The path to energy efficiency
Energy efficiency in the home can help reduce emissions and cut fuel bills for households especially for those in 'fuel poverty'.
The European Union Directive 2002/91/EC relating to the energy performance of buildings led to the introduction of the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). By law, any person or organisation selling a property in the UK requires an EPC. The EPC was introduced by law in 2007 in England and Wales (2012 in Scotland where the certificate, in addition has to be displayed in the property near the boiler or consumer unit.)
The UK Passed the climate Change Act in 2008 which is the basis for its approach to tackling and responding to climate change. It requires that emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are reduced and that climate change risks are prepared for. In the same year, the EU introduced the world's strictest environmental standards with targets for reductions in greenhouse emissions, improvements in energy efficiency and an increase in the proportion of renewable energy in EU countries.
The EPC requires an energy survey to be carried out by an accredited assessor who visits the
property, examines key items such as loft insulation, domestic boiler, hot water tank, radiators, windows for double glazing, and so on. He or she then inputs the observations into a software program which performs the calculation of energy efficiency. The program gives a single number for the rating of energy efficiency, and a recommended value of the potential for improvement. It is a non-invasive survey and the resulting certificate is valid for 10 years. They are a legal requirement on all residential and commercial buildings with the exception of listed buildings.
The certificate includes recommendations on ways to improve the home’s energy efficiency to save householders money. A higher efficiency rating, (A = highest, G = lowest) reduces heating bills. EPC's are very useful for both owners and occupiers, providing a snapshot of the overall energy efficiency of a building. They determine the cost of running a building and any improvements that can be made.
Two of the countries at the forefront of the push to encouraging energy efficiency are our nearest neighbours, England and France. Isn't it time we introduced something similar in the islands of Guernsey and Jersey to mitigate the impact of climate change but also to actively help islanders reduce their heating costs and in some cases help fight fuel poverty for those on the lowest incomes. Fuel poverty means when a household cannot afford to keep its members adequately warm at a reasonable cost given their income.
In summary, EPC's can help improve energy efficiency to reduce carbon emissions and lower costs for householders by providing the data and information easily to a common reporting format.
Example of an Energy Performance certificate (EPC)