When you’re moving into a new home, then the energy efficiency rating is going to be one of the main selling points than an estate agent uses to try and advertise the home. And equally, if it has a poor energy efficiency, then many people are put off of buying a home, especially if there’s no potential room for improvement.
But the truth is that even if we do know the EPC rating of a property, most people won’t be able to accurately judge the difference between two properties that have a different rating. And I mean, if you’re only going to save £50 or £100 per year, then for some people it may not be worth doing. So, we’re going to look at these energy ratings and how they’ll affect the costs in your home.
EPC rating A vs B vs C vs D: Cost & Energy Efficiency explained
Okay, first things first let’s explain what an EPC rating is. These terms are often interchangeable for each other, but they mean the same thing; energy rating, EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating, energy efficiency score- they can be called different things, but they’re all one and the same. Essentially, the government uses their Standard Assessment Procedure to give your property a score from one to a hundred, scaling down depending on how energy efficient it is.
Most people will be looking for a difference in cost between the two, so we’ll use a British Gas tariff for this example (check here for our British Gas review). The difference in energy bills over the course of a year between a G rated property and a A rated property is around £1500, and we can scale this at every improvement inbetween.
That means that we can assume, on average, that for every full step up the ladder that you improve your efficiency, you could save up to £250 each time. Taking your home from a D to B can save you £500 per year, and obviously much more than this when the years add up. So, improving your Energy Performance Certificate rating is one way you can save money.
Plus, it’s also worth considering that it’s actually not legal to rent out a property that has an F or a G rating, with a proposal that the government will increase their minimum energy efficiency standards to a C by 2025-28. This will definitely be tough for some buy-to-let property owners, though it’s likely an inevitable decision to try and reduce carbon emissions and environmental impact of our energy usage.
Ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency
We should all be targeting that dark green spot on our Energy Performance Certificate, but the truth is that most of us won’t get there. The average rating in the UK is still a D, and although it’s fairly straightforward to improve, the potential cost puts a lot of people off of doing it.
There are a variety of different ways that someone can improve the EPC rating of their home, but a few stand out as the best value for money. For the best potential savings, you really want to focus on the things that will make a big difference first. This includes;
- Double glazing – If your home doesn’t have double glazing already, then it definitely should. This can end up saving hundreds of pounds per year in the energy that it retains through winter, as it’ll stop any heat escaping from your home.
- Insulation – Making sure that your house is fully insulated is another really easy way to improve the EPC rating of your home. This can be done in a variety of different ways, but the best known one is probably insulating your loft. Better insulation is one of the best ways to jump up from a D or E to a C rating.
- Using low energy bulbs – In terms of cost to impact, this may be the best thing that you can choose to do in your home. Switching over to low energy bulbs as opposed to normal ones can save you a lot of energy each year.
These are the easiest ways to get a better energy rating. You can also look at getting solar panels installed and other options, but this will require a little bit more time and effort than many people would like to put in.
The truth is that the EPC rating of your home definitely does matter, and it’s of increasing importance to the government. In fact, there’s even talk of an increased restriction that private rentals will need to be C rated or higher in the not too distant future, which puts pressure on landlords to meet these requirements.
So if you can find a home with a rating of this or better, then it’s probably a good idea to go for it. And if it’s an F or G rating with difficulty to improve it, then maybe it’s best to avoid purchasing it – especially with the new government regulations over renting as they hope to reduce energy consumption.