August 2017 marks the 10 year anniversary of the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for domestic properties. As one of the largest EPC Accreditation Schemes in the UK, Stroma Certification has followed the EPC's entire journey, promoting and maintaining energy efficiency standards throughout the construction sector over its 10 year life cycle.
EPCs became a part of UK law in 2007 with the introduction of the Home Information Packs (HIPs) to help improve energy consumption and efficiency ratings for domestic properties. In addition to the 10 year lifespan of validity, EPCs were implemented with varying targets for different property types and regions throughout the UK.
Stroma Certification participated in the initial development of the EPC, helping to produce an effective system which would promote and improve energy efficiency throughout domestic and non-domestic properties. We also lodged the first ever non-domestic EPC and Display Energy Certificate (DEC) following their creation. As an industry leader in energy efficiency and compliance, we were keen to implement the EPC into a number of our energy assessor certification schemes, training and software provisions to help our members meet the targets and requirements of the EPC.
The EPC has faced many challenges since its release in 2007. The staggered introduction was not necessarily beneficial to the industry and the financial crash in 2008 had a significant effect on the number of EPCs required. HIPs were brought to an end with the introduction of the coalition government of 2010, yet the requirement of the EPC still continued. Whilst the EPC has suffered with these changes, there were also a number of governmental updates which brought support for the EPC; Feed In Tariffs (FITs), Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), Energy Company Obligation (ECO) and Green all helped to rejuvenate the EPC market and improve energy consumption ratings once again.
The 10 year anniversary of the EPC coincides with the release of our updated to RSAP+ Software. Stroma Software launched RSAP+ in 2012, enabling assessors to collect all required data for EPCs and to lodge them to their relevant EPC register.
Since its release, we have carried out a number of updates to RSAP+ to remain up-to-date with industry changes and developments. Our next update is due for release in the coming weeks, including new cross-platform functionality on Windows PC, Tablet (iPad, Android and Windows) and Smartphone (iPhone, Android and Windows) devices. This is a significant step forward for the energy assessment sector to enable the production of EPCs to be now carried out across all iOS, Android and Desktop platforms whether you're working in the office or out in the field.
As the largest assessor certification scheme provider in the industry, we have a responsibility to our members to keep you informed of industry changes as they happen. The newest release of RSAP+ Software will ensure our members are carrying out EPC and assessment work competently and compliantly against the approved RdSAP methodology for domestic properties and certification scheme auditing requirements.
Whilst this isn't necessarily ground-breaking news, it does mean new EPCs are going to be needed. Plus, it acts as a reminder that the EPC has thwarted expectations and made it to its 10th anniversary intact and with a future.
The 10th anniversary means that some of the earliest certificates have now expired. You can determine the validity of an EPC by checking the issue date of the certificate. A property's EPC can be obtained from its respective National EPC Register. Only certificates with a date of less than 10 years ago are legally valid and can be considered for sales and lettings.
The introduction of the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) has brought energy assessment back towards the forefront of the industry. MEES, the first non-EU legislation which has the EPC at the heart of it, is due to come into effect from 1 April 2018. Hopefully, the introduction of MEES will have a profound effect and encourage similar movements outside of Europe. This new standard, applicable to England and Wales, prohibits private landlords from granting a new tenancy of domestic or non-domestic buildings with an EPC rating of 'F' or 'G'.
When the UK leaves the EU in 2019, we will have the ability to plan our course of action on the laws which came from Europe. Many of these are sound legal principles, some of which could benefit from some updates. Stroma will be actively campaigning on behalf of the industry to promote the EPC and how it can be used post-Brexit.
We aspire to rid of the 10 year cycle which binds the EPC, introducing a base EPC for properties which is updated when a notifiable action happens at the property. This would result in up-to-date information being readily available on the register at any one time, providing a powerful data portal for other applications. The principles for this are already in place with PAS 2030 installers and the Green Deal framework and so this should be a relatively simple transition.
In the 10 years since the release of the EPC, the average domestic dwelling rating has changed from E45 to D60. We are using less energy per household now than we were a decade ago. We believe further future investment in energy conservation will ensure the continuation of reduced energy consumption.
Schemes are currently working with the government to ensure that the next 10 years of the EPC are governed by a better suited set of Scheme Operating Requirements (SORs). These changes should ensure that the quality assurance and certification processes can develop as the industry develops and take into account any new uses of the EPC. Trust in the EPC is paramount for the future.
Andrew Parkin, Stroma Certification Technical Manager, said, 'Happy 10th birthday to the EPC. In 2017, I see the EPC coming full circle and a huge opportunity ahead of us. It has been a difficult first 10 years but I, and Stroma, are genuinely looking forward to the next decade and how Stroma will be a part of shaping the industry. We remain one of the largest assessor certification providers in the UK and are committed to promoting the EPC as a method of energy performance.'
Find out more about Stroma Certification's Assessor Certification Schemes for the production of EPCs.