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'EPCs have not worked'

Submitted by: MikeC (Admin) on 23-Oct-08 10:55:23 PM

Energy Performance Certificates are not working and the competence of energy assessors 'leaves very much to be desired', says Bob Towse of the Heating and Ventilating Contractors Association.

His comments follow the compiled feedback of industry stakeholders published in the UK Green Building Council's (UKGBC) 'Low Carbon Existing Homes' report, which recommends radical improvements to the Energy Performance Certificate as well as 'financial incentives' to upgrade properties according to its EPC rating.

Co-funded by Government to feed in to its energy efficiency consultation due November 2008 , the report's recommendations, which is backed by the Energy Efficiency Partnership for Homes (EEPH), the Technology Strategy Board and the Sustainable Development Commission, will, in turn, inform the Government's Low Carbon Homes strategy launching Spring 2009.

Summarising the report's implicit findings, Bob told H&V News: "I would agree that EPCs have not worked. They do not require anyone to do anything to their property."


The quality of many energy assessors leaves very much to be desired. They are not building professionals nor energy professionals.

Council tax incentives

The report dares to tread on controversial territory by calling for the 'introduction of fiscal incentives such as council tax/income tax/stamp duty rebates linked to improvements in EPCs to incentivise householders.'

A proposal which would surely play into Tory hands should Government adopt it (although I wouldn't put it past them doing it themselves if they get into power).

Energy Performance Certificates as a catalyst

The report supports the concept of EPCs but urges Government to provide - in its low carbon goals - clear long-term signals to the market in order to encourage the investment in skills and supply-chains needed to deliver results.

It wants to see the EPC act as a catalyst, 'requiring mandatory minimum EPC grades for properties, phased over time' the report says.

One could say, 'of course they (stakeholders) do, it's a licence to print money', but it's something I can't see being avoided, in some form or another, if we are to "fix" our existing housing stock - climate change or not.

The report concludes that EPCs 'are not fulfilling their potential to act as a key driver for consumer action' and calls on Government to review, and make improvements on:

  • SAP
  • Accuracy
  • Providing information on in-use performance in line with Domestic Energy Certificates for commercial buildings
  • Offering more detailed advice on measures to householders
  • Linking financial incentives to upgrades in EPC performance
Scrapping EPC validity periods

It also strongly hints towards scrapping the current 10 year validity period of Energy Performance Certificates on rental properties (3 years for residential), replacing it with a regime of "using the EPC as a trigger for improvements on the sale (and/or potentially re-let) of a property" - implying that EPC recommendations must be undertaken before such events occur.

Make no bones about it, this is a strong report for the EPC industry with influential backing (you'd be surprised at how much has already been realised from meetings held over the last few years at the EEPH with some well-known industry-bods - I must write about that one day) - we should embrace it.

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Posts: 1
Reply #1 on : Sun October 26, 2008, 15:03:36
Perhaps Bob Towse of the Heating and Ventilating Contractors Association could explain why we do not have enough accredited Air Conditioning Inspectirs ready for the EPBD Rollout UK deadline of 4 Jan? Its his members who should be driving this forward yet there are no training course, no accreditation schemes signing up members and we have 10 weeks to go.

If Bob Tawse is disappointed that EPCs don't require the seller to DO anything, perhaps he should think through the read-across for Air Conditioning inspections. If sellers/owners of buildings containing air conditioning were required to DO something, his inspectors would be most unwelcome throughout the UK.

That's if any were trained, accredited and ready to work of course!

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