Going further with energy saving, part 1: Energy Performance Certificates

Hi, it’s Miriam from team Bulb here. :wave:

At Bulb, we’re keen to support our members to save energy wherever they can, so we’re going to be sharing some resources here on community. If you’ve already exhausted the tips in our ‘Simple ways to save energy at home’ guide, and are hoping to make big changes to your energy usage, this is a great place to start. In this post, we’ll explain how to read your home’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

The first thing you’ll need to do is look up your EPC on this government website using your address. Your EPC is a certificate which breaks down the energy efficiency rating of your home and outlines the areas where you could be saving most. The highest rating you can get is an A, and the lowest is a G.

For example, if I look up my own home, I can see that my flat’s energy rating is D. This is the average rating for properties in England and Wales, and isn’t that surprising as it’s a Victorian conversion. In general, older homes will be less energy-efficient than new builds.

Lower down, I can see the specifics. It’s a solid brick home, with no insulation and only one double-glazed window. This means it will cost more to heat. But our landlord has installed an efficient boiler and thermostat, so we can choose to only put the heating on when we really need it. This helps us stay in control of our costs, especially over the winter.

If I scroll down the page, I can see the main energy saving recommendations for our home. These give you an estimated cost and yearly saving, so you can see how long it would take for any home improvements to pay for themselves. My EPC is a few years old, so the savings would likely be a bit bigger now.

My first recommendation is low energy lighting. This is a relatively cheap solution which would pay for itself in less than a year. Given the age of my EPC, this recommendation may not be up-to-date, but it has flagged a potential saving, so now I can check my lighting to make sure I’m using energy efficient bulbs. If not, I know it would be worth it to install some.

There are also some more high-impact recommendations listed, like insulating the roof, walls and floors. Naturally, these are much bigger investments that can make a big difference to how toasty you feel indoors.

You may be able to get these improvements funded through the ECO Scheme, which we’ll be discussing in another post. If you aren’t eligible for a grant, they are still worth thinking about, especially if you are a homeowner. We’ve got a useful guide on making your home more energy efficient if you’re interested in making bigger changes, too.

EPCs are about your property, not about you, so they won’t be tailored to your usage and habits. But they are a great starting point for learning more about your home and where your energy may be going so you can begin to reduce carbon emissions. All in all, I think they’re a really useful tool.

EPCs are valid for 10 years, but if you do make any changes, you can get your assessment updated. This usually costs between £40 and £120. Every property being rented or sold needs to have a valid EPC.

What do you think? Have you ever taken the time to look at your EPC before? If you have, did anything surprise you or encourage you to make any changes?


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