How Property Age Affects EPC Ratings


**The Power of Property Age:**
Property age can often serve as a precise indicator of its expected energy performance, often even before delving into other considerations. Older properties, constructed in times when energy efficiency was an afterthought, frequently exhibit lower EPC ratings. The reason? EPC software relies on input data and defaults when factual or documented evidence is lacking.

But why do older properties continue to receive subpar ratings, even after refurbishment efforts?

**Challenges Posed by Older Properties:**
Older properties, especially those erected before 1930, usually feature solid brick walls with inadequate insulation properties. Unless they've undergone retrofitting, these properties may lack proper insulation in their roofs and floors. Some charming period properties even boast sash windows, which, while aesthetically pleasing, can be costly to upgrade. While modern double-glazed alternatives are available, original windows often remain in disrepair.

**Achieving High EPC Ratings for Older Buildings:**
Rest assured, older buildings can attain commendable EPC ratings. However, it's essential to acknowledge that EPC software includes defaults tailored for older properties, which can cap the final rating. To ascend to the upper echelons of EPC ratings, retaining comprehensive documentation of property enhancements becomes imperative. This documentation can be shared with our assessors, enabling them to override defaults and elevate your property's rating.

Without such evidence, the software bases the rating on the building regulations of the time when the property or extension was originally constructed. Therefore, the age of your property can substantially influence its potential EPC rating.

**Efficiency in New Builds:**
In theory, new builds or recently constructed properties should epitomize energy efficiency. Stringent regulations govern modern buildings, mandating robust insulation, efficient heating systems, high-performance glazing, and the potential integration of renewable energy sources. However, exceptions exist, and properties built as late as 2000 may fall short in expected features like cavity wall insulation.

It's worth noting that EPCs issued during construction typically yield higher ratings than subsequent EPCs for existing buildings. New build EPCs delve into greater detail and entail different assumptions that can impact the final rating.

**Unlocking the Secrets of EPC Age Bands:**
EPC software operates on certain assumptions contingent on your property's age, particularly when specific areas are inaccessible for measurement. Here are some key assumptions for insulation in different age bands:

- Up to 1966: No insulation in the cavity or loft.
- Up to the late 1970s: A small amount of loft insulation assumed, with nothing in the cavity.
- 1980s: Partial cavity insulation assumed, alongside some loft insulation.
- 1990s: Cavities are presumed to be insulated upon construction.
- 2000s: Multiple age bands post-2000, with insulation always assumed, and performance progressively improving.

Extensions and loft conversions are scrutinized separately, and their respective dates factor into the overall rating, considering their size relative to the main building.

In summary, your property's age wields substantial influence over its EPC rating. If you own an older property that has undergone improvements, maintaining detailed documentation is your passport to a higher rating. At EPC Choice, we are dedicated to providing meticulous EPC assessments, empowering you to enhance your property's energy efficiency and boost its appeal in the market.

*Chris Grant, CEO of EPC Choice*