EPC Rating C - New Rental Energy Rating Target Explained

EPC Rating C - New Rental Energy Rating Target Explained

Energy efficiency has become an increasingly important topic in the world of property rentals in the UK. With pressure on the government to lower carbon emissions and achieve Net Zero by 2050, the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced changes to the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards of England and Wales. All new rental properties would need to have an EPC rating of C or above by 2025. Since this announcement in 2022, the government has rolled back on this, saying that several green policies will be “softened” due to the high costs associated with the required upgrades potentially being passed on to renters. This has left landlords and tenants in the UK with some uncertainty, and the U-turn has been criticised by some, as a more energy efficient home is more economical. Let’s take a look at what EPC ratings are, how they affect landlords and tenants, and what we can expect for the future.

Energy efficiency work

What are EPC ratings?

EPC stands for Energy Performance Certificate, and shows the energy efficiency of a building or appliance. The rating system goes from A, which is the most efficient, to G, which is not very efficient at all. A property’s EPC rating is calculated based on the amount of energy it uses per square metre and the level of carbon dioxide emissions. Homes with double or triple glazing, good insulation, and renewable energy sources will have a higher EPC rating. It is a landlord’s responsibility to provide tenants with an EPC rating for their property when they move in and get the certificate renewed every 10 years. Find out the current energy certificate of a UK property by searching the postcode on the government website here.  At present, all rental properties must have an EPC rating of E or above, so this new regulation isn’t completely out of the blue.

EPC Rating guide

What is EPC Rating C?

An EPC rating of C is considered moderately efficient, meaning that while improvements could be made, it’s not too bad. Having an energy rating of C means that the home probably has good levels of insulation in the walls and roof, an efficient boiler or heating system, double glazed windows, and lower energy bills than those with a lower rating. Most newer builds will have an EPC rating of C due to modern building methods and energy-efficient materials, whereas older properties may have older fixtures and fittings which let the heat out, not to mention poorly maintained and inefficient boilers. According to the Open Property Group, only 40% of houses in the UK have an EPC rating of C or above. Having a low EPC rating means that it will cost more to heat the house during the colder months, and can also affect the resale value of the property.

Window checks on building

Has the UK Government Scrapped EPC Targets?

While the government has scrapped its plans to roll out the requirement that all new rental properties should have an EPC rating of C by 2025, it’s not correct to say that EPC targets have gone completely. All rental properties already have a minimum EPC for renting, which is a rating of at least E.

Loft Insillation

How Can I Improve My EPC Rating?

Even though the minimum rating of C has been scrapped by the UK government, it is still in the best interest of property owners, landlords and tenants to upgrade and improve the energy efficiency of their houses. A C rating is a good level to aim for, as a rating of A or B usually involves significant investment and is all but impossible for older buildings. There are several ways to improve the EPC rating of a property, including:


Upgrading the windows to double or triple glazing

The windows of a property are where up to 30% of heat can escape, and having double or triple glazing installed can be a good way of improving a home’s efficiency. This can be expensive though, as the cost of replacing all of the windows on a property can run into tens of thousands of pounds. You could have an energy efficiency survey done to find out if replacing windows will actually impact the EPC rating, or if your money is better spent elsewhere.


Add LED lighting

This is a quick and easy way of increasing the EPC rating of a house. LED lighting uses less watts to produce the same amount of light than a traditional bulb, and tends to last longer too. Using LED light bulbs won’t make a huge difference in the energy efficiency of a property, but is a relatively cheap upgrade that could give you a couple more of those all-important points on your EPC rating.


Add insulation to the walls and roof

Most homes do come with some level of insulation, but some materials are better than others for retaining heat. The walls and roof are where insulation is most needed, especially in the roof, as a quarter of a home’s heat can be lost through an uninsulated roof. Proper roof insulation will last for up to 40 years, and can save on energy bills too, so this can be a worthy investment. As long as the roof has no issues with damp or excess condensation, installing roof insulation is fairly simple to do and does not require any specialist training or equipment. Blanket insulation between the loft joists is the most common form, and it can be made of fibreglass or even natural sheep’s wool.


Install an energy-efficient boiler

A good way of improving efficiency is to look at the source of the heat, i.e. the boiler. Some older boilers are not efficient and in some cases could even be dangerous. It is a landlord’s responsibility to ensure that all boilers in rented properties are safe and well-maintained, and that any repairs are conducted quickly. Gas boilers are also a potential fire risk, so a gas safety certificate must be provided. Combi boilers which only heat water as it is needed, and condensing gas boilers are considered to be the most efficient kind available. In fact, government regulations specify that all new boilers installed in the UK should be condensing gas boilers, except in cases where this is not a viable option. New boilers can be expensive, but it’s in your best interest to make sure that all boilers in your properties are safe, compliant with government regulations, and efficient.


Install solar panels or other renewable energy sources

Solar panels provide homes with energy by capturing energy from the sun using photovoltaic cells. This energy is then converted into electricity that can be used in the home for heating, cooking, and powering appliances. This can be a big boost for your energy efficiency rating, but installing solar panels is a big investment, and not every house is suitable for such a project, due to the size and angle of the roof, and nearby structures blocking the sunlight. It’s worth looking into the viability of solar panels for your property before making any decision.

EPC Rating C

Future Considerations for Home Energy Efficiency

Looking beyond the current EPC rating regulations, there are broader implications for the future of home energy efficiency. Homebuyers and tenants who are mindful of energy expenses in the current cost of living crisis as well as environmental concerns will demand more energy efficient homes. It is likely that the government will roll out more rules and regulations regarding rental properties and their energy efficiency in the near future, so it’s worth factoring this into your property investment plans.

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