Energy Performance Certificates slammed as ‘unreliable’ and in need of reform – Which?

Energy Performance Certificates slammed as ‘unreliable’ and in need of reform – Which?

10:09 AM, 18th June 2024, About 4 weeks ago 4

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Consumer champion Which? is urging the government to reform the system for Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs), saying they are ‘unreliable’.

It carried out an investigation that revealed inaccurate assessments and unhelpful recommendations from EPC surveys.

These could leave landlords and homeowners out of pocket and with misleading information about their homes’ energy use.

Which? wants EPCs to be reviewed to ensure better auditing and ensure assessors have the right training.

The investigation also found that many EPC recommendations are unrealistic and unaffordable for homeowners.

EPC are in desperate need of reform

Rocio Concha, the Which? director of policy and advocacy, said: “With millions of families worried about high energy bills and the UK facing a big challenge to transition to low carbon heating, Energy Performance Certificates could be a helpful tool for consumers looking to save money and improve their home’s efficiency in the future.

“However, our research shows they are in desperate need of reform – with current certificates often inaccurate and only suggesting costly improvements with long pay back periods.”

She added: “The next government must make Energy Performance Certificates a more reliable and useful tool for householders.

“This should include reviewing the auditing and training requirements for Domestic Energy Assessors and ensuring EPCs provide relevant information and clear, actionable advice for consumers.”

Commissioned EPC assessments on 12 properties

The consumer group commissioned EPC assessments on 12 properties across the UK and found numerous issues.

One homeowner never received a certificate after the assessment, while others reported incorrect descriptions of key features like windows and heating systems.

Several participants also felt the suggested improvements were expensive and impractical.

One homeowner was advised to install solar panels for a potential annual saving of £621, despite the upfront cost being £3,500 to £5,500.

Which? is now calling for a complete overhaul of EPCs and wants the government to:

  • Ensure the accuracy and reliability of assessments
  • Provide more relevant and up-to-date information for consumers
  • Include clear guidance on transitioning to low-carbon heating systems.

‘Uptake of energy efficiency improvements’

Propertymark’s head of policy and campaigns, Timothy Douglas, said: “Propertymark has long said that Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) could be better utilised through the introduction of a Property Passport to increase the uptake of energy efficiency improvements.

“This would enable information to be transferable across building owners and help maintain a long-term decarbonisation goal for the building.”

He added: “The process would not replace EPCs, but enhance them, creating an opportunity to capture EPC data digitally and add to it with other data over time.

“A Property Passport would also provide detailed guidance on the actions required, and already undertaken, to improve the property, based on building fabric and operational data helping building owners and occupiers make decisions to improve the energy efficiency of buildings.”


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Cider Drinker

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10:46 AM, 18th June 2024, About 4 weeks ago

We are moving towards evermore renewable energy. Why should it matter if my property has solar PV when the National Grid is powered by solar PV, wind and other renewables?

The environmental impact is almost the same. If anything, using the grid is more efficient and less damaging to the environment.

northern landlord

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12:55 PM, 18th June 2024, About 4 weeks ago

The whole EPC thing is a farce. A few days training and hey presto you are an EPC assessor. Energy efficiency should be the subject of actual measurements rather than assessments based on assumptions. Would cost more but would be reproducible (all assessors should give the same result on a property).
Where improvements are needed the cost should be recoverable in saved energy in less than five years. It is unrealistic to expect older properties to be modified to be as efficient as new builds.

Beaver

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9:43 AM, 20th June 2024, About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Cider Drinker at 18/06/2024 - 10:46
One of the advantages of favouring local power generation is that it makes the system more robust than an entirely centralised system and provides a backup power source.

But Which are right. Many of us have received inaccurate recommendations and unhelpful assessments. Often the outcome is that there is no viable way forward so you just don't bother with it and the whole thing is a tick-box exercise. I've never known a tenant take any interest in the EPC.

Reluctant Landlord

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13:16 PM, 20th June 2024, About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Beaver at 20/06/2024 - 09:43
I've never know a LL to be particularly bothered by what an EPC states either until the whole thing got political.

Most get an EPC to achieve the standard to be able to let - after that it's a simple decision of cost V return on what else a LL COULD do if they wanted to voluntarily achieve a higher rating.

Raising the bar to a C has to therefore still fulfil the same brief as any costs to raise standards will just mean higher rents.

I can't see a tenant wanting to pay £10 a month more in increased rent, to potentially save them £40 a year.

The EPC already gives an average consumption of energy for a property and I can tell you now, not one single tenant of mine uses anywhere near that amount. They don't put the heating on at all unless they have to. Working out 'savings made' by increasing an EPC therefore reduces even further when this is taken into consideration.

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