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Time for a rethink as only 3 out of 10 home buyers rate the EPC

Time for a rethink as only 3 out of 10 home buyers rate the EPC

We’ve often been at odds with the EPC, (Energy Performance Certificate) and it isn’t just us, the whole concept has been a bone of contention in the industry ever since their inception.

However, it appears the debate has now moved closer to home, with just 30% of homebuyers rating it as important, according to research by NatWest.

The findings were part of a major survey, the “Greener Homes Attitude Tracker”, which is based on responses from 4,500 people across the UK in the third quarter of 2021.

It found that only a small percentage of homebuyers considered the EPC rating of a property to be a ‘very important’ factor if purchasing a home in the next 10 years.

In fact, out of 12 different factors, the EPC was ranked as the fourth lowest and just 15 percent of households said that having an EPC rating of C or above was essential when selecting a property.

Unsurprisingly, risk of flooding was the highest factor, along with the need for fast internet speed!

As we write, the prime minister is addressing climate change at Cop26, and EPCs have often been part of the green agenda, however, far too many people are being somewhat misled into thinking that EPCs are the magic bullet.

We are approached every week by responsible landlords worried about meeting EPC requirements, given the narrative around electric radiators and their “inefficiency”.

So, as trusted advisors, we want to clear something up here about electric radiators, efficiency and the EPC.

Very simply, electric radiators are actually the most efficient at the point of use.

The problem is, the EPC focuses on the unit cost but this doesn’t tell the whole story.

False economy 7?

In some cases of course, such as a non-gas area, the recommendations being made for electric heating is via storage heaters that use the off peak tariffs.

However, this type of heating is falling out of favour with tenants and residents due to inefficiency and lack of control. In reality, they make it onto the favoured options list purely because they are being measured on the off-peak tariff versus the peak.

This means there is no consideration around behaviour and lifestyle.

In reality, people want to use heat when they need it and not have a warm house during the day when they are not in!

In terms of energy usage, storage heating is known for being inefficient and ineffective because of how much electricity it consumes – this is poles apart from the energy-efficient homes we foresee for the future.

So energy efficiency is surely the better measure, not unit cost? In any other walk of life we guard against getting something which appears cheap but in the long run is actually more expensive.

It will be interesting to see if anything more comes from the climate talks as the EPCs continue to mystify landlords, tenants and homeowners alike.

Tags: News.

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