I don’t think I have an unhealthy fixation on money, though I admit that anyone reading the blogs I have written for Tepilo might think that I do. But I do believe in saving energy – and if we save energy then we can contribute to saving the planet and gain personal benefit to boot.
You may recall that in my last blog I referred to the whopping price rises announced by Scottish and Southern. At that time, British Gas had not announced their price rises, but, as I predicted, they too have followed suit.
I urged everyone who had either commissioned an EPC or had received one to get it out and have a look at it because there was information in there which could save you money (On page 4 it gives you information on energy saving measures broken down into ‘lower cost’ and ‘higher cost’, with an indication of the possible financial savings that can be achieve).
Now CLG have gone one better. They have introduced a new ‘EPC Adviser’ tool to help anyone with an EPC really understand the options available to save energy and money.
This is an on line tool and is simple to use. You need to go to the relevant web page - http://epcadviser.direct.gov.uk/epcadviser.html - and enter the reference number (also known as the Report Registration Number or RRN) which you will find at the top of your EPC. (If you don’t have the EPC, I’ll explain below how you can go about getting hold of it.)
Once you have entered the RRN you are presented with a single page of options to choose from, starting with relatively straightforward things ,such as loft or cavity wall insulation and draught proofing, and moving on to more sophisticated changes – for instance looking at the impact of improving or changing the heating system.
This is the clever bit! The tool uses the data already collected to create the original EPC so it already knows if you have a whizzy, super-efficient condensing boiler. The options it will give you will take this information in to account. (If you have that whizzy boiler – it won’t suggest installing one!) But it will provide the opportunity to evaluate a whole range of replacement heating systems and compare them with the one currently installed in case you are planning any changes!
NES Ltd (which operates the NHER Accreditation Scheme for domestic energy assessors) developed the software engine which powers the calculations! We think this is a significant development (and not just because we did the software development work) but because it moves us all towards a position where the information on the EPC is far more accessible and useful. As the Communities Minister Andrew Stunell said "More carbon emissions come from our homes than from our cars, so it is vital that we all play our part in reducing emissions from the built environment”
Finally, having got everyone excited at last about the EPC, what can you do if you have lost yours (or never received one in the first place – and don’t worry about that; you are not alone. Most agents never show prospective buyers or tenants the EPC.)
You can retrieve it. It is a bit of a long winded process, but can be done. First of all you must go to the lost report page of the Central Register where all the EPCs ever undertaken have been lodged. You will find this at https://www.epcregister.com/lostReport.html.
Once there you are asked to fill in your details (persevere with this – I admit that the first bit is a bit scary but that it to protect you as the owner or occupier of the home). Then the company who administer the Register on behalf of the government will tell you the energy assessor who carried out the EPC (or their Accreditation Scheme if that energy assessor is no longer in business). They are then obliged to give you the RRN so you can then retrieve the EPC and use the new EPC Adviser.
I urge you to give it a go. The EPC is not just another hassle. It really is there to help you save energy and money!
With thanks to Hilary Grayson, National Energy Services - follow Hilary on twitter @HilaryNES