EPC Legislation 🔠

New energy efficiency standards will be introduced in the Scottish Private Rented Sector. The new EPC Legislation will mean that all private rented properties will need to reach a minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of C by 2025 where technically feasible and cost-effective, at change of tenancy, with a backstop of 2028 for all remaining existing properties.

There have been some debate as to the best way to achieve a higher EPC rating. There are many actions that can be taken to improve energy efficiency, some simple and others more disruptive and costly. The most effective measures to improve EPC ratings are insulation and heating.

Insulation 🏠

Many parts of a property can be insulated. Most commonly this can include things like loft insulation, cavity wall insulation or floor insulation. Some are easier to install than others, for example loft installation can easily be added to the loft space, whereas cavity wall installation requires specialist expertise and invoves drilling into the external walls.

The main benefit of insulation is to reduce the heat loss in a property. Heat that is generated from the property will escape through the roof and walls if they are not sufficiently insulated. Insulation can help trap the heat inside which then reduces the amount of heat required, lowering energy consumption and bills. This results in higher energy efficiency and therefore a higher EPC rating.

Heating Systems 🔥

There have been some confusion as to what the best heating system is to increase energy efficiency and the EPC rating. Currently, the EPC assessment process is cost-based and will usually favour the cheapest heating option. Currently, gas is the cheapest heating source available.

However, the Scottish government are introducing new reforms to EPC’s. These reforms take into consideration of not only cost but also energy use and carbon emissions. All three metrics will be visible on the EPC format and will link up to the recommendations. What does this mean? Well, it is a more accurate account of energy efficiency. It will not only take into consideration what the cheapest heating source is but also what is the greener option.  

While electricity can be a much greener option, as it can be generated from technology such as ground/air source heat pumps or other renewable energy systems. It is still much more expensive than gas.  This means like for like gas will be the more energy efficient option for now. However, some properties may not be suitable for gas such as rural properties where there are no services, or small residential flats where space or costs are a factor. In this case other systems such as electric storage heaters are used.

There have been a lot of discussions on zero emission heating systems particularly as the government are looking to phase out gas heating systems and replace them with greener alternatives in the years ahead. Currently, there are alternative technologies available now such as air/ground source heat pumps, solar energy, and other renewables. Futhermore, there are ongoing discussions on how hydrogen can play a greater role in heating our homes in the future.

Reflections 🤔

The truth is ……. the government have not made it very clear as to what the best heating alternative is. Some of these technologies are not going to be feasible for many properties due to the lack of space, services, or high installation costs. So, there is indeed a vagueness concerning zero emission heating systems. The most appropriate heating source will always be dependent on the property in question. There is not a one size fits all approach. Regardless of the heating type, a property can still achieve good energy efficiency, if all other elements combined achieve a good rating.

What do you think? 💭

If you agree, disagree with any of the above or have any or thoughts on the new EPC Legislation, we would love to hear them

Feel free to contact us for a chat or if you have any questions!

AAL Property Solutions 🌲