EPC – Improvement advice for 2025 please?

EPC – Improvement advice for 2025 please?

12:00 PM, 19th January 2022, About 4 months ago 59

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We are a company just starting our adventure into the BTL market – we own 1 property and are nearing completion on the second in the North East. This property is well into Level E of the EPC and I’m looking at options we can do during renovation to up the level getting ready for 2025.

One of the items I’m wanting to investigate is solar PV which seems to gain a lot of points, the other is thermal cladding – but being an end of terrace house, cladding seems to be very expensive. On the other hand, Solar PV (based on websites) seems to be doable if we can increase the rent from £500 to £550

In a discussion with our agent about this, his advice was to forget about this at present as:
* The legislation is still under discussion and will only apply to housing associations from 2025
* He expects the points basis will change as it did when level E was introduced – “suddenly all brick house complied with level E”
*The government, despite killing Green Homes, will make funding available for all house owners

Am I worrying unduly about this proposed legislative change?

Thanks in advance

Mike



Comments

by Laura Delow

12:24 PM, 19th January 2022, About 4 months ago

The consultation yet to be finalised states all residential properties (not just housing association properties) will need to be a C or above for new tenancies from April 2025 & existing tenancies by April 2028. The points basis could change & new grants are not a given & only "may" become available, but I suggest you meanwhile carry out the cheap inexpensive measures such as draft proofing doors & windows, ensure any loft space has min 270mm loft insulation, check the hot water cylinder has an insulation jacket & LED lights etc, & wait & see if the bigger more expensive improvements qualify for any future grants that may be launched as we get nearer to D Day, if the proposals go ahead as tabled.

by Rob Crawford

12:45 PM, 19th January 2022, About 4 months ago

If you are in the early stages of growing a portfolio you must consider the future cost implications of EPC and Environmental cost drivers. At present, to achieve Environmental policy you will have to move away from gas. But if you renovate to become all electric your EPC grade will get worse! There is a conflict between the policies. Solar panels on their own (circa £4500) or with batteries (£10k plus) will reduce the EPC and achieve environment aims. However, you have to consider the return on your investment. Also, be aware that when your return becomes positive you are likely to have to replace the batteries (& dispose of the old ones) and at some point replace the panels. Selling surplus energy back to the grid is not as profitable as it once was. Better to purchase newer, more energy efficient houses from the start!

by LaLo

12:50 PM, 19th January 2022, About 4 months ago

I may be able to cope with 'D' but there's talk of 'C' coming in! This would cost £1,000s, not worth it so will be time to retire and throw some people out on the streets- sorry!

by geester24

13:19 PM, 19th January 2022, About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Laura Delow at 19/01/2022 - 12:24
As a BTL landlord and having researched the loft insulation issue the big gain in points is 0 to 100mm (11), then you get 2 more points if you go to 200mm. Interestingly no more points from 200 to 270mm. You have to go to 400mm to get another point. So depends on the loft layout/structure and how you buy the insulation as to whether its worth it to 270 or 400mm. The algorithms may change of course.An A rated Valiant boiler plus TCVs for the rads and a room thermostat are good too.LED lighting of course.

by Seething Landlord

13:27 PM, 19th January 2022, About 4 months ago

Just one of our properties is currently in band D and solar panels were the only remotely practical recommendation that would move it into band C or better under the current system.

My thinking at the moment is that whatever changes to the EPC rating system or requirements to meet environmental impact standards might be in the pipeline, solar panels will make a positive contribution. Whether it would make economic sense to install them is an open question and as I have said whenever the issue has been raised, none of the questions can be answered with any certainty until the long awaited response to the consultation is published.

I think there is widespread agreement that the EPC rating system is not fit for purpose and it is rumoured to be under review so another reason to be cautious about spending money on costly changes that might prove unnecessary/ineffective.

by Si BB

14:25 PM, 19th January 2022, About 4 months ago

EPC -> For pre 1950's, EPC D is easily achievable >
- LED bulbs
- A decent GAS boiler (the new ones are better than stuff from 3 years ago!) - go combi if you can and ditch the hot water tank.
- TRVs on ALL rads + room thermostat + timer
- Double glazing
- Insulation at max for all points (so 400mm)

Make sure you keep all the receipts + FINRA paperwork.

Next - Talk to your EPC guy and ask for him to confirm assumptions before he starts work - remember that you get what you pay for - so cheap = assumes nothing is installed and your EPC will get worse!

You may find that you are a few points away from a C and then ask the EPC guy what would improve - you may find that just internally cladding 1 wall/floor gets you to a C...

by Robert Locke

15:03 PM, 19th January 2022, About 4 months ago

If the existing glazing has reached the end of its life, consider triple glazing. The additional cost is small, but it is heavily weighted on the EPC. The thermal weak point is the frame, which should be lapped over when installing internal or external wall insulation.

by Yvonne Francis

15:31 PM, 19th January 2022, About 4 months ago

It's all very great wondering about loft insulation, solar panels, heat pumps and all the like, but what really counts is how the person or company you employ assesses your property. It's all in my experience a bit hit or miss. I would if I were you just get an EPC done, accompany them as they often give tips they may not record, and just use their guidelines. After all it's what they say and nothing else. In my experience they don't bother to look in lofts, and certainly don't believe you if you know you have insulation but they can't see it. If you do any insulation you must ensure what evidence your EPC inspector requires.

As for the Minimum Energy Performance of Buildings ( No. 2) it's only at its second reading and anything could happen?

https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/3036

by Doug Hough

17:42 PM, 19th January 2022, About 4 months ago

If your EPC assessor doesn't bother to look in lofts where safe access is available then you need to find a new EPC assessor. Better still, report them to their Accreditation Scheme who can audit their reports and take disciplinary action against them.
As for providing evidence, this is essential. The legislation and methodology requires that the assessor collect evidence to prove their assessment otherwise it defaults to either the worst case scenario or the minimum requirements at the time of construction. The assessor must either see and photograph the feature or have suitable documents (e.g. building control sign off) to confirm that the work was completed.
With regard to assessment changes, there are regular updates but assessment of existing buildings generally follows changes to new building requirements. The new Building Regulations are now available, including details about primary energy metrics. The change to solid brick properties resulted from corrected values confirmed in newer research for heat loss through solid brick walls and only actually significantly changed the ratings for certain types of property if they had be properly assessed previously.
Always keep records of retrofit works, including expenditure, as these may be useful in proving any MEES exemption. However, spending more to complete works while a property is under renovation is still normally a lot cheaper and simpler then having to achieve the same down the line when a tenant is also involved.
I have seen plenty of buildings improved to a C or better with the right advice, many whose landlords thought it would be impossible. However, like everything, there are a wide range of assessors out there from experienced energy efficiency specialists to estate agent weekend staff who just do the certificate for a sale or lease. Cost of the EPC does not always reflect the service provided and don't be afraid to ask an assessor for advice or about their quality assurance audit record. Also find out if they are a registered retrofit assessor and can complete a full PAS2035 retrofit assessment. These generally cost more than an EPC but are intended for use in making property improvements.

by DSR

9:56 AM, 20th January 2022, About 4 months ago

From my perspective as the government have no idea yet of what they want to achieve then do nothing until direction comes.
I have just renovated three flats - one has existing gas boiler and according to the SAP/EPC is a C. The flat above has no gas, so thinking that electric is going to be the way to go forward ( reducing fossil fuels etc) I put in a top of the range elec boiler. EPC for this is a D. Had a chat with assessor and at the mo as the EPC assessments themselves do no reflect the more enviro friendly switch to elec boilers (in this example) then these are deemed lower rating than gas. A totally bonkers situation.

The EPC - the criterial and scoring need to be completely overhauled as they play a vital part in any assessment. At the moment they are conflictual with the apparent mode of travel towards electric, so what do you do? Install /replace gas with electric but score lower not but hope the assessment criteria changes, or carry on with what you do know but have an upgrade bill in the not too distant future?
I have pushed the assessor for more info but at the end of they day they can only guide you as to what they think - which they will readily admin is a guess to some degree as they have no idea what's coming either.
I am now left trying every quick win possible to tick off another point here on there to get EPC's over the C line in as cheap a way as possible, leaving the big cost items aside. The reality is whatever is decided on, I see insulation really as the only thing to focus on and if you can get that improved and get it over the line great - otherwise its a case of sitting and waiting to see what is coming then decide on a course of action. A shift in EPC algorithm may well produce different recommendations, so I'm going to sit and wait.

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