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External Wall Insulation and EPC Ratings

In the United Kingdom, owning a property that is both energy-efficient and comfortable is a necessity. With the escalating costs of energy and the government’s steadfast resolve to cut down on carbon emissions, homeowners and property managers are diligently seeking ways to improve their premises’ energy performance. A standout solution among many is investing in External Wall Insulation (EWI). Besides providing a warm cloak against the British chill, EWI plays a vital role in enhancing a property’s EPC rating.

The EPC rating is a requisite element in the property realm, providing a clear-cut assessment of a building’s energy efficiency. Ranging from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient), these ratings are pivotal for buyers, renters, and even regulatory bodies. A better EPC rating not only signifies lower energy costs but also a smaller carbon footprint. This makes the property more appealing to the environmentally conscious.

Implementing External Wall Insulation can significantly elevate a building’s EPC rating. EWI acts as a thermal blanket, reducing heat loss through the walls, which is a common issue in homes built before the 1920s. Moreover, EWI is a forward step in meeting the UK’s ambitious climate goals, contributing to a low-carbon, energy-efficient future.

The UK framework for EPCs

The UK has a framework of regulations aimed at improving energy efficiency in buildings to contribute towards its ambitious climate goals. The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating is a significant part of this framework, providing an energy efficiency rating for buildings. It is influenced by various measures including External Wall Insulation (EWI). The regulations have seen some changes and proposals recently which impact EPC ratings. In turn, this changes the requirements for building owners and landlords.

  1. Government Regulations:
    • As of April 1, 2023, the UK government has mandated a minimum EPC rating for rented properties. The rating mandated is an E. Properties with an EPC rating of F or G are not allowed to be rented unless they are registered on the PRS Exemptions Register.
  2. Rishi Sunak’s Announcement:
    • During the Tory Party Conference on September 20, 2023, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak unveiled a significant shift in the country’s climate policy aiming for net zero emissions by 2050. Notably, he announced the elimination of EPC Rating deadlines for landlords and homeowners in England and Wales, which was part of his broader climate strategy.

PAS2035 on EPCs

The PAS2035 framework and Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are interconnected in the UK’s broader strategy to enhance energy efficiency in buildings.

  1. Holistic Approach:
    • PAS2035 adopts a holistic or “whole house” approach to retrofitting, aiming to improve the overall energy efficiency of domestic dwellings. When these retrofits are carried out successfully, they can significantly improve a property’s EPC rating, as the EPC reflects the energy performance of the building.
  2. EPC Improvement:
    • EPC ratings are influenced by the energy efficiency measures installed in a property. By adhering to the PAS2035 framework during retrofitting, property owners, and landlords can ensure that the interventions are effective and lead to an improved EPC rating. This is crucial as a better EPC rating can increase the property’s value and appeal to potential buyers or renters.
  3. Regulatory Compliance:
    • As the UK government has set minimum EPC rating requirements for rental properties, adhering to the PAS2035 framework can assist landlords and property owners in meeting these regulatory requirements. By following the best practices laid out in PAS2035, they can ensure that the retrofitting work done on their properties is of high quality and contributes positively to the EPC rating.
  4. Evidencing Energy Efficiency:
    • The EPC provides a tangible measure of a property’s energy efficiency. The rating can be used to evidence the effectiveness of retrofits carried out under the PAS2035 framework. An improved EPC rating post-retrofit can serve as a validation of the quality and effectiveness of the work done following the PAS2035 guidelines.
  5. Informed Decision-Making:
    • The holistic assessment and retrofit planning encouraged by PAS2035 can help property owners make informed decisions that will not only improve the energy efficiency of their properties but also potentially enhance their EPC ratings. This informed approach helps in prioritising the right measures that yield significant energy savings and EPC rating improvements.

How does EWI improve your rating?

External Wall Insulation (EWI) is a key player in the quest for improved energy efficiency within properties, acting as a catalyst for better Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings. The EPC rating of a building is a clear indicator of its energy efficiency.  A rating scale from A, being the most efficient, to G, the least efficient indicates where the home sits. The insulation of a property is a significant factor that influences this rating. EWI addresses this aspect head-on by providing a thermal barrier to the external envelope of a building.

By installing External Wall Insulation, the heat retention capacity of a building is notably increased. This results in less heat being lost through the walls. This is a common issue, especially in older buildings constructed with less insulation. When the warmth generated within the home is retained effectively, less energy is required to maintain a comfortable living temperature. In turn, this leads to reduced energy consumption. This reduction is reflected in an improved EPC rating, showcasing the property as more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.

Moreover, EWI also tackles the issue of thermal bridging. Thermal bridging is when heat escapes through the structural elements that have higher thermal conductivity. By enveloping the building’s exterior with insulation, these thermal bridges are mitigated. This further enhances the heat retention capacity of the dwelling. Consequently, the energy required to heat the property is reduced, which is a positive factor contributing towards a better rating.

Additionally, EWI contributes to a more stable internal temperature, reducing the fluctuations that demand more energy for heating or cooling, again leading to a better rating.

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