommendations are carried out. A third chart details an estimate of the annual cost of heating or lighting the property, for example, and the potential cost after improvements are made.
Why And How To Get An EPC
All new buildings now require an EPC when they are built, but you'll also need to provide an EPC if you're selling your home or letting it.
The EPC is an essential part of selling your home and you must have it commissioned before you put your home on the market.
Whether you're getting an EPC because you're selling, or if you need it to let your property, you'll need to contact an accredited Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA).
An EPC is valid for 10 years. However, if you make major changes in that time, such as fitting double glazing or changing the boiler, it may be worth commissioning a new one to reflect these.
How Much Does It Cost?
The average is around £100, although we can offer them at a discounted rate. This does vary slightly according to the size of the house being assessed.
What Does It Cover?
The DEA will be looking at what insulation your home has, its windows, hot-water system, radiators, light bulbs, ventilation and so on. They will take into account the size, age, position and type of property and will discuss with you what measures you have been taking to reduce energy use.
What Happens During An Assessment?
Last year, 4Homes' Editor Lucy Searle invited a DEA to assess her home. 'I was pleasantly surprised by how much information I was able to give the DEA and how much she was able to give me back,' explained Lucy. 'It felt more like a conversation than the dressing down I had expected. However, the assessment isn't perfect. My home doesn't have a loft space - it simply wasn't built with one - but the form didn't allow for that. Instead, I was marked as having "no loft insulation", despite the fact that the roof is insulated.'
How Should I Prepare For It?
There is no obligation for a homeowner to get a good energy rating for their property, but if you feel that improving your home's environmental impact will help you sell, there are some fairly simple and low-cost changes you could make before the assessment:
- Replacing every light bulb with an energy-efficient version
- Properly insulating your hot-water cylinder
- Insulating your loft or improving any existing insulation
- Fitting thermostatic valves to your radiators