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Energy Performance Certificates

Residential properties, both new and existing, are required by law to be certified – a fact that seems to have slipped under the radar for more than two years; Xenios Sofianos explains.

FROM 1st January 2010 landlords have been required to provide Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) to new tenants as part of the lettings process. Each EPC will last for 10 years.

Also home owners that are planning to put their house for sale must also provide the potential buyer an EPC. The government requires an EPC to be carried out on all homes that are built, sold or rented after January 1st 2010.

The idea by introducing Energy Performance Certificates is that they will help prospective buyers, tenants, owners and occupiers to easily compare the energy efficiency of one building with another building of the same type, so that they can consider fuel costs and energy efficiency as part of their investment.

What does this mean in practice?

The landlord (or someone acting on their behalf, such as an estate agent) must make available an EPC free of charge for the home you are interested in renting as early as possible. This should be when you are first given written information about the home or when you view it, and before you enter into any contract to pay rent to the landlord.

If you are already renting a home on 1 January 2010 and carry on living there after that date, your landlord does not need to provide you with an EPC.

What is an Energy Performance Certificate?

An EPC is similar to the energy performance certificates now provided with domestic appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines. The EPC provides a rating for the energy performance of a home from A to G, where A is very efficient and G is very inefficient. The EPC shows two things about the house:

the energy-efficiency rating (this is based on how much the home would cost to run); and

the environmental impact rating (this is based on how much carbon dioxide is released into the environment because of the home).

The rating is based on factors such as age, property layout, construction, heating, lighting, and insulation. The ratings are standard so you can compare the energy efficiency of one home easily with another. The typical rating for a home is D or E.

A recommendation report forms part of the certificate. This is a list of ways in which the energy efficiency of the home could be improved.

Why do I need an Energy Performance Certificate?

The EPC and the recommendations that come with it give you important information about your home’s energy efficiency. The certificate will provide you with information about how much it is likely to cost to run the home you are interested in renting. Bear in mind that the estimated running costs are based on:

  • standard assumptions about a property, including how many people will live there and how long it is heated each day; and
  • average fuel prices when the EPC was produced – these could be up to 10 years old.

The actual energy you will use in running a property will depend on how you use the property, for example how long you have the heating turned on for, and whether lights and appliances are left on.

What does the Recommendation Report contain?

The report includes cost-effective recommendations split into low-cost and high-cost improvements. The report also includes more advanced energy improvements that your landlord could make to a home to help it reach the highest possible energy efficiency standards. Many of these improvements are expensive and will take much longer to pay for themselves.

Cost-effective recommendations for improving the energy efficiency of a home could include:

  • using low-energy light bulbs;
  • adding loft insulation;
  • installing double glazing; or
  • installing a condensing boiler.

In certain circumstances, you may be able to apply for grants to carry out these recommendations.

About the author

Xenios Chr. Sofianos
SKYY Consulting Limited
Accredited Expert for Building Energy Performance (EPC’s)

Residential properties (existing and new) by law are to be certified from the 1st of January 2010 and after, while non residential from the 1st of September of 2010. SKYY Consulting Limited provides certificates for all types of buildings.

Readers' comments

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  • Mike says:

    Nigel – Agree with you when polystyrene burns (and it stinks too) there are of course many other types of foams that can be used amongst other things. However the fire / health hazard is mitigated by the covering of at least 13mm of Gypsum board which acts as the fire break in accordance with U.S. Department of energy, energy efficiency and renewable energy.

    See – Types of Insulation

    If you recall many years ago some Formaldehyde foams gave rise to ‘sick building syndrome’ and some formulations of polyurethane foams disintegrate to dust in certain conditions. Obviously care must be exercised and bonded metallic backing to gypsum / plaster board assists too in certain cases. The savings over cost are substantial and installation quite easy for a competent DIY’er but as you rightly highlight care must be taken not to permit possible fire any access to the insulation itself. Similar insulation, albeit much thicker, under concrete floors also helps greatly. New construction foams are being developed all the time so I guess it is only good practice to either take advice or keep abreast on what may or not be permissible in certain applications and certain environments at any moment in time.

  • @Mike – I would not use polystyrene foam – it’s both a health and fire hazard and I’m not sure you would be allowed to use this sin Cyprus. Should use mineral wool or beads.

    @Nick – My holiday home in the UK doesn’t have cavity walls, let alone cavity insulation. Cavity walls didn’t come into use until the 1920s. I haven’t been able to find out when my place was built but as it’s shown in a painting at the local museum dated 1785 it has to be some years before then.

    And you can get ‘proper’ double-glazing – aluminium frame incorporating a thermal break.

    My guess is that you lose (and gain) more heat though the flat roofs that are still very common.

    Most countries in seismically active areas use a reinforced concrete structural frame with hollow brick infill.

  • Gavin Jones says:

    I really do despair.

    Yet again we have a sticking plaster piece of legislation which gives the impression of improving standards but fails to address the all important issue of ensuring that title deeds are issued at point of sale.

    It’s rather like making it mandatory that a new car has to have tinted windows but the log sheet i.e. legal ownership, can be retained by the car dealer.

  • Dee says:

    I’d really like to know who is going to be carrying out the energy-performance ratings, and where they have been trained.

  • Nick Hills says:

    Energy Performance might actually mean something if the construction of properties gave you any hint that they were designed and built to be energy efficient.

    Lack of (cavity wall) insulation means whoever lives in a property will be paying the price through higher energy costs if you want to keep warm in a winter such as that we have recently lived through.

    Likewise, typical double-glazing is a joke.

    No doubt this all completes another ‘tick box’ to show compliant Cyprus is with the rest of the EU – I don’t know?

  • Mike says:

    One fundamental improvement (in my humble opinion) is to install wall insulation – in addition to loft insulation and using low energy bulbs etc. The condensing boiler is fine and worthwhile but some do suffer with inherent problems although primarily associated with low ambient temperatures. A simple solution I found was to sacrifice 4,6 or 8 inches of room space and fix 2′ 3 or 4 inch battens to the walls at 24 inch centres then infill with expanded polystyrene foam, I am certain rockwool will do as well, I prefer foam as it is easily cut. Finish with plasterboard of the appropriate grade for the room then plaster to finish. Exceptionally efficient insulation keeping you cool in summer and warm in winter.

    I am concerned however at possible profiteering where energy saving bulbs are concerned. I have North European friends keep an eye open for me and have stockpiled 60 or so bulbs (for personal use) from 5 to 11 watt, as periodically, North European countries will offer bulbs at 4 for €1 or almost the equivalent of a euro, in the case of UK 99 pence. Most major DIY and supermarket outlets have had these offers in the past so I assume those countries pay a little more than just rhetoric to emissions. I do dispute their 10000 hours lifespan guarantees as I have paid €6.99 for bulbs in the past which lasted less than a year. Generally however I guess they are improving. Buy an established brand rather than a cheap copy and look for the CE mark.

    Here in Cyprus saving energy is saving money. Using air con to cool a massive hot radiator (which is effectively what an outside wall is if built with conventional Cypriot construction techniques) is rather foolish and costly – very costly; insulation is a very cheap alternative assuming your rooms are of a size to afford the slight loss of floor space.

    I will not advertise our services here but do consider it and if you are at least partially competent at DIY I am sure you will manage it and save yourselves money in the knowledge you are also doing your bit for the environment.

  • Stuart says:

    My experience as a UK landlord with a small portfolio of seven properties is that tenants couldn’t care less about EPC’s and most have never heard of them.

    Very few landlords are going to change their present boilers for new condensing ones on the recommendation of an EPC at a cost of hundreds of pounds for simply achieving a slightly higher efficiency rating score.

    With EPC’s themselves costing landlords up to £100, this is just another piece of legislation that needs to be consigned to the round filing cabinet in the corner.

  • The views expressed in readers' comments are not necessarily shared by the Cyprus Property News.

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