Government data reveals that just 2% of new houses built between April and June 2021 meet the top energy efficiency standard. This means that just 1,217 of the 61,655 new homes constructed during this period were rated EPC A.
What is the energy efficiency standard?
Since 2007, it has been a legal requirement to obtain an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) when selling, letting or building a property in the UK or Wales. An EPC is a document that outlines the energy performance of a residential or commercial building.
The report must be completed by a qualified energy assessor and the building is given an energy-efficient rating of A-G, with A being the most efficient and G being the least efficient. An EPC rating is based on various factors such as the efficiency of a property’s heating systems and building materials, along with energy-saving features.
The EPC report will also provide the property owner with recommendations to improve efficiency. For instance, by replacing drafty windows and doors or adding an extra layer of insulation in the loft or wall cavities.
Why is EPC rating important?
Following the conclusion of the COP26 summit, governments and organisations around the world have made commitments to reduce their CO2 emissions and strive toward net-zero. The UK government has set an ambitious target to become net-zero by 2050 in a bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change.
As part of the government’s net-zero strategy, a target has been set to make all homes in England and Wales achieve a minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of C by 2035. Currently, 40% of the UK’s total carbon footprint comes from buildings – according to the UK Green Building Council. This means that making homes more efficient will play an essential role in meeting the UK’s climate change commitments and achieving net-zero by 2050.
The new energy efficiency standards are being introduced to reduce housing emissions and make homes in England and Wales more sustainable. Making housing more energy efficient will also have an economic benefit, as it will reduce energy costs and help fight fuel poverty in the poorest areas of the UK.
How can I improve my EPC rating?
Government data shows that the average EPC rating in England and Wales is a D. This shows that we still have a long way to go to improve energy efficiency and meet environmental targets.
Here are four ways to make your property more energy-efficient:
Insulate your walls and roof
You can lose significant amounts of heat through a poorly insulated roof and walls. Installing extra insulation is one of the most effective ways to boost your energy rating and trim your heating bills.
Upgrade to LED lightbulbs
Replacing incandescent bulbs with LED lightbulbs is a quick and affordable upgrade that will improve your home’s energy efficiency and save you money.
Replace old windows
Experts at safestyle-windows.co.uk state that 18% of your home’s heating escapes out of your windows. They add that upgrading to energy-efficiency windows could save you approximately £120-155 a year in energy costs.
If your windows are old or drafty, then consider replacing them. Look for modern windows with energy-efficient features such as triple glazing and a high window energy rating.
Upgrade your heating system
The efficiency of your heating system has a big impact on your overall energy rating. Replacing an old boiler with a high-performance heating system can instantly boost your energy rating and save you significant amounts of money on heating costs.
Can I achieve an A rating?
EPC A is the highest rating a house can achieve and it essentially means that the building produces zero or near-zero carbon emissions. To achieve an A rating, your home would usually need a source of renewable energy generation e.g. solar panels and sustainable technology such as a high-performance heating system. Your property must achieve an energy score of 92 or higher to get an A rating.
Getting up to an A energy rating is difficult and it may be impossible for some buildings. For instance, many older properties that are rated an E could only realistically achieve a C rating with energy-saving upgrades. However, there are lots of things you can do to improve your energy rating and get it as close to an A as possible, especially if you live in a newer property.
Homes in England and Wales have become more energy-efficient, but there is still a long way to go to reduce housing emissions and meet net-zero targets. Making buildings more energy-efficient will play a crucial role in helping the UK achieve its climate change targets and create net-zero homes by 2050.