14 Jul 2022

The government has finally updated the guidance it provides to property assessors on how to calculate EPCs for new homes and, in six months’ time, for existing homes too.

This is the first time the ‘methodologies of calculation’ have been updated for almost ten years for the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) used by assessors issuing EPCs to homeowners and landlords.

Currently in their 10th edition, the new methodologies update assessors on how to calculate a property’s carbon emissions and heat consumption.

Changes

One of the key changes is the CO2 emissions factor for electricity which is being reduced, halving the emission factor.

This means that the carbon footprint of electric heating (rather than gas) will be more favourable in helping a landlord hit the emissions numbers as assessors in SAP 10 will find it easier to achieve compliance with electric heating. 

Stuart Fairlie, MD of leading assessor firm Elmhurst Energy, which accredits some 9,500 assessors across the UK, says the long-awaited update means EPC for new homes will, after June 15th, be much more accurate.

“We expect the updated methodologies to be issued for existing properties to be released before the end of the year, which will make EPCs for many landlords’ properties more accurate too,” he says.

“The two government departments involves – BEIS and DLUHC – have decided to focus on new homes first, get them nailed down, and then turn to existing properties including rental homes.”

Elmurst Energy is the largest of the EPC accreditation organisations, alongside Stroma Certification, Quids, RUSFA and Bryter Digital.

The announcement by the housing ministry follows many years during which landlords and house builders have complained that EPCs can vary significantly from one property to another even though they are similar.

This has prompted some landlords to allege that that the whole EPC certificate system is misleading, as LandlordZONE reported last July and Tom Entwistle set out later on that year.

It has also led to some landlords complaining that they have faced additional costs to upgrade properties when they may have not needed to.

“A further update to the SAP is expected at some point before 2025 as the government ratchets up its ‘net zero’ targets for the housing sector, but for now at least we can now say that EPCs are as close to the truth as is possible,” says Fairlie.

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