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Energy Efficiency and EPCs — A Guide for Homeowners, Renters and Landlords

Understanding UK Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) 

Anyone who has bought, sold or rented a house in the last few years will be familiar with Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs). Featured as a coloured graphic at the bottom of the Estate Agents’ particulars, these charts suddenly became more important as energy prices soared. Below, we describe what EPCs are, how they are calculated, their historical background, their advice to homeowners, and their legal requirements.

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The UK implemented Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) in 2007. To help homeowners, tenants, and businesses make informed decisions about energy usage and understand a building’s energy efficiency. 

EPCs offer vital knowledge about a property’s energy efficiency, provide recommendations for occupiers/owners to reduce energy consumption, and give potential buyers/renters an idea of the home’s running costs. That quaint crumbling cottage might not be so attractive if keeping warm is expensive.

What are Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)?

Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) are official documents that assess and rate the energy efficiency of a building. These certificates provide information about the energy consumption and carbon emissions associated with the property and recommendations for improving its energy efficiency. EPCs are legally required in the UK when a property is built, sold, or rented — in 2018, Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) were introduced for rental properties. 

The primary purpose of an EPC is to provide potential buyers or tenants with an insight into the energy efficiency of a property, allowing them to make knowledgeable decisions regarding their energy usage and related costs. Additionally, EPCs help identify areas where improvements can be made to enhance a property’s energy efficiency, benefiting both the environment and the occupants.

EPC Calculation and Rating Methodology

The calculation and rating methodology used in EPCs is based on various factors related to a building’s construction, insulation, heating systems, and energy consumption. Trained assessors, who may be independent or appointed by accredited organisations, carry out assessments to generate EPCs. The assessments involve examining different aspects of the property, such as its size, construction materials, heating systems, insulation levels, and ventilation.

The EPC rating is presented on a scale ranging from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient). Similar to appliance labelling. The rating is determined by calculating the total energy usage per square meter of the property and comparing it to a benchmark figure for comparable buildings. Allowing for a standardised and fair comparison between different properties, regardless of size or type.

The EPC also includes a numerical indicator called the Energy Efficiency Rating, which ranges from 1 to 100. A higher score signifies greater energy efficiency. The EPC report provides a breakdown of the property’s current energy efficiency, potential for improvement, and estimated energy costs.

Historical Backdrop

Energy Performance Certificates were introduced in the UK in 2007 due to the European Union’s Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, which aimed to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions in buildings across Europe. The UK government implemented the directive through the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007.

Since their introduction, EPCs have become an integral part of the property market in the UK. They serve as a tool to increase understanding about energy consumption, promote energy efficiency, and help achieve national and international environmental goals.

Advice for Homeowners to Reduce Energy Usage

One of the critical benefits of EPCs is the advice they provide to homeowners on reducing energy consumption and improving their properties energy efficiency. This guidance is handy for those looking to lower their energy bills, minimise their environmental impact, and create a more comfortable living space. The recommendations offered in EPC reports are tailored to each specific property, considering its unique characteristics and current energy performance.

EPCs guidance typically covers a range of areas, including:

Insulation Improvements — the fabric of the building 

EPCs often recommend insulation improvements to enhance a property’s energy efficiency. This may involve adding or upgrading insulation in walls, roofs, and floors to reduce heat loss and retain warmth within the building. Proper insulation can significantly reduce the need for excessive heating, resulting in energy savings and increased comfort.

Heating Systems — controls and upgrades

Efficient heating systems play a vital role in reducing energy consumption. EPCs offer advice on upgrading or optimising heating systems, including installing energy-efficient boilers, smart thermostats, and programmable controls. These measures help regulate temperature and reduce energy wastage, lowering energy bills.

The EPC rating considers the cost of heating and powering the dwelling, favouring gas heating due to historically lower gas prices. As a result, EPCs commonly suggest new gas boilers over low-carbon heat pumps. However, recent increases in energy prices have narrowed the gap between gas and electricity prices, making heat pump running costs comparable to gas boilers for many homes. Despite this, the EPC rating system has not yet reflected this change. The government has an action plan to improve EPC calculations, but until then, replacing a gas boiler with a heat pump may reduce the EPC score.

Lighting and Appliances — low-cost, simple recommendations 

The choice of lighting and household appliances can considerably impact energy usage. EPCs often recommend switching to energy-efficient lighting solutions, such as LED bulbs, which consume significantly less electricity while providing the same brightness level. 

Currently, EPCs do not include appliances as they are not part of the fabric of the building. Even though replacing old and inefficient appliances with energy-saving models will result in substantial energy and cost savings over time. 

Renewable Energy Sources — long-term investments

EPC reports may suggest installing renewable energy technologies, such as solar PV panels and wind turbines, to generate clean energy on-site. These renewable sources can supplement or replace traditional energy sources, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and lowering carbon emissions and energy bills.

Legal Requirements for Sellers and Landlords

EPCs have been a legal requirement in the UK since 2008 for all domestic and non-domestic properties, whether new or existing, that are sold, rented, or newly constructed. The Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007, later amended in 2012 and 2013, outline the specific legal obligations related to EPCs.

The law requires property owners, including homeowners and landlords, to obtain an EPC before marketing a property for sale or rent. The certificate must be made available to potential buyers or tenants, allowing them to assess the property’s energy performance and associated costs. Failure to comply with these legal conditions can result in penalties and financial consequences.

Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) Requirements for Rental Properties

Since 2018, the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) have been in effect in England and Wales, requiring rental properties to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of A to E for legal renting. MEES was introduced in 2015 and made it illegal for landlords to rent properties with an EPC rating below E, meaning poorly insulated F or G-rated homes couldn’t be offered for rent until their rating improved.

The government plans to strengthen MEES further by 2025, only allowing new rental homes with the highest ratings of A, B, or C. Many landlords are unaware of potential rule changes.

EPCs last for ten years, but if legislative changes are implemented, landlords may need a valid EPC at all times, even with the same tenants.

Landlords can be fined for not having a valid EPC, with proposals to raise the fine to £30,000 by 2025. To prepare for potential changes, landlords should check their property’s current EPC and consider improvements to boost the rating, such as insulation, double-glazed windows, or a new boiler.

In Scotland, all privately rented homes must have an EPC rating between A and E since March 2022, with new tenancies requiring a rating of D or above since April 2022. All rented homes must be rated D or above by 31 March 2025. In Northern Ireland, EPCs are mandatory for property sales or rentals, but no specific minimum standard is required.

The UK government offers financial assistance for energy-efficient improvements, and landlords should check if their local council provides any incentives for such modifications.

Commitment to Reducing Carbon Emissions

The introduction of EPCs as a legal requirement reflects the UK government’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions, promoting energy efficiency, and raising awareness about the environmental impact of buildings. It empowers individuals to make informed decisions regarding energy consumption and encourages property owners to invest in energy-saving measures.

EPCs Offer Practical Advice to Homeowners, Landlords and Commercial Tenants.

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) serve as essential tools in the UK to assess and rate the energy efficiency of buildings. They provide valuable information about energy consumption, carbon emissions, and potential cost savings. EPCs also offer practical advice to occupiers and owners, helping them make informed decisions on energy-saving measures. With the legal requirement to have an EPC when selling a property, the UK government ensures that energy efficiency remains a priority, promoting sustainability and supporting the transition towards a greener future.

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Home solar panels and battery energy storage explained

Solar panels have become an increasingly popular choice for homeowners in the UK, and for a good reason. Installing solar panels can help reduce household bills, generate electricity for your home, and even earn you money through the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits of solar panels for micro-home generation and energy storage and how they can help you save money, outline the space requirements, and planning permission conditions. Going green is no longer just a buzzword; it’s a lifestyle many of us embrace to make our homes more eco-friendly. 

What are Solar Panels, and How do they Work?

Solar panels (PV) are devices that convert sunlight into electricity — consisting of photovoltaic cells that absorb light and convert it into electrical energy. The electricity generated by solar panels is DC (direct current), which is then converted to AC (alternating current) using an inverter. AC electricity is what we use in our homes to power our appliances, charge batteries for use at night, or send any surplus energy back to the grid.

Space Requirements for Solar Panels

The amount of space needed for solar panels depends on the size of the system and the amount of electricity you want to generate. For example, a 4kW solar panel system requires around 25 to 30 square metres of roof space. However, it’s worth noting that solar panels don’t have to be installed on a roof. They can also be placed on the ground or a wall using a solar panel bracket. South-facing areas are best, and any shading from buildings or trees should be minimised. 

Planning Permission Requirements

In most cases, you won’t need planning permission to install solar panels on your property. However, you must apply for planning permission if your property is a Listed Building or in a Conservation Area. It’s also worth checking with your local council to see if there are any other requirements or restrictions.

Benefits of Solar Panels for Micro Home Generation and Energy Storage

One of the main benefits of installing solar panels for micro-home generation and energy storage is that they can significantly reduce your energy bills. In addition, by generating your own electricity, you’ll be less reliant on the National Grid, so you’ll have to buy less electricity from energy suppliers. If you are an electric car owner charging on a sunny day, you’re effectively storing energy for free motoring!

Earn Money with the Smart Export Guarantee

The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) is a government-backed scheme that allows you to earn money by exporting excess electricity back to the National Grid. Under the scheme, energy suppliers must offer a minimum tariff for each kilowatt-hour of electricity exported back to the grid.

Energy Storage for 24/7 Power

Connecting your solar panels to a battery storage system allows you to store excess electricity generated during the day for use at night. This means you’ll be able to power your home with solar energy 24/7, reducing your reliance on the National Grid even further.

Life Expectancy of Solar Panels and Batteries

The life expectancy of solar panels and batteries depends on various factors, such as the quality of the equipment, the amount of sunlight received, and how well they are maintained. On average, solar panels have a lifespan of around 25 years, while batteries have a lifespan of approximately 10-15 years. Unfortunately, from experience, inverters do not last as long as PV panels. However, there are insurance-backed guarantees available from many installers. Therefore, choosing an established energy provider installation should offer extra peace of mind and provide a gateway into selling surplus energy back to the grid.           

Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) Technology

Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology is an alternative to home battery storage that allows you to use the battery in your electric vehicle to power your home. This means you can use the excess energy generated by your solar panels to charge your electric vehicle during the day and then use the battery in your vehicle to power your home at night. V2G technology is still in its early stages but could potentially revolutionise how we generate and use electricity.

UK Energy Providers that Offer PV Installation Services

Several energy providers in the UK offer PV installation services, including Octopus, Good Energy, Ovo, British Gas, E.ON, and SSE. These companies can provide a complete solar panel system, including installation, maintenance, and monitoring. It’s worth comparing prices and services from different providers to find the best deal.

Increasing issues with energy security, climate change, and rising prices make home energy generation a viable option for homeowners. Especially if you are an electric car owner or considering switching from fossil fuel-powered vehicles.

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Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) Technology: A New Way to Power Your Home and the Grid

Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology is a two-way power flow system that allows electric vehicles (EVs) to store and discharge electricity back to the grid. This technology can potentially deliver several benefits, including improving grid reliability, reducing peak demand, and providing backup power during outages.

Many different V2G models are available, each with advantages and disadvantages. Some of the most common V2G models include:

* V2H: This model allows EVs to store off-peak, therefore cheaper electricity from the grid and discharge it back to the home during peak demand hours. Thus, reducing the amount of electricity that needs to be purchased from the grid, saving money on energy bills.

* V2G: Lets EVs to store electricity from the grid and discharge it back to the grid during high-demand periods — stabilizing the grid and reducing the need for expensive backup power generation plants.

* V2B: This could use EVs to store electricity from the grid and discharge it back to a building like an office or school, reducing the facility’s reliance on the grid, saving money on power bills and reducing carbon emissions, especially if the energy generated comes from a surplus renewable origin.

Vehicle-to-Grid — the Future for Electric Vehicles?

The benefits of V2G technology are considerable. V2G can help to improve grid reliability by providing a source of backup power during outages. It can also help reduce peak demand, saving money on energy costs and reducing carbon emissions. Additionally, V2G can provide a new source of revenue for EV owners, who can sell their excess electricity back to the grid.

Nevertheless, there are also some challenges associated with V2G technology. One challenge is that V2G requires bidirectional charging infrastructure, which is not yet widely available. Another challenge is that V2G can impact the range of EVs, as the battery will be used to store and discharge electricity. Additionally, V2G can be complex to manage, requiring coordination between the EV, the grid, and the utility company.

Despite the challenges, V2G technology has the potential to play a significant role in the future of the energy grid. V2G can help to improve grid reliability, reduce peak demand, and provide a new source of revenue for EV owners. As V2G technology develops, it will likely become more widely adopted.

Here are some of the models of EVs that are currently available with V2G capability:

  • Nissan Leaf: The Nissan Leaf is one of the most popular EVs on the market and one of the few available with V2G capability. The Leaf can store up to 30 kWh of electricity and discharge that electricity back to the grid at a rate of up to 3.3 kW.
  • Hyundai Ioniq 5: The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is a new electric SUV that is also available with V2G capability. The Ioniq 5 can store up to 77.4 kWh of electricity and discharge that electricity back to the grid at a rate of up to 11 kW.
  • Kia EV6: The Kia EV6 is a new electric SUV that is also available with V2G capability. The EV6 can store up to 77.4 kWh of electricity and discharge that electricity back to the grid at a rate of up to 11 kW.
  • Ford F-150 Lightning: (US Market) The Ford F-150 Lightning is a new electric pickup truck that is also available with V2G capability. The Lightning can store up to 131 kWh of electricity and discharge that electricity back to the grid at a rate of up to 9.6 kW.

As V2G technology develops at pace, more and more EV models will likely be available with this capability. As a result, V2G can potentially provide several benefits for EV owners and the grid, and it is a technology worth watching.

UK innovative charging EV platforms with V2G & V2H capabilities.

UK energy suppliers are beginning to offer special tariffs for electric vehicle owners, from off-peak charging rates to dynamic pricing models which charge your vehicle when prices are low. The leading players are Octopus and OVO Energy. The key to this technology will be installing a bidirectional charging point in your home, which communicates with the relevant intelligent charging software platforms. These platforms will offer cheaper charging rates and allow you to return energy to the grid. Hopefully, at a profit!

These technologies offer opportunities to optimize the charging patterns of EV batteries, which should ultimately lead to longer battery life, alongside building a more balanced and efficient energy system where less energy goes to waste.

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Are air fryers more energy efficient than an oven or microwave?

Welcome to the world of Doll’s House energy-efficient cooking! Well, that’s the first impression of operating an Air Fryer; it’s tiny and compact. Not something you’re going to use for cooking this year’s Christmas turkey — that said, it could be handy for a whole manner of other tasty morsels if your oven is full. And very convenient for energy-saving cooking for smaller households this winter. 

Air Fryers Energy Efficiency is all about size — and a big fan.  

Size is what gives Air Fryers an advantage over your standard fan oven. In simple terms, it’s just a tiny space to heat up — combined with a more powerful fan distributing the heat more efficiently. Not much rocket science going on here! Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be much insulation to retain heat, which would make Air Fryers even more efficient. In addition, double-glazed doors could add yet more efficiencies. Nevertheless, this relatively inexpensive kit could aid your energy-saving arsenal this winter. Even so, if you have a double oven with a smaller fan-assisted mini oven, the savings of an Air Fryer may not stack up unless you use them regularly. 

Does it look good in the kitchen? 

The unit we tested was the Tower 11-litre T17076 rated input 2kW. The first impressions were good, and it looks well made. The overall design sat well in our kitchen. All the controls are touch sensitive. No buttons to trap dirt, and very easy to keep the outside clean. Included in the box was a confusing array of attachments. The manual explains these well, but it did seem odd that the basket is an optional extra. The mains cable seemed a tad short, but it worked for us. 

What’s an Air Fryer like to use? 

The test unit came with an excellent recipe book with a host of things you can do with an Air Fryer. Who’d of thought you could fry–up a cake! Or even a pineapple upside-down pudding. These machines certainly offer a flexible, efficient way of cooking. Yet, the name Air Fryer is a bit confusing. Basically, it’s a mini oven with a fan which uses less oil to produce crispy chips than a deep fat fryer. Turn to YouTube, and you’ll find a host of instructional videos to give you an idea of how an Air fryer works and recipe ideas. We were a little unsure which cooking accessories it was best to use — non-stick appears the preferred choice. However, after a needlessly nervous start — it proved very simple to operate, and soon we had cooked up meatballs, fried potatoes, and even experimented with flapjack. It proved perfect for quickly roasting tomatoes for a pasta sauce and was fab at baking a crispy potato. A minor niggle was that the on/off/pause touch button didn’t always respond quickly. Also, On the plus side, the air fryer is effortless to clean, with the trays small enough to fit in the dishwasher.

Air Fryers — how do the energy costs stack up compared to a small conventional oven or Microwave?

So, we compared baking one 240g potato in three different ovens, an Air Fryer, Small Mini (non-fan) oven and a Microwave, to evaluate the energy usage, time and taste/texture. The cooking costs are calculated using the Energy Price Guarantee (October 2022) of 34p per kWh.

Standard top (mini) oven

Firstly a Standard top (mini) oven with no fan. The cooking time was 70 minutes, and the result was excellent — crispy skin and an evenly cooked fluffy potato     

  • Energy usage 1.10 kWh   
  • 70 minutes of cooking time @ 200 C 
  • Cost to cook £0.374 (37p)

Air Fryer

The Air Fryer took slightly less time than the standard oven, only saving 10 minutes. Nevertheless, again the result was tasty, lovely and crisp.  

  • Energy usage 0.80 kWh   
  • 60 minutes of cooking time @ 200 C 
  • Cost to cook £0.272 (27p) 

We did note that the Air fryer rating was 2kW. Yet whilst testing, it appeared to peaked at 2.2kW. The thermostat within the unit worked well, running at around 2145W to 2200W for 30 seconds and then switching to fan mode for 60 seconds at 36W.   


Our Microwave certainly wins on the energy-saving front! The machine used was 900W rated — and used about 1500W during the test. It only took 8 minutes to cook. Remarkably, only using 0.20 kWh!  

  • Energy usage 0.20 kWh
  • 8 minutes of cooking time @ 900W 
  • Cost to cook £0.068 (7p) 

As expected, the results were slightly disappointing, with no crisp skin. However, the potato was wonderfully fluffy on the inside. Our solution was to pop it in the Air Fryer for a ten-minute blast at 200 C, resulting in a perfectly baked spud for an extra few pennies (5p).   

Would I buy an Air fryer?

Like many kitchen gadgets, you ask, do I need more clutter? Will it sit in the cupboard with the juicer, bread machine and pasta maker? Do I need one? Well, it depends; if you’re looking for a quick and efficient way of cooking meals and have a smaller household, an Air Fryer could be a handy addition, or you’re a student wanting to cook some less fatty chips on a small budget. These machines are a real winner. While, of course, the advantages may be less compelling if you’ve already got a double oven with a small fan oven. The real energy-saving winner is a microwave, perhaps with an Air Fryer for the crisper morsels. 

Nevertheless, it does seem that cooker manufacturers have missed a trick here. Indeed there appears to be a market for small built-in fryers in conventional double-ovens or even triple cooker setups. Small ovens for quick use certainly make a lot of sense.

Are there Energy labels for Air fryers?

The other thing to remember is that these machines do not require energy labels. So comparing like-for-like models from a pure energy efficiency standpoint is somewhat challenging. Though overall, it’s excellent to see innovation in this sector. It is even better if it helps consumers save energy and drives more innovation in cooking more energy efficiently. 

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Do Heat Pumps save you money and are they reliable?

Heat pumps are the mainstay of UK government policy in decarbonising our home heating. Currently, 95% of UK housing stock is heated by fossil fuels, mostly gas. Yet, the energy crisis has highlighted the need for us to move away from the volatile energy markets whilst delivering UK’s Net Zero promises. The electricity grid has become greener due to the expansion of renewable generation, making heating with electricity, ideally, heat pumps the quickest solution to us weaning off hydrocarbons. By 2025 installing a new gas boiler will become a thing of the past. So, the big question for a homeowner is, are heat pumps any good? 

Longevity and reliability of installed heat pumps

I must admit I’ve been holding off writing this blog post. Why? I didn’t fancy tempting fate whilst talking about the reliability of our heat pump. So, having fitted a heat pump in 2005 here’s my experience living with electric heating.

heat pump reliable

Why choose a heat pump? The options are limiting for those heating rural homes

Living in a rural location doesn’t give you many alternatives to how you heat your house. It’s oil, LPG, solid fuel or electricity. Unfortunately, mains gas, the most affordable option, is a non-starter. Our last home was heated by oil, which was unreliable — often breaking down just before Christmas! In addition, the maintenance regime was onerous and expensive. We often struggled to get an engineer to visit when it had broken down. Then there was the fuel. It’s smelly and unpleasant to handle and not that easy to store. The other disadvantage was the volatility of the oil price. The per litre price of oil would often double overnight, then drop the next week back to normal. So buying heating was a game of outguessing the energy market.

At this time, my workplace was heated by electric storage heaters. These were the large block-filled units heated at night on Economy 7 tariffs. The issue with these — apart from the enormous bills — was they ran out of warmth by 4 pm on a cold winter’s day. In an office environment, this was manageable. However, if you return home in the evening after work, returning to a home that’s chilling off isn’t ideal. Also, storage heaters were inflexible, expensive and took up precious space.

A new build was an option to rethink our home heating requirements

Building a home from scratch opens up many possibilities. Put off by having lived in many inefficient, cold, and drafty homes, we were looking for a hassle-free and reasonable-cost solution heating system for our new build. The house was going to be well insulated, making the heating demand reasonably low, but it still needed to meet the needs of a family — plenty of hot water, etc.

The cheapest option at the time was an oil combi boiler. Yet, after extensive research, a Ground Source Heat Pump looked like a good option, especially as we had space around the building to install the ground loop. These are pipes buried in the ground or placed in a pond, even submerged in a well. They act as heat transfers, extracting the dormant heat from the ground. Air source heat pumps use air to do this, which is less efficient. Despite this, they are still much more energy-efficient than direct electric heating. And much greener than gas or oil.

You need to get your plumbing right for heat pumps

The intention was to install underfloor heating, which works well with heat pumps. Conventional radiators heated the upstairs; these were slightly oversized as heat pumps to heat the water at a lower temperature than gas or oil boilers. It’s worth checking if you’re retrofitting a heat pump to review that your radiators are adequately sized. And don’t forget that you’ll need a hot water tank. Heat pumps don’t work like combi-boilers. I believe microbore plumbing pipes aren’t suitable for heat pumps. Best to check with a registered installer first.

underfloor heating

Our heat pump installation was straightforward, in some ways, more manageable than a conventional boiler, as the whole unit is self-contained with a built-in hot water tank. Unlike air source heat pumps, the kit is installed inside the house. They hardly make any noise either, certainly less than a combi boiler.

We had some issues regarding the energy required to start the heat pump. At one stage, it was thought we might need a three-phase electricity supply. Luckily, a system called soft-start resolved this.

I admit concerns that the system would not generate enough hot water for our family whilst heating the house. An instant electric shower was installed as a backup. These fears have been unfounded. Even with a whole house of guests in mid-winter, the heat pump has worked faultlessly.

Get the thermostatic controls sorted

The thermostatic controls are excellent on our IVT Greenline HT. Unlike conventional heating systems, there is a thermostat outside the building. Which talks to the thermostat inside, monitoring the temperature difference and balancing the heating requirements. We often wake up not knowing the temperature has dropped at night. Set up when installed; this has been running for many years.

Are heat pumps green?

So was a heat pump the right choice? It was undoubtedly the greenest choice; without us doing anything, our emissions have declined. Why? In the UK, electricity in 2005 was generated by 22% from zero-carbon sources, and in April 2021 jumped to 40%. Therefore, we’ve reduced our heating emissions by 18%, with or without buying a so-called REGO green energy tariff.

Will a heat pump save you money?

There are a lot of misconceptions regarding heat pump technology. People seem to think energy is free, especially with ground source systems. Some believe we’ve somehow drilled into the earth’s core and are extracting heat. However, the alchemy of heat pumps is for every unit kWh you put in; you get between 3 and 2.5 times the energy out.

But, economically, fuel cost terms saving are challenging to quantify. For example, a ground source heat pump is nearly three times more efficient (air-source pumps are 2.5) than direct electric heating.

Nevertheless, electricity is three times more expensive than mains gas — making the saving reasonably balanced compared to gas. On the other hand, LPG is considerably more costly, especially if you can get locked into single supplier contracts. While heating oil prices are volatile over the instalment period, prices have gone from 23p lows in 2016, 20p in the pandemic, to nearly £1.60-litre pecks this year!

Will a heat pump improve your EPC (Energy Performance Certificate)?

Perversely, our Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) penalised our heat pump because it has an immersion tank. This assumes it’s being heated directly from electricity, it’s not. Ninety-nine per cent of the time the heat pump is warming the water. It recommends installing solar thermal water heating, even though it’s extracting heating from the ground and is powered by solar PV in the summer. Oddly, EPCs don’t recommend heat pumps. Our house could be A-rated EPC if we took out the heat pump! Madness.

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Are Ground Source Heat Pumps reliable?

The essential factor that makes heat pumps real winners is maintenance. Conventional boilers need servicing every year, which is expensive. They tend to go wrong regularly — especially oil ones.

So far, our IVT Greenline heat pump has run faultlessly for 18 years! Which is more than I can say for my car or home appliances.

operating hours 28339

Are you thinking of getting a heat pump — can you get grants?

Yes, homeowners and small businesses in England and Wales can apply for grants to replace their oil and gas boilers. Under the scheme, which will run for three years, property owners will be able to get the following:

  • £5,000 off the cost and installation of an air source heat pump
  • £5,000 off the price and installation of a biomass boiler
  • £6,000 off the expense and fitting a ground source heat pump

Is a heat pump suitable for your home?

There’s a tool to help homeowners and businesses make better-informed choices about the suitability of installing a heat pump. It details the different types of heat pumps, their costs and carbon emission savings, and helpful guidance about what modifications might be needed to make a home right for a heat pump.

Energy Efficient Living — News, Hints & Tips