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BRE Advocates Overhaul of EPC Ratings to Promote Retrofit Initiatives

The Building Research Establishment (BRE) has recommended reducing the shelf life of energy performance certificates (EPCs) to five years, halving the current validity period of up to a decade. The proposal aims to provide more up-to-date information regarding the current condition of the properties for homeowners, occupants, and other EPC users.

EPCs assign a rating from A to G to UK homes based on their energy efficiency and carbon impact. The BRE’s recommendation is part of a broader report advocating reforms to EPCs to support the decarbonization of homes.

The construction science advisor criticized the current EPC ratings for relying on cost and carbon factors that fluctuate over time, suggesting a shift in metrics to focus on building fabric efficiency and heat loss. The BRE also proposed making more detailed EPC data public (while respecting privacy and data protection) to aid in planning energy efficiency work.

The report highlighted that only 5% of individuals take action based on EPC information, suggesting creating an integrated online service to facilitate a more seamless transition from EPC information to advice and support. The strengthened online service could present official certificate data with standardized performance metrics.

BRE’s Chief Executive, Gillian Charlesworth, emphasized that EPCs cover 60% of UK homes and play a crucial role in planning retrofit programs and government policies. The report recommended targeted reforms to elevate the EPC’s role as a trusted source of advice and information for improving homes.

Notably, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak abandoned plans to mandate all rental properties to achieve a minimum EPC rating of C by 2028, leading to reduced demand for retrofit work among landlords, as indicated by a report from banking firm Lloyds, where 52% of landlords expressed decreased willingness to invest in energy efficiency improvements.

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