An EPC and a Heat Pump Survey from Octopus Energy
I have a problem and that problem is my 23 year old gas boiler. It’s non-condensing so not very efficient and the heat exchanger is on its last legs according to the guy who services it for me. But I don’t really want to be spending between £2k-£3k on replacing this boiler like for like when that money could be put towards something more efficient and environmentally friendly like a heat pump.
I was looking around at what my first steps should be and, if you’re a regular viewer of my channel then you’ll know I’ve got a Hildebrand Glow in home display connected to my smart meter. While chatting with Hildebrand they mentioned that they were running a trial using an environmental sensor combined with the energy data from the Glow display and a clever algorithm. All of this data is collected over a few weeks and it can be used to calculate the thermal performance of your home. I stuck the sensor on the wall in my hall next to my main thermostat and left it alone for 21 days. This was back in February while the heating was still in full use which is important really because it’s the performance of your heating in your home that you are baselining.
The results were quite interesting, the HTC or Heat Transfer Coefficient was 228 watts per Kelvin, and the HLP or Heat Loss Parameter was 2.1 watts per meter squared per Kelvin. That’s classed as average according to their scale, so there is room for improvement in my home for things like insulation and so on. But 2.1 is very close to the limit of being good – if it had been a 2 then the house would be classed as good!
I have a pretty good idea of where my home could be improved – I know for a fact that the radiator in the kitchen is both undersized and the pipework to it is totally knackered for starters, and because I’ve got a water tank in the loft there’s a whole area of the ceiling underneath that which isn’t insulated yet.
The information from this sensor is very useful, especially as it has now given me a baseline and if I leave it in place then it can tell me my home’s score as I make changes to hopefully improve things. But… if I want to put a heat pump in and take advantage of government funding schemes then what I really need is an EPC or Energy Performance Certificate. So I called Neil, the EPC Man for South Wales and he surveyed my home in-line with the requirements for an EPC. An EPC is quite an outdated way of providing an efficiency score for your home but it’s required if you want to sell or rent your home and also needed in order to claim the £5000 government grant on heat pumps offered in England and Wales. Neil measured all of the rooms, checked for standard things like the type and age of boiler, solar panels, the average depth of loft insulation, house construction type, that sort of thing. A lot of it is ticking boxes to get points, so you can bump your score up by using LED light bulbs for example, but it doesn’t account for things like battery storage yet.
My house scored a B with 86 points out of 100. There were a few recommendations: adding solid floor insulation; replacing the boiler; and adding solar thermal hot water heating. Well, the second one I kind of want to do, but I don’t want to put in a condensing boiler as per the EPC recommendation that’s for certain.
Now that I’ve got a baseline of my house before any changes have been made, and I have the regulation EPC all issued, what’s my next step? Well, Octopus Energy are rolling out their nationwide campaign to install as many heat pumps in the UK as possible. While I was at the Farnborough Fully Charged Live event in May, I put my name down for more information. I had a call-back from them, paid the fully refundable deposit, and booked in for a home survey.
A surveyor from Octopus spent about two hours measuring all of the rooms, radiators, checking out the electrics, figuring out pipe runs, heat pump location, tank location, and making notes of issues and considerations I felt were appropriate. He was friendly, knowledgeable and professional and so far has given me confidence that Octopus know what they’re doing with this. After he’d finished he advised that I should get the final design and quote through within 10 working days – and that’s where I’m going to leave this article for now. I’ll be back once I get those details through from Octopus!