The new Building Regulations and accompanying technical upgrade to the SAP assessment methodology ask for a completely different way of measuring the energy performance of many buildings, giving a market boost to those properties with higher EPC ratings.
Effective from last week (June 15th), the updated regulations, specifically Part L on thermal performance, Part F on ventilation, and a new Part O on overheating, as well as new SAP measurement methods, apply to new homes and non-domestic buildings.
Parts L and F also apply to existing dwellings undergoing significant extension or transformation work.
They create a much more accurate way to measure energy efficiency, and the timing couldn't be more critical, given the huge public concern about sky-rocketing energy costs.
Recent research from energy analysts suggests the Ofgem fuel price cap could rise above �3,000 by October this year, remaining above �2,600 until at least October 2023.
As a result, millions of UK households are expected to encounter fuel poverty for the first time, also leading to significant impacts on health and wellbeing.
So there are strong motivations for developers and landlords to employ building techniques and heating methods that result in a good EPC. It also shifts consumer demand further towards energy-efficient properties, meaning agents will increasingly use good SAP scores and EPC ratings as a selling point and marketing tool.
But what do the Regulation changes mean for how EPCs are actually calculated for new or extended homes? Until June 15th, gas boilers rated highly as a cheaper way to heat homes!
The new measurements operate differently, favouring non-fossil fuel-dependent heating methods and building materials that conserve energy.
To support the sector, Elmhurst Energy has launched new BRE-approved SAP10.2 software for calculating a building's SAP score under regulations 24 and 25 of the updated Building Regulations 2010.
'�Design SAP10' goes beyond traditional energy cost ratings to work out the energy efficiency rating of new build homes by calculating the target CO2 emission rate, fabric energy efficiency rate, and primary energy rate, as well as the calculated CO2 emission rate, fabric energy efficiency rate, and primary energy rate.
This means developers who are not yet using and considering these metrics in design and build through to occupancy are now legally required to.
Counterbalancing this is the carrot that renters' and buyers' decision-making will be even more dependent on the energy performance of a home, meaning EPC scores have the power to influence the speed of rent or purchase.
Agents will be acutely aware of this, choosing to focus marketing more on energy-efficient homes. And in the medium-to-long term, this could materialise into higher rents or property asking prices for EPC band C and higher homes while the rest of the market catches up.
For more info on Elmhurst's software, or its domestic and non-domestic energy assessor training, visit the firm's website.
Stuart Fairlie is managing director of Elmhurst Energy, the UK's leading accreditation scheme for energy assessors