By David Pett
Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are an integral part of the pack and are having a positive impact on the behaviour of consumers towards energy efficiency in their homes resulting in tangible carbon emission reductions.
EPCs are vital to the UK meeting its climate change obligations and research demonstrates that consumers are using the recommendations in the EPC to implement energy savings measures. Conservative plans to move EPCs to the end of the home buying and selling process would have a disastrous effect on the progress made to date and would be in breach of European law relating to the energy efficiency of homes. From a practical perspective Mortgage lenders have previously tested providing energy reports with their mortgage valuations but consumers totally ignored them.
Domestic energy consumption and efficiency are key areas which the UK is looking to improve upon in order to meet its climate change targets.
Given that over 25% of UK carbon emissions are produced by domestic properties, it is vital that the benefits of the EPC are fully exploited.
The inclusion of EPCs in HIPs is demonstrably delivering the benefits for which they were designed:
Over 95% of properties marketed for sale have an EPC because it forms part of the mandatory HIP. This is the one and only sector where compliance rates are high. In comparison less than 60% of dwellings marketed for let/rent have EPCs – meaning a non-compliance rate of over 40%. This includes the social housing sector, despite the direct role of CLG in funding and regulating the sector. Non-compliance in respect of the requirement to have a Commercial EPC on all non-domestic buildings marketed for sale or rent is running at 82%-92% according to a number of research studies undertaken by a variety of reliable sources.
The EPC is designed to inform consumers about the energy efficiency of a home, so that they may consider it as part of their decision whether or not to make a purchase. Procuring the EPC as part of the HIP means that the energy rating graph can be (and is required to be) shown on the estate agents property particulars providing instant visibility of the energy rating for prospective purchasers.
Recent consumer research shows that 69% of those questioned remember seeing the EPC during the home moving process (The Homemovers Report – June 2009).
The same research shows that 32% read the recommendations contained in the EPC, were interested, and made some of the recommended improvements. A further 9% intend to make some of the recommended improvements in the near future (The Homemovers Report – June 2009)
An independent ‘snapshot survey’ of 22 industry stakeholders, only one of which (AHIPP) has a vested interest in the provision of HIPs, showed that 17 stakeholders (77%) felt that moving the EPC to the end of the process would be a retrograde step. Only one felt that this course of action would be reasonable.
*David Pett is a director of Hip2go on 01603 275100 at www.hip2go.com