Nov 19, 2015

Legionella Risk Assessments in Essex

The HSE Approved Code of Practice (L8) advises that ‘organisations or individuals’, who provide residential accommodation or who are responsible for the water system(s) in their premises, are required to ensure that the risk of exposure to legionella in those premises is properly controlled.
Thus, landlords of residential accommodation have responsibilities for their tenants in this area

Our Certified Legionella Risk Assessors undertake a site survey to determine the risks posed to tenants / visitors to the property from its water system. The results are then detailed in a report showing the risk level of the property concerned. These findings are supported by photographic evidence and system schematics as required by L8. Where necessary any remedial work required to lower the risk will be detailed on the assessment

Oct 30, 2015

Legionella Risk Assessment in Essex for Landlords

What is legionella?
Legionella is a bacteria which lives in water systems. When breathed in, water droplets containing the bacteria can cause Legionnaires’ Disease.
What do landlords need to do?
New legislation states that landlords need to have a “competent person” undertake a risk assessment and identify if there are areas in which water could lie for long periods of time (the main risk factor for growth of the bacteria).
What happens if a landlord fails to address this issue?
There are fines for landlords who don’t comply with the regulations. Legionnaires’ Disease can be fatal, and landlords have a legal obligation to ensure that their tenants and others visiting the property are protected.
Where can landlords get further advice?
The Health and Safety Executive has published guidance for landlords, which is available online at www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires.
Here are some extracts from the Health and Safety Executive website.
The law and you.

The law is clear that if you are a landlord and rent out your property (or even a room within your own home) then you have legal responsibilities to ensure the health and safety of your tenant by keeping the property safe and free from health hazards.
Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA) makes provision for relevant health and safety legislation to apply to landlords to ensure a duty of care is shown to their tenants’ with regard to their health and safety. The general duties require under section 3(2) that “It shall be the duty of every self-employed person to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that he and other persons (not being his employees) who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.”. Landlords, under Section 53 of HSWA are regarded as being self-employed and tenants fall into the class of “other persons (not being his employees)”. If you rent out a property, you have legal responsibilities to ensure you conduct your undertaking in such a way that your tenant(s) are not exposed to health and safety risks.
If a tenant were to contract Legionnaires’ disease from the water system in their home, the landlord may be liable to prosecution under HSWA, and would have to demonstrate to a court that they had fulfilled their legal duty, so it is important that they assess and control the risks.
What are my duties?
Under general health and safety law, as an employer or person in control of a premises (eg a landlord), you have health and safety duties and need to take suitable precautions to prevent or control the risk of exposure to legionella.
Carrying out a risk assessment is your responsibility and will help you to establish any potential risks and implement measures to either eliminate or control risks. You should ask someone with the necessary skills to conduct a risk assessment. This can be done by someone from within your own organisation or from someone outside, eg an external consultant.

Oct 8, 2015

Colchester best performing town or city in first half of 2015

Colchester has biggest house price rise in England but warnings for first-time buyers07:00 23 July 2015 Matt Stott

Average property values increased by £19,298 (7.7%) in the six months to July 22 in Colchester, meaning a typical house is now worth £269,897, according to property website Zoopla. Photo: PA.

Average property values increased by £19,298 (7.7%) in the six months to July 22 in Colchester, meaning a typical house is now worth £269,897, according to property website Zoopla. Photo: PA.

Colchester was the best-performing town or city for rising house prices in England during the first half of 2015, new figures have revealed.
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Average property values increased by £19,298 (7.7%) in the six months to July 22 in the town, meaning a typical house is now worth £269,897, according to property website Zoopla.
It was a stronger price growth than London (2.6% to £600,058), Ipswich (1.6% to £224,407) and Cambridge (0.1% to £387,066). It was also the second-highest rise in Britain behind Edinburgh (8.2% to £270,800).
Alex Leader, associate director of residential development sales at estate agents Savills, said: “Colchester has got all the ingredients needed for a good house price growth: a booming local economy, great amount of amenities and fantastic day- and night-time economies.
“It has redeveloped its town centre and has a much more appealing high street now. There is quite a lot of industry in retail parks, great train links to London, so I am not surprised. It is a bit of a winner.”
Asked if perceptions of Colchester have changed over recent years, he said: “I think so. I think it was always seen as a major squaddie town and I think that perception, while it is still there, more businesses have gone into the local area and so it has become quite a centre of commerce now.”
The Zoopla research also found that property prices in Tendring rosy by 2.9% in the six months to July 22, pushing values to £389,806, while it increased in Braintree by 2.6% to £278,184.
In May, estate agents warned first-time buyers in north-east Essex face a “distant dream” of owning a home amid soaring house prices.
But Mr Leader added: “Developers are still offering Help to Buy schemes, so first-time buyers still have a good shout.
“As values are higher, developers can deliver affordable housing, because bill costs are going up and developers have to make a profit, so if house prices are going up, it makes delivering affordable housing much easier.”
Paul Devereux, partner at Palmer and Partners in Saint John’s Street, Colchester, said there was a “feel-good factor” in Colchester.
He said: “There are a lot of new-build properties in Colchester in the north and west where there is good access to the A12.
“London is commutable so anyone being out-priced in London or Chelmsford, it is still financially viable for them with a reasonable commute.
“Whether they will continue to go up at that rate is difficult to answer but demand is outstripping supply currently.”
He added: “There is always going to be that element of frustration for first-time buyers but interest rates are the lowest they have ever been so if they have got a good deposit, they can take advantage of that.”
Paul Smith, leader of Colchester Borough Council, said the research provided a “very mixed message”.
He said: “People who have got properties will be delighted, but not those trying to get on the housing ladder who are finding it increasingly difficult, as salaries have certainly not gone up by that amount.
“Consequently, we are doing all we can to provide affordable housing, and ensure that all new developments have at least 20% of affordable housing of the same quality.”

Sep 13, 2015

EPC’s in Essex

Contact Essex EPC Solutions for an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), Green Deal Assessment Report (GDAR), Floor Plan or Professional Property Photographs in Essex.
EPC in Clacton-On-Sea
EPC in Harwich
EPC in Colchester
EPC in Brightlingsea
EPC in Walton-On-The-Naze
EPC in Frinton-On-Sea
EPC in Thorpe-Le-Soken
EPC in Weeley
EPC in Wivenhoe
EPC in Eight Ash Green
EPC in Jaywick
EPC in Dovercourt
EPC in Kirby-Le-Soken
EPC in Little Clacton
EPC in Holland-On-Sea
EPC in Great Holland
EPC in Great Bentley
EPC in St Osyth
EPC in Thorrington
EPC in Alresford
EPC in Beaumont
EPC in Great Oakley
EPC in Little Oakley
EPC in Manningtree
EPC in Mistley
EPC in Lawford
EPC in Ardleigh
EPC in Rowhedge
EPC in Fingringhoe
EPC in Frating
EPC in Elmstead Market
EPC in Great Bromley
EPC in Little Bentley
EPC in Elmstead
EPC in Bradfield
EPC in Highwoods
EPC in West Bergholt
EPC in Stanway

Cheap Energy Performance Certificates for Estate Agents and Homeowners in and around Essex with Essex EPC Solutions.

Sep 7, 2015

Biomass

Wood-fuelled heating systems, also called biomass systems, burn wood pellets, chips or logs to provide warmth in a single room or to power central heating and hot water boilers.A stove burns logs or pellets to heat a single room – and may be fitted with a back boiler to provide water heating as well. A boiler burns logs, pellets or chips, and is connected to a central heating and hot water system. A wood-fuelled biomass boiler could save you up to £880 a year compared to electric heating.
The benefits of biomass heating
Affordable heating fuel

Although the price of wood fuel varies considerably, it is often cheaper than other heating options.

 

Financial support

Wood fuel boiler systems could benefit from the Renewable Heat Incentive.

 

A low-carbon option

The carbon dioxide emitted when wood is burned is the same amount that was absorbed over the months and years that the plant was growing. The process is sustainable as long as new plants continue to grow in place of those used for fuel. There are some carbon emissions caused by the cultivation, manufacture and transportation of the fuel, but as long as the fuel is sourced locally, these are much lower than the emissions from fossil fuels.

if you live in Scotland, view case studies and examples where homeowners have installed a wood-fuelled heating system.
Costs, savings and financial support
Costs
A biomass pellet stove will cost around £4,300 including installation. Installing a new log stove will usually cost less than half this, including a new flue or chimney lining.
For boilers, an automatically fed pellet boiler for an average home costs between £9,000 and £21,000, including installation, flue, fuel store and VAT at 5 per cent. Manually fed log boiler systems can be slightly cheaper.
Pellet costs depend mainly on the size and method of delivery. If you have room for a large fuel store that will accept several tonnes of pellets at a time, delivered in bulk by tanker, you can keep the cost down to around £230 per tonne in most parts of the UK.
Logs can be cheaper than pellets, but costs depend on the wood suppliers in your local area, as they cost a lot to transport.If you have room to store more than a year’s worth of logs you can save money by buying unseasoned logs and letting them season for a year. Search for wood fuel suppliers in your area at Log Pile.
Savings
Savings in carbon dioxide emissions are very significant – up to 15.4 tonnes a year – when a wood-fuelled boiler replaces a solid (coal) fired system or electric storage heating. Financial savings are more variable – if you replace an older gas heating system with a wood-burning system you might save up to £70 a year, but if you are replacing an old electric heating system you could save as much as £880 per year. This table shows how much you could save by installing pellet central heating in a typical four-bedroom detached house with basic insulation.
England, Scotland and Wales 
Existing system Fuel bill savings (£/year) 

Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payment (£/year)
1 July 2015 to 30 Septemebr 2015
 Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payment (£/year)

1 October 2015 to 3 December 2015
Carbon dioxide savings (kgCO2/year)

Electricity (old electric storage heaters) £490 to £880 £1,385 to £2,090 £1,245 to £1,880 9,700 to 15,700 kg

Oil older (non-condensing) £130 to £140 5,600 to 8,200 kg

LPG older (non-condensing) £970 to £1,390 5,300 to 7,800 kg

Coal £300 to £460 10,100 to 15,400 kg

Gas older (non-condensing £10 to £70 4,600 to 6,800 kg 

Northern Ireland
Existing system Fuel bill savings (£/year) Northern Ireland Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive Carbon dioxide savings (kg/CO2/year)

Electricity (old electric storage heaters) £700 to £1,240 Domestic RHI is available in Northern Ireland through NI Direct. 9,700 to 15,700 kg

Oil older (non-condensing) £465 to £625 5,600 to 8,200 kg

LPG older (non-condensing) £1,040 to £1,485 5,300 to 7,800 kg

Coal £270 to £410 10,100 to 15,400 kg

Gas older (non-condensing) £135 to £145 4,600 to 6,800 kg

 
Financial support for biomass
You may be able to receive payments for the heat you produce from a wood boiler or a pellet stove with back boiler through the UK government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).
Please be aware of the changes to the domestic RHI criteria from 5 October 2015:
The UK government will introduce new sustainability criteria for installations using biomass fuels under the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive on 5 October 2015.

From 5 October 2015 biomass fuel used by RHI participants must be sourced from a supplier on the Biomass Suppliers List at the time the fuel was purchased. It is advisable to check whether your fuel supplier is registered before entering into any long term supply contract. 

Find out more about support available.
Maintenance
Biomass boilers and stoves should be kept clean and swept regularly to remove ash. Ash quantities are generally very low (less than one per cent of fuel volume), but you will still need to empty the ash bin of a wood burning stove or boiler. This is likely to be weekly and never more than once a day. A log fire requires ash removal before every use.
Some appliances, particularly boilers, have self-cleaning systems which will collect ash from the combustion grate and the heat exchanger tubes. If there is no automatic ash cleaning mechanism in place the boiler will need to be shut down periodically so that this can be done by hand. If the ash is not cleaned out regularly, it will build up and adversely affect combustion conditions, which can lead to boiler failure and shut down. Some boilers have a mechanism for compressing the ash which reduces the number of times the ash bin needs to be emptied.
With automatic ash removal and cleaning of the heat exchanger the only other maintenance requirement will be occasional ash removal and an annual maintenance check. If you have a wood burning stove or boiler the chimney and flue pipe must be swept regularly to remove all soot deposits and prevent blockage. HETAS recommend that this “should be done at least twice a year, preferably before the heating season to check that the flue has not been blocked by bird’s nests for example and also at the end of the heating season to prevent soot deposits from resting in the chimney during the dormant period”.
Further information on chimney safety can also be found in the National Association of Chimney Sweep’s leaflet Heat your Home Safely. Burning wet wood increases the amount of soot in a chimney and with it the chance of a chimney fire. Logs should always be seasoned (air-dried) for at least a year before being burned.
Choosing a wood-fuelled heating system
Boiler or stove? 
Boilers can be used in place of a standard gas or oil boiler to heat radiators for a whole house, and to heat the hot water. Stoves are used to heat a single room, usually in conjunction with other heating systems, but may also have a back boiler to provide hot water. Stoves are not eligible under the domestic RHI unless it is a pellet stove with a back boiler.
Chips, pellets or logs?
Chips are used to heat larger buildings or groups of houses.
Pellets are much easier to use and much more controllable than logs. Pellet boilers can run automatically in much the same way that gas or oil boilers operate. Most pellet and chip burners use automatic fuel feeders which refill them at regular intervals.
Log-burning stoves and boilers have to be filled with wood by hand and require considerably more work. You will need a lot of logs to heat a whole house, but they can be cheaper than pellets if you have a good local supply.
Do you have a local fuel supplier? 
Some companies now offer deliveries of pellets anywhere in mainland Britain and Northern Ireland while the supply of logs is more variable.
Do you have space?
Wood boilers are larger than gas or oil equivalents and you will need space to store the fuel. This area will need to be somewhere that’s handy for deliveries as well as appropriate for feeding the boiler.
Do you have somewhere to put the flue?
You will need a flue which meets the regulations for wood-burning appliances. This could be a new insulated stainless steel flue pipe or an existing chimney, though chimneys normally need lining to make them safe and legal.
Do you need permission?
You may not need planning permission, but you should always check. All new wood heating systems have to comply with building regulations, and the best way to ensure this is to use an installer who is a member of a competent person scheme. For more information on planning permission for biomass download our guide.

Sep 7, 2015

Solar Panels

There are many ways to save energy and reduce fuel utility bills in modern and older homes in the UK, the use of solar photovoltaics is just one method. Loans, finance and a grant are often available through an MCS adviser. A renewable energy loan can help repay the cost of your project. We recommend starting out by viewing the section regarding Renewable Energy Resources as a starter for home efficiency savings, with an introduction to some Green Energy solutions for the home owner. This section serves as a comparison website to provide homeowners with further facts and information to help reduce energy consumption, and thus maintain a sustainable future through the reduction of CO2 emissions further enhancing “green” credentials, whilst saving money in the process, on rising prices in today’s energy market.
Photovoltaic panels can convert the sun’s energy, generate and store electricity by the use of rechargeable batteries using a power inverter.
Types of “Solar Panel”
There are two basic types of solar panel in use today, most households or business companies are familiar with the common term, however for specific requirements you will need:
Evacuated Tube Solar Panel, this type of solar collector is used for solar heating, providing solar thermal energy to heat hot water for domestic homes and commercial premises. For specifications and further details refer to Evacuated Tube Solar Collectors a collector of this type is best for Solar Heating.
Flat Plate Solar Panel, this type of solar collector is used for solar power, providing solar energy to create electricity for domestic homes and commercial premises. For specifications and further details refer to Flat Plate Solar Collectors and Photovoltaic Panels
As a solar energy technology they help provide power for the running of appliances and lighting within a home or other property, they also have the benefit of being environmentally friendly as they do not emit any greenhouse gases during their operation.
“Payback Time” for solar collectors
Quite simply the payback time is determined by your initial outlay for your chosen solar energy option (the hardware and installation costs) verses the time it takes for your savings in energy costs to pay for the green energy solution you have chosen for your project. Thereafter, you begin to save money on your utility bills. A typical low cost solution for home energy generation is a domestic wind turbine for your home, as the initial costs are lower than say the installation of solar panels or a ground source heat pump, these installations may take longer to pay for themselves. It is worth considering seeking specialist advice for any renewable energy option to determine if the solution is the right one for your needs.
Benefits
PV Solar Panels reduce CO2 emissions. Grants are available to assist in the installation costs, this helps to reduce the “payback” period. Flexible installation options are available including roof, canopy, sky light applications.
For more information regarding free quotes from an accredited installer for solar thermal systems, solar electric Solar Panels Thorpe-le-Soken Installers PV for homes, commercial buildings local, or near to your location. Get advice about grant schemes in your area.
Installation
When using solar energy consider the location and aspect of the solar radiation, also, the weather, shade and angle of the panels to maximise efficiency, in general such factors may affect the overall performance of the system as a whole. Check with your local authority with respect to planning permission when installing a system of this type. As mentioned above a PV system can be connected the local electricity grid, the excess power generated can be sold back to the grid operator via a feed-in-tariff, this can help offset the cost of the new installation. Solar arrays are the best way of generating sufficient power for export to the national grid.
Solar PV Stand-alone systems, produce electricity which is then stored in batteries, the stored power can then be drawn as and when required.
For England the planning laws have changed in favour of home domestic renewable technologies and in most cases solar panel installations do not require planning permission, provided that size constraints are adhered to. Consider also that some types of installation will still require planning permission particularly for flat roofs, a listed building, and property situated in a conservation area.
Solar photovoltaic systems can be used for any new building or retro-fitted to existing property. Generally a southfacing aspect is best to achieve the best efficiency. They are mainly used to supplement the building’s energy supply, but can be used to export surplus generation back to the main electricity grid. Some owners of such systems can reclaim the exported power from the grid supplier on a payback system for units exported.
Did You Know?
Installers and suppliers can now provide a Photovoltaic (PV) panel adjacent to a solar heating panel, this type of installation can generate electricity (via the Solar PV Panel) to power the solar water heating pump. This type of installation is known in the trade as a “Solar Twin”. This type of system can help reduce your dependence on grid supplied electricity even further.
Solar Energy Building Design Products
The current design of buildings should encompass the environmental principles whilst maximising the sustainability and practicality of the building for the owner. There are many specialist consultants available in this field, find out more about Sustainable Homes.
Find companies for Building Design Products
Consideration should be given to new build homes as to the orientation and position to maximise solar gain, in this way, it can help reduce energy use, particularly in winter months. High levels of insulation should be used, and the materials used in the construction are obtained from sustainable sources.
The Sustainable Building Code helps to address these issues. The Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) also known as the BRE Ecohomes System. Assessors known as Code Assessors are specialists in this field.
Further information about Environmental Building Design Products
Funding & Grants
The UK Government has a strategy to help reduce “fuel poverty” in Britain. Families can claim certain benefits to secure a Grant or funding for energy efficiency measures. If you claim benefits you may be eligible to receive a grant for insulation, lighting or a high efficiency gas boiler to replace Grade G heating boilers or other energy saving installation. Under the Green Deal initiative it is possible that solar panels may be eligible for a grant under the green deal scheme, this would be of particular importance to social housing and housing associations (RSL’s) that are looking to invest in solar energy. In many cases it is worthwhile contacting your local council who provide schemes for this purpose.
Please note that some of the entitlements may change due to varying legislation, and Government sponsored schemes. See also Home Energy Saving Grants.

Jul 5, 2015

Energy Performance Certificate

Energy Performance CertificateEPCs explained: If you’re selling or renting your home out, you need to make sure your home has an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
How much energy does your home use? Is it energy efficient? Are you eligible for certain benefit owing to a greener lifestyle?
These are the sorts of questions an energy performance certificate, or EPC, is there to answer. An EPC gives you a score relating to how much carbon you generate.
Energy Performance Certificate

By law, all buildings that have been newly built, sold or rented out need an Energy Performance Certificate.
Likewise, if you’re buying or renting a property, you need to make sure you look at the Energy Performance Certificate.
The EPC, which is valid for 10 years, will give you an idea of how expensive the property will be to run, in terms of your gas and electricity bills.
It’s good to know as much as possible about your new home’s energy efficiency before you move in – it will give you a good idea the amount of money you might need to spend on the house in future, whether it’s on energy-efficient measures or on your energy bills.
It is worth noting that the EPC is sometimes mistakenly referred to as the ‘EPC Certificate’, a term which efftively translates to the ‘Energy Performance Certificate Certificate!’
What is an Energy Performance Certificate?

Sample energy performance certificate

Energy Performance Certificates look similar to the EU Energy Labels you see on electrical appliances, such as fridges and washing machines.
Essentially, Energy Performance Certificates are a list of statistics about the energy efficiency of your home. They also have recommendations on where you could make improvements.
EPCs carry ratings on energy use and carbon dioxide emissions. Two readings are given – one states the level of efficiency that your home is currently achieving, the other suggests what level of efficiency your home could be achieving if you were to put energy-efficient measures in place.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC): how does it work?

To simplify things the EPC is done on a sliding rating scale providing summarised ‘at a glance’ information about the energy efficiency of your home. The rating scale is colour coded and alphabetised, running from A to G:
A (Dark green) is highly efficient
G (Red) is low efficiency
Most homes appear around grade D, this is the average.
What other information does the certificate contain?

While EPCs are known by the rating scale, and the relative financial implications of that scale when it comes to selling your home, it also contains plenty of other information designed to help you make your home ‘greener’. This information includes:
estimates of the energy your property potentially uses;
carbon dioxide emissions;
fuel costs;
details of the person who carried out the assessment;
who to contact for complaints.
Using this information you can assess the impact of energy-saving upgrades you make when you have your home reassessed later on. These estimates will also influence your eligibility for support and payments, including the ‘Feed-in Tariff’ payments.
What if you’re selling your property?

The recommendations are only a guide, so there are no legal obligations to make the changes that the report recommends. If you do make the changes, you will improve your home’s energy rating and therefore make the property more attractive to buyers.
Energy performance certificate

Bear in mind that a better energy performance rating is likely to appeal to prospective buyers. Not only does this show your home is cheaper to run than a house of comparable size with a higher rating, but in an era of rising energy prices this is likely to have a greater and greater impact.
What’s more most savvy buyers will know the financial implications of buying a home with a lower EPC rating. In future it’s possible that taxes and benefits will be increasingly tied to a home’s EPC, making the cost of reducing the carbon emissions of a home a cost factor that should be considered when buying.
How do I get an Energy Performance Certificate?

If you’re a landlord or a property owner you need to contact an accredited domestic energy assessor to assess your property and produce a certificate.
If you are working with an estate agent to rent your property out or sell it, they may already employ a domestic energy assessor. Otherwise they may be able to recommend one to you.
Which buildings need an EPC?

Almost all homes need and EPC, but that technical definition is that a building requires an EPC if it uses heating or air-conditioning. By definition, it uses energy to ‘condition an indoor climate’ i.e. between a roof and walls.
Every part of a building, or extension to a building that uses its own internal heating system will need an EPC.
I’m installing solar panels – do I need an Energy Performance Certificate?

From the 1st April 2012, you’ll also need an EPC of band D or higher if you want to have solar panels installed in your home and receive the standard rate from the Feed-in Tariff.
If your property is below band D when you first apply for the Feed-in Tariff you will receive a lower rate, which will remain even if you improve your home’s energy performance at a later date.
As the Feed-in Tariff rate is a crucial component in assessing the earning potential of your solar panels it is also crucial to have your home assessed first. Should you have a lower rating it may make more financial sense to improve your home in other ways first, such as installing insulation.
If you’re interested in buying solar panels or want to find out if you qualify for free solar power, click through to our guide.
EPC’s and the Green Deal

If you have a Green Deal assessment carried out on your property you’ll get an EPC along with your Occupancy Assessment.
This EPC will indicate what you could do to improve the energy-efficiency of your home and what you could pay for with the Green Deal.
The EPC will also say if you have a Green Deal in place on your property.

Jul 2, 2015

Domestic EPC FAQ’s

Domestic EPC FAQs

 I have an existing EPC for my property- is it still valid?

A: EPCs are now valid for 10 years from their certificate date.

Q: Can I advertise a property before the EPC has been produced?

A: There may be occasions when it is possible to offer a dwelling for rent before the EPC is available. However this should not be the norm. The landlord will be expected to have made contact with a DEA and commissioned the EPC with a view to receiving it within two weeks of the date it was commissioned.

Q: Do HMOs need EPCs?

A: There has been some confusion about whether HMO landlords need to provide EPCs. If you rent a HMO to a number of tenants who each have their own bedroom, but share bathroom and/or kitchen facilities an EPC is not required, unless you sell the house or let it as one whole dwelling.

Letting houses to a group of sharers with just one contract, as many HMO landlords do, is different. In this case you will need to provide an EPC for the whole property when you let to new tenants after 1st October 2008. EPCs are required for self-contained flats (with their own kitchen and bathroom facilities).

Q: How long does an EPC assessment process take?

A: Usually around 45 minutes to 1 hour for a typical 3-bed house. Complex properties with one or more extensions can take longer.

Q: What if the tenant wants to buy the property they already occupy? Can I use the existing EPC?

A: If the tenant wants to purchase the dwelling they rent, the same EPC can be used. An EPC is required but this can be up to 10 years old.

Q: Will my energy bills be taken into account?

A: Theestimated energy bill calculations on the EPC are based on standardised living conditions (not on the current owner’s lifestyle). This allows benchmark comparisons between properties of a similar type.

Q. Is it possible to update an EPC without the need to commission a new survey? For example, if a replacement boiler has been fitted.

A: A DEA who issues the EPC would need to be satisfied that it accurately reflects the energy performance of the property. The DEA may be satisfied through means other than a full survey.

Q: I want to check the energy efficiency rating of my house but I am not looking to sell yet?

A: It is possible to arrange an EPC at any time and if you are not moving you will benefit from finding out how good yourhome isin terms ofgenerating and retaining the heat energy used and what improvements could be made to reduceyourenergy bills.

Q: Will I have to issue an EPC if I have a lodger in my house?

A: A letting of a room within your larger household does not constitute a rental of a building or part of a building therefore an EPC is not required.

Jun 17, 2015

Changes to EPCs for the Green Deal

The government’s ‘Green Deal’ scheme started in February 2013, and EPCs have changed as a result. The Green Deal is an initiative that enables you to borrow money to make energy-saving improvements to your home, which will be repaid through your gas and electricity bills.  
The Green Deal has a clause called the ‘Golden Rule’. This means that the repayments of the money you’ve borrowed should not exceed the savings you make from the improvements to your home. Although in the short to medium term, until the cost of installing the energy efficient measure has been paid off, repayments may offset any savings made on your energy bills. But if you move home, the Green Deal and any repayments will be passed to the new owner of the home and will not move with you.
Energy-saving advice on EPCs

To reflect the introduction of the Green Deal, EPCs have been updated to make it much clearer to consumers how much they might save from making greener home improvements. Features of the new certificate include the following.

Potential cost of heating, lighting and hot water after home improvements made.
Total potential savings, and the potential energy performance rating you might receive after making improvements to your home.

Recommended actions to take (such as increasing loft insulation and draught proofing).

The potential cost of undertaking these improvements, and the typical saving over a three-year period.

Whether or not the recommended actions are available under the Green Deal.

If the recommendations in the EPC are available under the Green Deal, you will see a green tick next to them. If you have to pay money upfront, you will see an amber tick next to the measure. You can click to view a sample new look energy performance certificate.

If your EPC recommends changes available under the Green Deal you may be able to get finance from the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund. Under the scheme you may be able to get up to £7,600 in funding for energy efficient home improvements. 

Contact Essex EPC Solutions for an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), Green Deal Assessment Report (GDAR), Floor Plan or Professional Property Photographs in Essex.
EPC in Clacton-On-Sea

EPC in Harwich

EPC in Colchester

EPC in Brightlingsea

EPC in Walton-On-The-Naze

EPC in Frinton-On-Sea

EPC in Thorpe-Le-Soken

EPC in Weeley

EPC in Wivenhoe

EPC in Eight Ash Green

EPC in Jaywick

EPC in Dovercourt

EPC in Kirby-Le-Soken

EPC in Little Clacton

EPC in Holland-On-Sea

EPC in Great Holland

EPC in Great Bentley

EPC in St Osyth

EPC in Thorrington

EPC in Alresford

EPC in Beaumont

EPC in Great Oakley

EPC in Little Oakley

EPC in Manningtree

EPC in Mistley

EPC in Lawford

EPC in Ardleigh

EPC in Rowhedge

EPC in Fingringhoe

EPC in Frating

EPC in Elmstead Market

EPC in Great Bromley

EPC in Little Bentley

EPC in Elmstead

EPC in Bradfield

EPC in Highwoods

EPC in West Bergholt

EPC in Stanway
Cheap Energy Performance Certificates for Estate Agents and Homeowners in and around Essex with Essex EPC Solutions.

May 26, 2015

Green Deal Reports

The Green Deal explainedGetting a Green Deal assessment

Assessing a house

A Green Deal assessor can be independent or affiliated with a Green Deal provider

If you wish to take out a Green Deal loan with a Green Deal provider, you need to have a Green Deal assessment. The assessment will also be able to show you the energy efficiency of your home, and will also look at the energy consumption that occurs in your property.
A Green Deal assessor can be a sole trader, or part of a larger organisation. They will send round a Green Deal adviser to carry out a thorough examination of your property, and then recommend energy-efficient measures that would be suitable to install in your home. 
Before you organise your assessment, however, make sure to download and print out the Which? pdf checklist, packed with helpful tips of what to do before, during and after your Green Deal assessment. 
How will my property be assessed?

The Green Deal adviser will produce a Green Deal advice report made up of two documents: 
an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), which rates your home’s energy efficiency on an A to G rating scale 

an Occupancy Assessment, which assesses how you use energy in your home. 

EPCs are already in use, as they have to be produced when properties are sold or rented out. An EPC is a basic assessment of the fabric of your property; it assumes how many people live in the property and how they use their heating, so it does not take account of your actual usage or energy bills. The Occupancy Assessment is personalised to you and does assess your own energy use.
The EPC is used to decide the amount of Green Deal finance you can borrow. This means there is a risk – particularly for low energy users – that the EPC could overstate how much energy you could save, meaning that your repayments might be higher than the savings you make on your energy bills. In this case, the assessor is required to get a written acknowledgement from you, showing that you are aware of this risk.
You can find out more about claiming money back with the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund on our page on paying for the Green Deal.
Green Deal Approved

Check the assessor and installer are accredited with the Green Deal Quality Mark

Are Green Deal assessors/advisers independent?

The advisor is required to carry out an ‘impartial’ assessment, but is not required to be independent of a company selling energy-saving measures (a Green Deal provider). The adviser must tell you if they are linked to other Green Deal organisations and whether they are on commission. The adviser may only try to sell you products at the same time as doing your assessment if they have your express consent before they visit.
Green Deal advisers will recommend improvements that are appropriate for your property. The main requirement of advisers is to ensure that the package of measures they recommend meets the ‘Golden Rule’ – this means that repayments of the cost of installing the measures won’t be any greater than the energy savings made on your electricity bill (which, remember, does not guarantee savings) – though this does not necessarily mean that it is the very best package for you. You are entitled to ask your adviser or provider if there is an alternative package that will deliver bigger energy savings and/or at lower cost. 
If the adviser works is tied to a particular provider, check whether they are only recommending the type of products or services that the provider sells, and ask about other options.
It will be possible for you to get more than one Green Deal assessment and quote, but you may have to pay for each visit. So-called ‘free’ assessments may depend on you taking out a Green Deal with a particular provider, so watch out for terms and conditions on this before you have your assessment.
Can Green Deal providers sell other products too?

Yes, there is nothing to stop Green Deal providers selling you all sorts of other home improvements such as furniture, a new kitchen or bathroom, or decorating and building services. They just need to make the distinction clear to you. 
Which? is concerned that in these cases consumers may become confused as to what is being sold under the Green Deal, and what is not but is also being sold on credit. 
If you are interested in a new kitchen, don’t sign up until you’ve read our research revealing the best and worst kitchen brands.
Is the Green Deal a government-backed scheme?

Not really. It is a commercial scheme with no government subsidy. Green Deal companies are not allowed to suggest that they are recommended or approved by the government, or that they are working in conjunction or association with the government.
However, the Green Deal is backed by government-approved standards and a code of practice giving additional consumer protections should something go wrong. For example, there is a Green Deal Ombudsman to help deal with complaints, although your first port of call for any complaints should be the provider that you signed up with.
Are the measures installed protected by warranties?

Green Deal cavity wall insulation

Under the Green Deal cavity wall insulation is guaranteed for 25 years

Most Green Deal measures come with a minimum five-year warranty and an extended 10-year guarantee to cover any building damage sustained as a result of the measures being installed. For solid wall insulation and cavity wall insulation, Green Deal providers must offer guarantees for both the improvements and consequential building damage for 25 years.
You can find more information on solid and cavity wall insulation, including how to install, how much they cost and save and what to watch out for, in our expert guides on solid wall insulation and cavity wall insulation. 
Should you have a problem with a product after the warranty has expired, this would mean that you will still be paying for a non-functioning product and will have no protection. So, for example, if your boiler breaks down after the five-year warranty period has elapsed, you will still have to make Green Deal repayments on it (although these are limited to the boiler’s expected lifetime), as well as having to pay for repairs or a replacement boiler. 
If you do need a new boiler, use our expert guide on choosing a replacement boiler to help you choose the best brand and boiler for your home.