Energy efficiency is something that is of increasing concern for homeowners and landlords, as they look to reduce their utility bills and their environmental impact. A Domestic Energy Assessor has a pivotal role in this. In this article, we will provide you with all of the information you need to know regarding what a Domestic Energy Assessor does, why you need to hire one, and how to choose the Best Domestic Energy Assessor. So, continue reading to discover all.
What is a domestic energy assessor?
A Domestic Energy Assessor, often abbreviated to DEA, is an individual that works out the energy efficiency of domestic buildings, such as flats and houses, and provides their suggestions on how this can be improved. Their findings are presented in a Domestic EPC – Energy Performance Certificate.
When assessing a building, there are various factors that will be considered. The Domestic Energy Assessor will look at the building type, the number of floors, the age of the building, and heating and hot water systems, as well as the size and number of fireplaces, windows, corridors, and rooms. This information will be put into a software programme, which will calculate an EPC and an energy efficiency rating. The Energy Assessor will then explain this rating to the homeowner. They will also provide thorough and practical details on how energy efficiency can be improved.
Do you need to hire a domestic energy assessor?
There are various reasons why you may need the services of a Domestic Energy Assessor. You may simply be sick of your high utility bills, and thus, you require expert advice on where you can make some cost savings. You may also have suddenly experienced a spike in your energy costs and wish to get to the bottom of where this has come from.
Aside from this, in the United Kingdom, whenever a home is built, rented out, or sold, Energy Performance Certificates are required. This is a legal requirement. It was first enforced in England and Wales in 2007 for large domestic properties, i.e. those with four or more bedrooms. However, this has since been extended to smaller properties.
The EPC gives a property an energy efficiency rating that lasts for ten years. This is graded from A, which is most efficient, to G, which is least efficient. While this certification lasts for ten years, a new one must be ordered for potential tenants and buyers before a property is marketed to rent or sell.
You also need to be aware of future legislation that is coming into play. As of April 2016, when tenants want to make improvements that are deemed reasonable in improving the energy efficiency of a property, private residential landlords will not be allowed to refuse these requests, especially when a finance package like the Green Deal is accessible. If that was not bad enough, from April 2018, it will become illegal to rent out either commercial or residential premises that have an EPC rating of F or G. Thus, if you do not act now you could find yourself unable to rent your property out, which will lead to time off the market while you make energy improvements, and this will, of course, result in a loss of profit.
The benefits of hiring an energy assessor
As you now know, you need to supply all potential buyers and tenants with an EPC. Therefore, it is critical that you achieve a good rating on your Energy Performance Certificate. Through hiring a Domestic Energy Assessor, you will have a realistic overview of the efficiency of your property and you will know where changes can be made. This will help you to achieve a good rating before you put your property on your market. This will make your property more attractive to potential buyers and tenants because they will know that your home costs less to run. This is imperative when you consider the fact that an increasing number of people are comparing energy costs when they look for a property to rent or buy.
You may find that you can actually increase the value of your house if you improve your EPC rating. At the moment, approximately half of the domestic properties in the United Kingdom have a rating of D. This shows that there is room for huge improvement. This can lead to an increase in the value of your home by approximately six per cent, although this does differ depending on where your property is situated. Aside from this, if you are thinking about investing in renewable energy, and you wish to benefit from the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) that is offered by the government to recoup your investment, you will only be able to do this if your property is rated as D or above. And, of course, the obvious benefit is that you will be able to reduce energy expenditure, and thus save yourself a significant degree of money, while improving the environmental friendlessness of your property.
What does an EPC survey entail?
An accredited and qualified Domestic Energy Assessor will visit your property to carry out the survey. This will usually take less than an hour. They will make notes on your property, from your heating systems, to insulation, to the size of your living space. The assessor may take photographs of various elements of your property that have been surveyed. Their survey will be extensive, from a visual inspection of your windows to a head and shoulder inspection of your loft space, if possible. The biggest part of the calculation for the EPC comes from the heating system in your property. This includes making notes of all forms of heating you have, the number of thermostatic radiator valves fitted in your house, your heat controls, and such like. The assessor will also jot down some measurements, such as the height of the main rooms.
Data that will certainly be recorded includes the following – the age of the property, construction details, presence of any renewable technologies, the electricity matter, the presence of low energy light bulbs, the type of glazing, loft rooms, conservatories, extensions, the water heating, the space heating and their controls, loft insulation, floor insulation, and wall insulation. Please note that this is just a general outline and some assessors may make note of any other points of interest.
Your building will then be rated based on environmental impact, which is in regards to carbon dioxide emissions, the energy efficiency based on fuel costs, and energy use per square metre of your floor area. This then gives a rating from one of the seven alphabetical bands. You will also get a numerical rating from one to 100, with the latter being the most efficient. If your rating is low, you do need to disclose this, and, as mentioned earlier, it will be illegal in coming years to rent your property out if it has an EPC rating of F or G.
What is the difference between a domestic and commercial energy assessor?
You may have heard of the Commercial EPC before, and thus you may be wondering what the difference between the two is. A commercial building is any type of building that is used for commercial purposes, such as shopping malls, warehouses, retail stores, and office buildings. However, this is not the only difference between the two Energy Performance Certificates. Commercial EPCs are more expensive, and this is because Commercial Energy Assessors need to have the ability to analyse equipment ratings from the site and thus they need to be more technically qualified. A Commercial EPC survey takes a lot longer, taking around two hours, if not longer, and this is because it is much more intensive.
How to find the right domestic energy assessor
The importance of choosing a quality Domestic Energy Assessor should not be ignored. After all, if this person is not efficient in their role, you will receive misguided advice on the energy efficiency of your building. With this in mind, these are some things you should be looking out for:
Accreditation and quality assurance
Firstly, there are various governing bodies and schemes in place that regulate the industry to ensure quality. This includes the IDEA - The Institute for the Development of Energy Assessment, the NHER – National Home Energy Rating Scheme, and the DCHI – an association of accredited and qualified Domestic and Commercial Energy Assessors. If you find a company that is a member of such a governing body, this can assure you of their quality.
Experience and qualifications
Aside from looking at quality assurance and accreditations, you should also look for someone who has all of the necessary qualifications and a considerable amount of experience, as you want to be confident that they have carried out energy assessments many times before. The last thing you want is to be someone’s practice project.
A company may tick all the boxes as far as paperwork is concerned, but you should also read reviews that have been left by previous customers to see what they have to say about the Energy Assessor in question. This will give you a good insight into their level of quality. Did they provide a quality service? Were their recommendations effective? If you come across a ton of negative reviews, you know to look elsewhere.
Price is always an important factor when paying for a service. Nevertheless, do not make the mistake of going for the cheapest Domestic Energy Assessor you can find. Quality is always the most important aspect. Consider all other points first, and then let price be the final determining factor.
Why Choose Surrey Energy Ratings
One company that ticks all of the boxes mentioned is Surrey Energy Ratings. We provide Energy Performance Certificates for domestic properties to agents, housing associations, landlords, and homeowners in Fetcham, Cobham, Esher, Ashtead, Bookham, Kingston upon Thames, Epsom and Leatherhead. We also provide Commercial Energy Performance Certificates and air conditioning inspection services – all with your needs at the forefront of everything we do.
We have an outstanding reputation in the industry, and we can provide an EPC in around 12 hours, depending on the availability of the property for an inspection. However, during busy periods, please allow around 48 hours for the Domestic EPC to be produced, as we do focus on quality rather than quantity. We will provide you with a free no-obligation quotation, and we offer large discounts for any customers requiring multiple properties assessed.
You can be fully confident when you choose our service, as we have an extensive amount of experience in the industry, and we are members of the Institute of Domestic Energy Assessors (IDEA), we are accredited by NHER (National Home Energy Rating Scheme) and governed by their Code of Practice. We also hold full public liability insurance and professional indemnity insurance.
Our Domestic Energy Assessments are always carried out by a qualified and experienced assessor, who will thoroughly assess your property so that the most accurate and effective results are provided. We will supply you with your Energy Performance Certificate via PDF file. This ensures that you are able to print as many as you like for easy distribution. However, if a hard copy is required, we will be more than happy to supply it.
If you are interested in booking an energy assessment, all you need to do is contact Surrey Energy Ratings on 07714 291 998 or 0800 955 0998. We will arrange an inspection date and time, which will be sent to you via a confirmation email alongside the total price of the assessment. You will receive a leaflet with advice on what you need to know before the assessment, as well as a pre-inspection questionnaire, which you need to fill out and hand back to us prior to the inspection. Once the assessment is conducted, we will send your EPC to you once it is ready. Energy assessments don’t have to be stressful so why not give us a call today to book yours with confidence?