An EPC tells you how energy efficient your home is, giving it a rating from A (very efficient) to G (inefficient), as well as recommendations on how to improve it.
An EPC includes information on what the energy efficiency rating could be if you made the recommended improvements and highlights cost effective ways to achieve a better rating.
Why should you improve the EPC rating of your home?
Properties with higher EPC ratings are generally more attractive to potential home buyers or renters; the more energy efficient a home is, the less it will cost to heat and light.
If you have some money to invest in improving the energy efficiency of your home, the best place to start is by looking at the recommendations on its Energy Performance Certificate. Even if you rent, you could still implement some improvements noted on the EPC, such as switching to more energy efficient light bulbs.
In this guide, we run through the top EPC recommendations to help you understand how much you could save on your energy bills by making changes to your home.
Internal or external wall insulation
One of the most common recommendations on an EPC is to install wall insulation. Given that around one third of all the heat lost in an uninsulated home escapes through the walls, it’s a good place to start.
Most homes in the UK have cavity walls, and the gap can be filled with insulation. We estimate that insulating your cavity walls could save you around £395 a year on your energy bills.
If you have solid walls, these can be insulated from the inside or outside of your home. While costs and savings vary, we estimate a semi-detached house could save around £540 a year after installing solid wall insulation.
Insulating your ground floor if you live in a house, bungalow or ground floor flat is another great way to save money on your heating bills and improve your EPC rating.
Insulating under the floorboards could save you around £110 a year in an average property, or up to £180 if you live in a detached house. If you’re looking for a quick fix, you can seal the gaps between floors and skirting boards to reduce draughts yourself, using a tube of sealant bought from any DIY store.
Unless you live in a mid-floor flat, heat will escape from your home through the roof. While most homes have at least some loft insulation, often it’s not enough. Topping up from 120mm to at least 270mm of insulation will help – and it’ll save you around £55 each year on your bills. What’s more, if your loft is easy to access and has no damp or condensation problems, it should be easy to insulate – and in many cases, it’s possible to do it yourself.
Low energy lighting
Upgrading the lighting in your home is a quick win for every property’s EPC, if you haven’t already done so. If an average house replaced traditional and halogen lightbulbs with energy efficient LEDs, it would cost around £90 and should save £65 a year.
Increase hot water cylinder insulation
Insulating your hot water cylinder is another recommendation that’s often found in EPCs. A hot water cylinder jacket costs about £17, and fitting it is straightforward – just follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
If you already have a jacket fitted around your tank, check the thickness. It should be at least 80mm thick; if it isn’t, consider buying a new one. Topping up your insulation from 25mm to 80mm thick, using a British Standard jacket, could save you around £70 a year.
Installing and using heating controls effectively is another recommendation that requires a bit more investment, but could save you money in the long-term.
If you already have a thermostat, try turning it down by just one degree to save around £145 a year. If you don’t have any heating controls, installing and using a full set (which includes a programmer, room thermostat and thermostatic radiator valves) can result in significant savings.
While you’ll have to pay around £600 for the full installation, you’ll save £180 each year in an average semi-detached house. That’s a payback period of less than four years!
Replace boiler with new condensing boiler
If you’ve just moved into an older home, your boiler might need upgrading. The costs for replacing an old inefficient boiler will vary, but a straightforward A-rated gas boiler replacement plus thermostatic radiator valves will typically cost about £4,000.
The payback comes in the form of around £540 a year reduction in your bills (in a semi-detached house), which might ease the pain a little if you need to replace your boiler.
Replace single glazed windows with low-E double glazed windows
Making your windows more energy efficient is another common EPC recommendation – it will reduce your energy bills and make your home feel warmer. Double glazing is the most popular option, although costs vary depending on the materials and style. PVC windows tend to be cheaper, for example, while hardwood frames are the most expensive. By installing A-rated double glazing to windows in an entirely single-glazed semi-detached gas heated property, you could save £195 a year.
Solar photovoltaic panels
If your budget for EPC improvements stretches to some bigger home renovation ideas, consider installing solar panels. These are the most common domestic renewable energy source in the UK – and once you’ve paid for installation, your energy costs will be significantly reduced.
We estimate solar panels cost around £5,500 to install – but you’ll see savings of around £325 a year*. What’s more, you’ll cut your household carbon emissions by an impressive 680kg of carbon dioxide a year.
*Savings based on a household in North England, home all day and includes export payments. Based on a Smart Export Guarantee tariff of 5p/kWh.