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Energy Experts Demand New EPC Regulations for Housing Market

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    Should There Be an EPC Overhaul in the UK Property Market?

    The Building Research Establishment (BRE), known for its extensive work in research, advice, training, testing, certification, and standards-setting within the housing sector, is urging a significant overhaul of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs).

    Read on for more information about what this could mean for property investment in the UK.

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      What Does the BRE Suggest for New EPC Regulations?

      A recent report by BRE titled ‘Energy Performance Certificates: Enabling the Home Energy Transition’ has coincided with the government’s consultation on a new Home Energy Model. This is intended to replace the existing Standard Assessment Procedure used for evaluating and comparing energy ratings of residential properties.

      According to BRE, EPCs have evolved into a cornerstone of demonstrating and discussing the energy efficiency of homes, with applications extending far beyond their original scope. They now play crucial roles in retrofit programs, regulatory frameworks, and financing.

      With the anticipated rise in the adoption of low-carbon heating technologies like heat pumps over the next decade, BRE argues that the EPC system must adapt accordingly.

      The report from BRE introduces various suggestions for the evolution of EPCs and the underlying processes to align better with net-zero targets:

      • Enhancing training for Domestic Energy Assessors to foster trust and confidence in the system and empower assessors to drive the transition towards net-zero housing stock.
      • Establishing a provisional EPC rating for the 40% of housing stock currently lacking formal EPC ratings.
      • Reducing the lifespan of EPCs from 10 years to 5 ensures homeowners receive more current advice and information.
      • Introducing new criteria for determining EPC ratings, which currently rely on the cost of heating and lighting a home.
      • Incorporating more detailed data into the EPC rating process facilitates the planning of energy-efficient retrofit measures.
      • Promoting greater utilisation of EPC certificate advice to enhance homes, as only 5% of homeowners did so in 2022, according to BRE.

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      What Do the Experts Think About UK EPC Regulations?

      Chief Executive of the Building Research Establishment, Gillian Charlesworth, said the following about the need for an EPC overhaul:

      “Energy Performance Certificates cover 60 per cent of UK homes and are a key source of information used in planning retrofit programmes and in government policies. But too often, home buyers and sellers see the certificates as just a bureaucratic necessity.

      “With targeted reforms, the government can ensure the EPC can really achieve its potential as a trusted starting point for advice and information on how we can all make our homes better.

      “The transition to clean energy in homes is starting to gather pace; the last few months have seen an upsurge in interest in installing heat pumps. Whether it’s clean heat, upgrading insulation, solar panels or other modern energy technologies, reforms to the EPC to make it more up-to-date, accurate and usable will be key to supporting homeowners play their part in the journey to net zero.

      “We urge policymakers to read this report and consider its recommendations as a way of driving the decarbonisation of the UK’s domestic building stock.”

      Find Out More: If you want to dive into more property investment insights, check out our guides like, ‘Can a foreigner buy property in the UK?’ and the best places to buy UK Airbnb property.

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        Should Buy-to-Let Investors Worry About EPC Ratings?

        So, should buy-to-let property investors concern themselves with EPC ratings?

        Energy bills have been a hot topic in the UK following periods of high inflation that have seen energy prices skyrocket. As such, many tenants look to a home’s EPC rating to determine whether the property will be affordable in the first place.

        By purchasing a property with good energy efficiency, such as a newly built apartment or investing in an off-plan property, investors can ensure their property is shielded against energy efficiency. They will also comply with more stringent EPC regulations that may come into action in the future.

        Delve deeper into the UK buy-to-let market with some of our comprehensive guides:


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        Dale Barham

        Dale is a property content writer at RWinvest. Keeping a close eye on the UK property market, Dale helps our readers stay informed and up to date on the latest market news and statistics.

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