Why isn't draught-proofing EPC's number one recommendation?
Posted by Linn Rafferty on 29 April 2013 at 10:44 am
Q: I've been wondering about how often the EPC suggests-draught proofing and extreme draught-proofing as the number 1 recommendation? Most homes built before the 1950s are really draughty, even if the new builds have low U values for walls, floors etc or good thick insulation, it is rather pointless if draught issues are not dealt with.
I only ask as I want help through the Green Deal with this but don't see the point on wasting time and money doing EPC if its only going to recommend a better boiler and external wall Insulation.
A: Well, it doesn’t recommend it very often, and there are a couple of reasons for that.
Firstly, draught proofing doesn’t make a lot of difference to the cost of heating the home, and the EPC recommendations are required to make sufficient cost savings for an improvement of at least 1 SAP point, otherwise they don’t appear. Draught proofing does make a lot of difference to the comfort of a room, and as it’s generally not too expensive it’s well worth doing, but the EPC recommendations are mainly about saving money.
Secondly, the only form of draught proofing recommended on the EPC is for windows and doors. There is no recommendation for reducing other draughts, such as from unused chimneys or gaps at floor level. Reducing draughts from these sources can certainly be done, but they can’t appear as a recommendation on the EPC.
In terms of Green Deal, draught proofing is an approved Green Deal improvement measure. This means it’s possible to include it in a Green Deal advice report and subsequent Green Deal plan, but again it’s only windows and doors that are included. Unlike the EPC, there’s no requirement for the improvement to give significant cost savings – they only need to meet the Golden Rule. This means that they must make enough savings each year to exceed the repayments, including interest, during the year. It’s worth remembering that Green Deal finance is only available for professionally installed improvements, not DIY. There’s more on the Golden Rule in my other blog.
Q: Also who would I complain to about procedures followed by the Wise Group in Glasgow, they do roof insulation, but only deal with draughts if you ask them and won't come back out for draughts alone. This seems rather wasteful in terms of meeting energy performance targets, sending men out to a job multiple times, when the 2 jobs should go hand in hand and are both FREE for the customer!!! Also means the insulation does not really help. So any ideas who i could write to about this?
A: The Wise Group is a social enterprise that works with a number of different organisations to deliver help to Scottish people, and energy efficiency and energy advice are two ways they help. Unfortunately I don’t know which scheme you are describing, so I can’t tell you who is providing the funding for the scheme. If, for instance, the scheme you refer to is funded by the Scottish Government, the Wise Group will be required to follow procedures set out by the Scottish Government for the scheme.
Your first point of contact if you want to comment on their procedures would be the Wise Group themselves. If you didn’t receive a satisfactory answer, you could then take it up with the funding provider.
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About the author: @linniR is a consultant, a freelance writer and a Domestic Energy Assessor accredited with the NHER scheme, and she enjoys all three. She tweets regularly on issues relating to energy efficiency and renewables and provides consultancy, especially in relation to training needs.
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