The missing piece of the Jigsaw

Over the years Elmhurst and our members have had numerous discussions with homeowners about EPCs and why the data may not reflect their own experiences. Whilst not a new message we thought it might be useful to publish this description to help build that understanding.

The following two statements are flung around too easily:

“These aren’t my fuel bills?”

Correct– however the RdSAP rating is not about the homeowner, but the property (the asset). It has always been an assessment of the property, providing an average running cost for an average family. This is useful information which can influence the buying decision of families; so that if they wanted to live in a warmer cheaper to run home, they would rent/buy higher rated properties than colder, more expensive alternatives.

Rather like a fridge or a car, more information makes it an easier decision for people. Rather like the car miles per gallon, the average is the average.

“It’s just too simple – they are not accurate!”

False, there are now over 100 specific inputs into RdSAP. It started life in 2007 as a much simpler methodology but over a quick space of time it has rapidly expanded to include and cover modern technologies such as Wind, Solar Water Heating, Photovoltaic, Waste Water Heat Recovery, Triple Glazing, U-values, numerous heating inventions as well as party walls and more extension possibilities. 

RdSAP is updated regularly, with new heating systems added each month, and fuel prices updated every 6 months to ensure they track the national trends.

A professional assessment is carried out that doesn’t involve drilling holes etc. It is very much built along the lines of any Surveyors report, which is about observing all the items as they were on the day. It is a repeatable assessment and one which does what is says, it delivers an energy assessment of the home and indentifies any energy efficiency improvements that could be done to improve the home, making it warmer and cheaper to run.

Occupancy Assessment Required:

A homeowner or tenant should then be able to use the asset rating, adding some occupational information e.g. times and temperatures of the heating patterns; allowing a more ‘accurate’ calculation to be performed which will help those occupiers understand how they will and should use the home more efficiently.

This is something that Elmhurst will be advocating to Government over the next 12 months in terms of making families engage with energy efficiency. An EPC is key to understanding the asset, and with this expanded to include occupants, it becomes more tailoured for the occupying family.

Here at Elmhurst we value quality EPCs and we back our assessors to be the best trained and most knowledgeable in the industry. They receive technical bulletins, first class CPD and regular news articles advocating quality and accuracy of EPCs.

We are finally starting to measure our housing stock (the asset ratings), now it is about time we started to use this information to manage it. We still have far too many families in Fuel Poverty and our mission to create an energy efficient society – this means we will continue to campaign for quality EPCs, advocating for occupancy assessments on homes and we back our thousands of quality assured assessors to deliver them.

Article Published: 23rd November 2017

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