Heating and Lighting Costs
In addition to the energy cost and environmental impact ratings, the EPC also states the predicted costs for heating, domestic hot water and lighting of the dwelling. It should be noted that the cost of energy for other purposes, such as cooking and using other electrical appliances is not assessed.
The predicted costs are not based on the current householder’s actual use of the dwelling; they are based on standardised assumptions as to heating, hot water and lighting in use. In this way a prospective purchaser or tenant can use the EPC as an objective comparison between one dwelling and another.
The actual energy use of different households in similar dwellings can vary dramatically. For example one dwelling may be occupied by a single person who heats only a few rooms for a limited part of the day, whereas the neighbours may be a large family heating all of the dwelling for long periods to high temperatures.
Summary of the Dwellings Energy Performance Features
The EPC contains a table giving a description of the energy performance of certain features, such as walls, roof, windows and heating/lighting systems. The descriptions used come from a table written into the SAP methodology and currently run from “Very Poor” to “Very Good”. They are generated automatically by the data entry and are not chosen directly by the assessor.
The descriptions are set against a high standard of energy performance with “Good” or “Very Good” being difficult to achieve without low or zero carbon technologies being utilised in the dwelling. For example, a well controlled conventional heating system might have a programmer, room thermostat and thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs), but this will only generate a description of “Average”.
The EPC may include a table of recommended energy saving improvements. These are standard text and also driven by data entry, rather than being written and chosen by the energy assessor.
Recommendations will only be included if the software predicts that they will be worthwhile and make a significant improvement to the energy rating of the dwelling.
Occupiers must ensure that they take appropriate professional advice from reputable contractors before proceeding with the suggested improvements and must understand that there is no guarantee that the predicted savings listed in the EPC will be achieved. Much will depend on the individual circumstances and energy use of the household.
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