"..1.1 million households installed or increased their loft insulation between 2002 and 2005........ .....estimated energy savings.... £87million a year....."

What is an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?

An ‘Energy Performance Certificate’ tells you about the energy performance of your home. It provides an ‘Energy Efficiency Rating’ indicating the overall energy efficiency of your home and an ‘Environmental Impact Rating (CO2)’ indicating your homes overall impact on the environment based in terms of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Similar in look and feel to the EU energy label, this certificate gives your house a rating between A & G - the higher the rating, the more energy efficient it is. The average energy efficiency rating for a dwelling in England and Wales is band E (rating 46).

Each rating is based on the performance of the building itself and its services (such as heating and lighting), rather than the domestic appliances within it e.g. washing machines etc. The certificate takes into account the age, size and construction type of the building when providing a rating and also suggests improvements appropriate to your home giving a ‘potential’ rating if these are carried out.

EPCs are produced using standard methods with standard assumptions about energy usage so that the energy efficiency of one building can easily be compared with another building of the same type.

This allows prospective buyers, tenants, owners, occupiers and purchasers to see information on the energy efficiency and carbon emissions from their building so they can consider energy efficiency and fuel costs as part of their investment.

†Example of an EPC. This home's performance is rated in terms of energy use per square metre of floor area, energy efficiency based on fuel costs and environmental impact based on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

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Why do I need an Energy Performance Certificate?

Nearly 50% of the UK's energy consumption arises from the way in which our 25 million buildings are lit, heated and used. Even comparatively minor changes in the energy performance and the way we use each building would have a significant effect in reducing energy consumption, and hence, carbon emissions. The Energy Performance Certificate (E.P.C.) is part of these new measures to improve property efficiency. It will include recommendations to improve the energy efficiency of our buildings leading to lower energy bills. These measures are being introduced across all of the European Union and are required under The (E.U.) Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (2002/91/EC)

Ironically some of the lower cost recommendations made in Energy Performance Certificates can be the most cost effective, environmentally beneficial and least disruptive for homeowners leading to greater savings within shorter payback times.

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How could you cut as much as £250 off your annual energy bill and reduce your household's carbon dioxide emissions by around two tonnes?

Draught Proofing

If you can feel cold air coming in around the windows in your home it means warm air is escaping. in a typical home 20 per cent of all heat loss is through poor ventilation and draughts. How draught proofing works

Draught Proofing simply fills gaps and decreases the amount of cold air entering your home. There are several types of materials available from brushes, foams and sealants to strips and shaped rubber or plastic. By installing draught proofing you could save around £20 a year on your heating bills and reduce your emissions by 140kg of carbon dioxide each year. Letterboxes and keyholes can also be covered too.

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Light Bulbs

Switch to energy saving light bulbs. They last around 10 times longer than ordinary light bulbs, and each bulb you fit could save up to £60 on electricity over the bulb's lifetime. Advances in technology mean that energy saving light bulbs are now available in a wide variety of fittings, shapes and sizes.

They use up to 80 per cent less electricity than a standard bulb, but produce the same amount of light. Energy saving light bulbs use less electricity than standard bulbs to do the same job. In turn, using less energy like electricity means that our homes produce less carbon dioxide
Depending on how long your lights are in use every day, just one energy saving light bulb could save you up to £7 and 26 kilograms of CO² a year. And because it will last up to 10 times longer than a standard bulb, it could save you around £60 before it needs replacing.

Fit all the lights in your house with energy saving bulbs and you could save around £600 over the lifetime of the bulbs.
These savings take into account the higher cost of energy saving light bulbs. These days, the average price is only £3 a bulb, so you'll usually recoup the extra outlay within a year

Energy saving light bulbs use a fifth to a quarter of the electricity of ordinary bulbs to generate the same amount of light. So where you'd normally use a 60W bulb, you'll only need a 13-18W energy saving recommended equivalent.

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Hot Water Cylinder Jacket

Insulate your hot water tank with a jacket - it only costs a few pounds and, with all the heat it traps in, it pays for itself within months. Fit one that's at least 80mm thick and you could save around £20 a year. Both tank and pipe insulation keep your water hotter for longer by reducing the amount of heat that escapes.

A new, 80mm thick hot water cylinder jacket could save you £20 per year. The jackets themselves cost about half that, meaning that you'll reclaim your initial cost in around 6 months. Insulation for hot water pipes will cost about £10 and save you around £10 a year, which means you could potentially recover the cost of fitting within a year.

You'll be saving about 150kg of CO² when you fit a British standard hot water cylinder jacket and about 60kg of CO² with pipe insulation.

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Loft Insulation

Without loft insulation you could be losing as much as 15% of your heating costs through your roof. Insulating your loft is a simple and effective way to reduce your heating bills.

If you currently have no loft insulation and you install the recommended 270mm depth you could save around £110 a year on your heating bills and nearly 1 tonne of CO2 per year.

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Wall Cavities

The average house could reduce heating costs by 15%. In fact, between 2002 and 2005 around 800,000 households installed cavity wall insulation. It is estimated that this will have saved nearly 400,000 tonnes of CO² , enough to fill the new Wembley Stadium 47 times.

Around 33% of the heat lost in an uninsulated house is through the walls. You could save around £90 on energy bills each year by insulating your wall cavities. It also creates an even temperature in your home.

Cavity wall insulation is quick, clean and relatively inexpensive to install. It's injected into the cavity from the outside taking between two and three hours in a three bedroom semi-detached house. It usually costs around £500, and with the savings you make on your heating bills, it can pay for itself in around five years.

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If your boiler is over 15 years old it's probably time to replace it. By law, new gas boilers in England and Wales must now be of the high efficiency condensing type, which can help you save up to a third on your heating bills and even more if you upgrade to modern controls as well.

Condensing boilers are the most efficient available as they waste the least amount of energy. They convert over 90% of the fuel they use into useful heat compared to around 60% for an old conventional boiler.
About 60% of your household's CO² emissions come from your boiler. That's why choosing a condensing boiler is so important. Fitting a new condensing boiler will not only reduce your home's CO² emissions by more than 800 kilograms a year, but it could also save you between £100 and £120 a year on your energy bills.

If everyone in the UK who could, installed a condensing boiler, CO² emissions would be cut by more than 13 million tonnes and the energy saved would heat nearly every household in Scotland and Wales for a year.

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Double Glazing

Double glazing cuts heat loss through windows by 50% and could cut your heating bill by around £90 a year.

Poorly insulated window frames and single glazed windows account for up to 20% of heat loss in the average home.

Installing double glazing can cut your heating bills by around £90 a year and 740 kilograms of CO² .

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UK Targets

Under the Kyoto Protocol, by 2008-2012 the UK must reduce it's baseline emissions of six major greenhouse gases by 12.5 per cent from a baseline target set in 1990. The UK government has also set a target to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to 20 per cent beneath that baseline. The long term goal is to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions by 60% by 2050.

Thousands of people are adopting energy saving lifestyles by doing simple things ranging from turning their lights off when leaving a room to installing energy efficient condensing boilers.

Between 2002-2005, a massive 1.1 million households installed or topped up their loft insulation. It is estimated that £87 million a year in energy costs will be saved as a result of this.

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Your Top 10 Energy Saving Tips

Start saving money today!

1 – Turning your room thermostat down by 1°C could cut you heating bills by up to 10% - you could save £40 a year.

2 – Your hot water cylinder thermostat should not need to be set any higher than 60°C/140°F.

3 – Turn off lights when you leave a room.

4 – Only boil as much water in your kettle as you need (but always remember to use enough water to cover the heating element).

5 – Use the 30°C wash programmed on your washing machine rather than the hotter programmes.

6 – If you are not filling your washing machine, tumble dryer or dishwasher, use the half-load or economy programme.

7 – Don’t leave your appliances on ‘standby’ or charging when you can turn them off and save energy and money.

8 – A dripping hot water tap could fill half a bath in a week – turn taps off and repair any leaking taps.

9 – Use energy saving light bulbs – one could save you £60 over it’s lifetime as they use less energy and last 10 times as long as ordinary tungsten light bulbs.

10 – Close your curtains at dusk to retain more heat within your rooms.

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