We now live in a world where we’re bombarded with a range of energy saving tips that both help the environment and reduce our living costs. While we do our best to adopt these new practices and build them into our everyday lives, it’s difficult to adopt all of them. Reuse this, recycle that, switch this on then, only use that later… it can be quite difficult to build your life around these new habits, and then we get frustrated with ourselves when we can’t keep on top of everything we’ve learned.
So, for those of us who don’t always have the time to perform all these energy saving duties, wouldn’t it be nice to know which one thing would make the biggest difference?
The Climate Change Act and the EPC
Back in 2008 the UK government created the Climate Change Act, which aimed to do something about the country’s unhealthy reliance on fossil fuels. As a result, the UK is now committed to reducing its carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 (as measured against the 1990 baseline). It was a bold commitment and one that the country has therefore heavily invested in by offering grants for products and services that will seriously reduce a home’s carbon emissions.
Basically, if you’re a UK resident and you want to know your home’s potential in terms of energy efficiency, you can consult something called an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This certificate is needed when a property is built, sold or rented.
What does the EPC tell me?
The EPC tells you how energy efficient your home is right now, and how energy efficient it could be in the future (depending on whether you can make improvements, such as a new gas central heating system, loft and wall insulation, double glazed windows and solar panels).
Each EPC gives a home a number, which corresponds to a rating between A and G. Like appliances, if your home is A-rated then it is very energy efficient and means you have lower running costs and lower energy bills as a result. If it’s G-rated then it’s not energy efficient and you’ll be burning more oil or gas to keep warm.
Also, each EPC gives a potential rating based on the same A-G scale. If your current rating is D and your potential rating is B, then there is an excellent opportunity to make changes to improve the energy efficiency of your home.
How can I improve the energy efficiency of my home?
Each home is assessed individually, so the recommendations that come with the EPC are specific to your property. They list all potential works, irrespective of cost. One of the most common recommendations is A-rated double glazed windows.
It’s surprising how much heat is lost through old, draughty single glazed windows. The A-rated double glazed windows let in more heat than what escapes, which means your boiler doesn’t have to work as hard, your carbon emissions reduce and you save money on your energy bills! You can visit the Anglianhome.co.uk website to see how much of an impact they can have on the energy efficiency of your home.
How do I get an EPC?
The existence of such a certificate may come as news to you – especially if you have been living in the same home for more than six years since EPCs were only introduced in 2007. While they are generally only requested by people looking to sell or rent their homes, there is nothing to stop you from requesting one yourself by contacting a domestic energy assessor.
There is also an online database where you can view other properties’ EPCs in order to view their energy efficiency ratings, in case you are thinking of moving or just want to know out of curiosity.