EPC Ratings Explained

by Solar Selections on February 10, 2012

With the announcement of Phase Two of the UK’s Solar Feed-in Tariff (FiT) emerging yesterday, the respective Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings and their relationship with the FiTs can now be reviewed. This article will explain what an EPC is, the ratings properties will need to access the full FiTs and how best to go about achieving the required ratings.

Solar Selections can provide Solar Quotes from the most competitive Solar Installers in the UK. Request a free Solar Quote Comparison by filling out the form to the right of this page or call 020 7205 2267 for more information.

The Energy Performance Certificate

Energy Efficiency and Environmental Impact

An EPC is comprised of two main assessments; Energy Efficiency and Environmental Impact.

Energy Efficiency is self explanatory; reflecting how effectively energy that is needed around the property is used. A higher rating means a more effective use of energy. Environmental Impact is essentially a measurement of how much Carbon Dioxide is emitted from the property. The higher a rating on the Environmental Impact rating; the less CO2 is emitted.

EPC’s show the current and potential energy usage of a property through the government’s approved Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP). The basic underpinning of the SAP Rating is a points based system ranging from 0 to 100. When a property has an EPC assessment it is given a SAP rating score within this margin, higher scores denoting more efficiency.

EPC Bands

The SAP bands have been divided into seven categories that summarise a property’s energy efficiency and environmental impact.

  • A: 92-100 SAP Points
  • B: 81-91 SAP Points
  • C: 69-80 SAP Points
  • D: 55-68 SAP Points – SOLAR FIT MINIMUM
  • E: 39-54 SAP Points
  • F: 21-38 SAP Points
  • G: 1-20 SAP Points

The DECC have established that a property must have a minimum EPC rating of category ‘D’ in order to receive the full FiT’s. If a property has solar panels installed after April 1st, 2012 and has a lower EPC rating than ‘D’, it will only be eligible for a generation tariff rate maximum of 9 pence per kWh. Basically, it is not a wise move to install solar under such circumstances; so all properties installing solar after April 1st 2012 should aim to have their ECP ratings above ‘D’ before doing so.

Establishing a D Rating

Okay so properties will need to have at least 55 SAP Points to be eligible for the full FiTs. The DECC have claimed that approximately 51% of domestic properties in the UK will already be at this level. It is also estimatedthat approximately 65% of all commercial properties may already pass into this band. EPC assessments can be arranged through registered organisations, vary in cost greatly and are necessary before FiT applications and solar installations are carried out.

  • Domestically expect to pay from £40 – £80 for an EPC assessment. The process should take two to three hours to complete.
  • Commercial building owners need to be aware that an EPC assessment involves a comprehensive and usually more expensive process. It is recommended that you shop around and compare quotes from several outlets before soliciting the process, but expect to pay at least £150.

There are a few relatively cheap and straightforward improvements to a domestic property that will contribute to achieving an EPC ‘D’ rating.

  1. Condensing Boiler – 47 SAP Points
  2. Cavity Insulation – 13 SAP Points
  3. Roof Insulation – 10 SAP Points
  4. Cylinder Stat and Insulation – 8 SAP Points
  5. Double Glazing – 4 SAP Points
  6. Low Energy/LED Lighting – 2 SAP Points

The majority of homes will already have a condensed boiler, meaning a simple and relatively cheap insulation of the roof or cavity wall will result in EPC ‘D’ status right away. For this reason, home insulation stands to be the single most effective method for domestic properties in becoming solar ready. Solar Selections work with some of the most prominent insulation services in the UK and can arrange a no obligation survey for you immediately. Home insulation usually costs between £100 to £300 and pays for itself alone in less than three years. Contact us today for more information on this and other methods to increase your EPC rating, compare our comprehensive network of solar quotes and start saving on your bills.

Written by Jarrah Harburn

jarrah@solarselections.co.uk

T: 020 7205 2267

© 2012 Solar Selections Ltd

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul March 3, 2012 at 11:32 pm

A few questions:
I don’t have gas, so no condencing boiler.
I have oil fired aga and storage heaters. what SAP?
Roof insulation; what is recommended, I have 180mm?
Does secondary glazing count as double glazing?
Electric bill in region of £600/a
Oil for aga in region of £800/a
All seem to quote figures assuming one has a gas boiler!
Regards, Paul

Reply

admin March 12, 2012 at 11:34 am

Hi Paul,
The SAP ratings of your storage heaters and oil fired AGA are difficult to determine without an EPC assessment taking place on the home. We have installers that will conduct the assessment for you, then reduce the cost of the system according to the cost of the EPC appraisal. Alternatively we can help arrange this for you, EPC assessments cost in the vicinity of £50-£100 for a residential property. For further details, please give us a call on T: 0207 1988 388 .
The ideal roof insulation thickness is 200mm; your 180mm will suffice and increasing it will not be worthwhile in terms of SAP or the property’s heat retention. Regarding the glazing, Secondary Glazing is often more effective than double glazing as it produces a larger vacuum gap between panes.
A further factor to consider is that the solar PV installation will actually add a further minimum 11 SAP points to your rating and that you do have the full 12 months after installation to raise your rating to EPC ‘D’ whilst you receive the full tariff.
Regards,
Jarrah Harburn
jarrah@solarselections.co.uk
Solar Selections

Reply

B Quinn November 1, 2012 at 7:40 pm

I am a trustee for a community arts project which consists of interconnected village church building, a hall with two rear artists studios and a converted manse, which houses a small cafe and 6 small artists studios. The church and the manse are grade 2 listed buildings, the hall and the rear studios are not. We are hoping to install 3.5kwhp PV panels on the rear studio roof but are unsure what tariff we would qualify for and if an EPC would be required.
Thanks
Bernie

Reply

Solar Selections November 2, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Hello Bernie,

Thank you for your comments. One of our Solar Brokers will be in touch shortly to help you with this project.

Regards,

The Solar Selections Team

Reply

Mick Morley January 6, 2013 at 5:36 pm

I already have 4kV of solar PV and 30 tube solar hot water installed. The units generated and the FITs received result in more money received than costs for heating and power for the house. However I do not have a condensing boiler. Does the EPC scoring system take account of these?

Reply

Solar Selections January 23, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Hi Mick.

Thanks for commenting.

Yes, the EPC assessment does account for the presence of Solar PV and Solar Hot water systems. However the amount they contribute is up to the assessor. We would suggest that you get an EPC done–it only costs about £40.

Good luck!

Reply

Alex January 16, 2013 at 3:26 pm

I’ve just had a home report carried out.
Recommended measures include low energy lighting at a cost of £40, saving £69 ovver 3 years, Heating controls costing £450 saving £84 over 3 years and solar water heating costing £6000 saving £78 over 3 years. The trouble is it would take 16 years to break even on heating controls and 230 years to break even on the solar panels. Explain to me if you can why these are recommendation apparently supported by the Crown Office?

Reply

Solar Selections January 22, 2013 at 9:53 pm

Hi Alex,

Thanks for the comment. May I ask where you got those figures from? Obviously anyone investing in energy efficiency or solar panels will want to shop around to ensure good returns–the ones you refer to are admittedly abysmal, and it’s unlikely that anyone would put money into them. In our experience, the typical payback time for a solar PV system (not solar hot water), for example, is around 7 years, with a return on investment rate of about 7-10%.

In addition to working with a network of solar system installers, Solar Selections also works with a number of the UK’s most competitive energy efficiency companies.

Contact us if you feel like discussing your options further: 0207 1988 388.

Reply

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