Energy Performance Certificate

Energy Performance Certificates tell you how energy efficient a home is on a scale of A-G.

The most efficient homes - which should have the lowest fuel bills - are in band A. The Certificate also tells you, on a scale of A-G, about the impact the home has on the environment. Better-rated homes should have less impact through carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

The Energy Performance Certificate is broadly similar to the certificates found on many domestic appliances. A Certificate for a building gives the building an asset rating based on its energy efficiency, but doesn't take into account how the home is used by the occupiers.

In order to obtain the energy rating on your home, Astin's have a Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA) who will attend your property to make a detailed inspection and calculate the rating.

The DEA will look particularly at the age, size and construction of the property, the heating system, the glazing system and type of insulation at the property.

The DEA will require access to all areas of the property, including the loft space, all heating systems and service meters. Whilst the inspection will not be instructive, the DEA will have to take photographs and property measurements as evidence of his inspection.

It would be useful if you could have to hand the instruction manual of your current heating system, together with any other information relating to specification or guarantees which are pertinent to the heating and insulation of the property which may be use.

Once the DEA has gathered all the information he requires, the data is inputted onto a software system and the rating is generated automatically. This information is then logged with Landmark Information Group, who registers the EPC on a national database on behalf of the Government. The EPC can be accessed by any person who has the reference number of the Certificate via the Landmark website. The gathering and recording of this information is part of the Government's objective to meet regulations set down by the European Union Directive 2002/91/EC which aims to promote improvements in the energy performance in buildings.

How to make your home more energy efficient

Improving the energy efficiency of your home can mean either making changes to the building, or simply changing your behaviour to save energy. Energy Performance Certificates will give you advice on both of these areas.

Installing energy-efficient measures

Here is a list of some of the measures that the certificate might recommend:

  • LOW-ENERGY LIGHTBULBS. These last up to 12 times longer and use around 80 per cent less energy than traditional filament bulbs HOT WATER TANK JACKETS. These cost from around £10, and can cut heat loss by around 75 per cent.
  • LOFT INSULATION. Fitting insulation that is at least 250mm thick could cut heat loss by around 30 per cent.
  • CAVITY WALL INSULATION. If you have unfilled cavity walls, installing insulation could cut heat loss by over 30 per cent.

The cost of the measures recommended will vary, but the certificate will distinguish between those that cost under £500 (such as those above) and those that could cost more, such as double glazing or new heating systems. The certificate will also list further measures that will help achieve the highest possible ratings for the home, but which could be expensive and will take more than seven years to repay their cost in energy savings.

Behaviour changes

There are also simple ways that you can improve your energy efficiency, simply by changing how you use your home: Check that your heating system thermostat isn't set too high (21 degrees C in the living room is suggested), and use the timer or programmer so you only heat your home when necessary Make sure your hot water isn't too hot. Your cylinder thermostat shouldn't need to be set higher than 60 degrees C/140 degrees F Turn off lights when they aren't needed, and don't leave appliances on standby. Remember not to leave chargers (e.g. for mobile phones) turned on when you aren't using them.