With no end in sight for spiralling energy costs, many homeowners will be thinking about ways they can cut their energy bills to save money - including retrofitting to improve their home’s EPC rating.
"The government’s deadline of 2025 for private rental accommodation to be a minimum of grade C is fast approaching, and landlords will need to act soon with regard to retrofitting older properties"
However, with 64% of people currently unaware of their EPC rating, many could be wrongly assuming they already have a good enough rating and don’t need to make any changes.
New research from Mortgage Advice Bureau found that of those that did know their EPC rating, 27% said this was because they were interested in making changes to improve it, while a third said they were inclined to make changes as they had seen the effect raising their EPC had on their friends or families’ bills. However, amongst the majority, there remains a lack of knowledge about EPC ratings or how they can get information on it.
Just 12% of respondents had spoken with an adviser about their EPC, and two-thirds of homeowners had no idea of the government’s target for properties to have a minimum of a grade C EPC rating by 2035, or the shorter deadline of 2025 for private rental accommodation.
Ben Thompson, deputy CEO of Mortgage Advice Bureau, suggests that more needs to be done to combat this – especially by advisers, who can open the conversation and make it a more thought-about aspect of homeownership.
Ben explains: “During this energy-saving week, it would be great if advisers could take the initiative and discuss EPC ratings with their clients. The government’s deadline of 2025 for private rental accommodation to be a minimum of grade C is fast approaching, and landlords will need to act soon with regard to retrofitting older properties. However, there remains a lack of knowledge about this deadline or the benefits - asides from reduced energy bills - that come with higher EPC ratings.”
For others who aren’t in the buy-to-let market, upgraded EPC ratings can also mean more than just reduced energy bills.
Mortgage Advice Bureau’s analysis from 2022 showed that over half of lenders said they were offering green mortgage products compared to just a third at the same time last year, and 98% of those asked said they will offer them in the future if they don’t already. There remains a disconnect with public knowledge surrounding green mortgages, and Ben adds that this can be a great opportunity for advisers to talk about why knowing and upgrading EPC ratings should be on the agenda for people in 2023.
Ben concludes: “When people think about upgrading their EPC rating, many will think of the impact it will have on their energy bill and the climate. However, it can also make you eligible for green mortgage deals that often come with incentives such as lower interest rates. Retrofitting and upgrading your property’s EPC can also increase the value of your home, as homeowners strive to be more energy efficient.”