EPCs ‘not fit for purpose’, government told
While Energy Performance Certificates are a “critically important policy tool” for delivering net zero homes, they are poorly suited to deliver better energy efficiency, the UK Climate Change Committee has said.
The CCC called for EPC reform in a letter to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, advocating for ratings that provide a wider and clearer range of information.
In the letter, Lord Deben, chair of the CCC, argued that the energy efficiency rating that EPCs show measures energy costs, rather than efficiency, and only include “certain aspects” of energy consumption.
Additionally, the ratings themselves use a scale from one to 100, rather than actual units.
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The letter said: “[EPCs] are a critically important policy tool for delivering net zero homes, but the present arrangements are not fit for purpose.
“The ratings on EPCs are used to define standards and targets for a range of policies aimed at reducing household emissions. However, the current rating metrics are poorly suited to this role and do not provide the clear information people need to understand the energy efficiency of their homes.”
Existing policies that use EPC ratings include the UK’s Net Zero Strategy, British Energy Security Strategy and minimum energy efficiency standards.
EPCs should have four primary metrics, the CCC said. These are:
- ENERGY | Total energy use intensity (kWh/sq m/yr), showing the overall energy use of a home
- FABRIC | Space heating demand intensity (kWh/sq m/yr), showing the underlying fabric efficiency of a home (excluding the impact of the heating system)
- HEATING | Heating system type (categorised by type and ranked from one to six), providing a hierarchy of heating system types
- COST | Energy cost intensity (£/sq m/yr), showing total home energy use.
The CCC argued that these changes would bring clarity and incentives for improvement for homeowners. For example, knowing a home’s energy or fabric score would tell the owner where they could make improvements.
Clearer metrics would also help create targeted policies, such as a mandating the use of certain types of heating systems.
Despite the added detail, the overhauled EPC system should continue to be split into bands – currently ranging from A to G – to allow for comparisons between properties.