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May 8

EPC Accuracy Revisited: Which? Calls for Overhaul

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A prominent consumer organization is urging for a comprehensive revamp of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs). With numerous UK households anxious about winter warmth and soaring energy costs, EPCs should serve as crucial guides.

As the UK approaches its 2050 Net Zero target, EPCs should play a significant role.

However, Which? emphasizes that a recent government survey has shed light on a concerning statistic: only 36% of the UK population are aware of or have knowledge of their EPC rating. This lack of awareness extends further, as only 29% of those familiar with their EPC reported having seen the section offering advice on enhancing their rating. This revelation underscores a significant gap in consumer knowledge regarding the energy efficiency of their homes.

Furthermore, Which? points to mounting evidence suggesting that many EPCs fail to provide accurate assessments of a home’s energy efficiency. This inaccuracy is compounded by the confusing nature of the metrics used, exacerbating the challenge for consumers to make informed decisions about energy efficiency improvements. In light of these findings, there’s a clear imperative to revamp the information provided in EPCs to better support consumers in navigating their energy efficiency choices.

Addressing these concerns, Which? advocates for comprehensive improvements in the presentation of EPCs to enhance their accessibility and utility for consumers. By providing clearer and more actionable information, EPCs can become valuable tools in empowering homeowners to make informed decisions about energy efficiency measures. Through these enhancements, homeowners can better understand their homes’ energy performance and take meaningful steps towards reducing energy consumption and costs.

The consumer body underscores the imperative for Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) to furnish consumers with pertinent, easily understandable, and precise information and guidance. According to Which?, recent government surveys have revealed that merely 36% of the UK population is aware of or has a sense of their EPC rating, and a mere 29% of those acquainted with their EPC have accessed the section offering advice on enhancing their rating.

Moreover, Which? asserts that there is ample evidence indicating that numerous EPCs fail to deliver an accurate assessment of a home’s energy efficiency. The metrics employed are often confusing for consumers, necessitating the provision of fresh information to support consumers in their decision-making process. Additionally, Which? advocates for enhancements in the presentation of EPCs to render them more accessible and beneficial to consumers.

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) demand a multifaceted approach to foster consumer understanding and support informed decision-making. To achieve this, EPCs should not be limited to a single headline metric but should incorporate a range of key indicators. These metrics, meticulously tested with consumers, could encompass not only the property’s energy usage but also its associated costs, the efficiency of its heating systems, and the broader environmental impact. By presenting this diverse array of information, consumers can gain a more comprehensive understanding of their property’s energy profile and make choices aligned with their preferences and sustainability goals.

Furthermore, as the transition from fossil fuel heating to low-carbon alternatives gains momentum, EPCs should play a pivotal role in guiding consumers through this shift. In addition to highlighting the environmental impact of existing heating systems, EPCs should provide insights into when these systems may need updating. Moreover, they should elucidate the potential benefits of transitioning to renewable energy sources, such as solar panels, and explore the feasibility of integrating heat networks into the property’s infrastructure. By equipping consumers with this knowledge, EPCs can empower them to embrace sustainable heating solutions and contribute to broader environmental objectives.

Moreover, the advice contained within EPCs should be tailored to the specific characteristics of each property, ensuring its relevance and accessibility to consumers. This advice should serve as a gateway to further information and resources, guiding consumers towards additional support and guidance as needed. By offering clear and actionable advice, EPCs can enhance consumer confidence and facilitate informed decision-making in matters related to energy efficiency and sustainability.

Additionally, EPCs should establish links to Building Passports or Log Books, serving as repositories for detailed information about the property and its plans. These comprehensive documents can provide valuable insights into the property’s construction, maintenance history, and potential areas for improvement. By facilitating access to this wealth of information, EPCs can empower consumers to take a more proactive approach to property management and maintenance, ultimately leading to improved energy efficiency and sustainability outcomes.

Which? advocates for enhanced accessibility to Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) data, proposing the development of user-friendly apps and online platforms. They emphasize the importance of regularly updated certificates and advocate for non-digital alternatives to ensure inclusivity for those without digital access.

Furthermore, Which? outlines specific demands to improve the efficacy and reliability of EPC assessments. They call for heightened standards among assessors, including a review of training requirements for Domestic Energy Assessors (DEAs) and enhanced auditing procedures. Additionally, they stress the need for transparent processes for consumer feedback and complaints regarding assessors.

Moreover, Which? highlights the significance of incorporating location data and up-to-date information on heating technologies into the Home Energy Model, the software used to generate EPC ratings. They propose measures to ensure the continuous evolution of EPCs, including requirements for regular updates and simplified procedures for consumers to update their certificates following insulation or heating system upgrades.

Lastly, Which? advocates for the transition to using actual performance data in EPC assessments. They propose a phased approach, promoting the integration of sensors in government and ECO-funded programs, as well as during the installation of new heating systems. This shift towards real-time performance monitoring aims to enhance the accuracy and effectiveness of EPCs in reflecting the energy efficiency of properties.


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Domestic Energy Assessors (DEAs), Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), EPC Accuracy Revisited: Which? Calls for Overhaul


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