The 22nd – 26th of September is World Green Building Week and the UK Green Building Council is encouraging all of us to “Get up, Green up”.
So what can we do? What springs to mind to help reduce energy consumption?
1. Turn the TV off standby?
2. Turn out the lights when you leave the room?
3. Install low energy light bulbs for when you do need the lights on?
4. Look at you homes EPC certificate?
I expect the first 3 are very familiar but perhaps number 4 is one that may leave one or two people scratching their heads and turning to the all-knowing entity that is Google for inspiration.
An EPC is the Energy Performance Certificate for your house. Whenever you sell or rent, you must, by law have an EPC for the property. For many people, when selling the house, this is just another annoying expense top on top of all the other many forms and documents that are required at this stressful time. The EPC survey gets done, you get the EPC report, perhaps give it a passing glance as you stuff in a file then and move onto more pressing matters as the trauma that is ‘moving house’ engulfs you.
When you move into your new house of course, there will be an EPC report waiting for you, as the previous owners will have had to get one done as well. Once again though, the fun that is unpacking boxes, sorting out utility companies, and generally trying to maintain your grip on reality tends to mean most of us will just leave the EPC report in a file, only to be discovered when we decide to move all over again.
So, the one of the best ways to help with sustainability is to Get Up, find your EPC report and see how you can Green Up your property.
An EPC rating (from A being the best through to G being as far away from great as you can get) is a bit like the housing equivalent of the miles per gallon on your car. However, the EPC report does more than just tell you the rating, it tells you how to:
- Increase the efficiency of your home so you can move up the EPC scale
- Reduce your home’s impact on the environment
- Save yourself money on your energy bills.
Here is page one of an example EPC taken from the Government website
What does an EPC include?
- Estimated energy costs of the home
- Savings possible if improvements are made to the lighting, heating and hot water
- Current and potential future (if recommendations are followed) Energy Efficiency Rating
- Top actions that can be taken with cost and saving on each
Armed with this information you can set about planning the work that needs to be done to do your bit for the environment and ease the burden on your back pocket. The EPC even lists those measures that are eligible under the Government’s Green Deal scheme, where you do not have to put any money up front and the cost of the measures is paid for out of the savings on your fuel bills.
If the idea of Green Deal doesn’t appeal and you are not too fussed about having lower fuel bills there is another reason to Get Up and Green Up by following the EPC recommendations: House Prices.
Research by DECC showed that those properties with a higher EPC rating commanded a higher selling price.
|EPC Rating||% Higher selling price compared to ‘G’ rating|
|E & F||6%|
|D & E||8%|
|A & B||14%|
Need more convincing?
If all that isn’t enough to convince you, there is political talk in the run up to the next general election that encouragement is needed to get the population to help reduce the CO2 emissions from existing buildings.
At the moment 27% of the UK’s CO2 emissions come from homes. How to incentivise us, the voters? Tax. It is possible that tax breaks, perhaps on Stamp Duty or Council Tax will be possible and they will be linked to ….. yes, you guessed it, the EPC rating of your home.
There are many good reasons to Get Up, Green up and seek out that EPC report. If you act upon the recommendations: your bills will reduce; your property value will go up, and one day you might even get one over on the Tax Man. The planet will thank you as you do your bit for a sustainable environment. Everyone’s a winner.