Many thanks to those of you who responded. Below are the examples and comments we received from members:
In terms of EPC data, it isn’t something that I use anymore because of issues with accuracy. The council bought EPC data a few years ago and I tried to use it to target areas for the central heating fund but, because there has never been a requirement in ECO to lodge a post-works EPC, and because of inaccurate EPCs being carried out, the data was wrong and a lot of time and money was wasted discovering this. If I need an EPC for a property we are carrying out work to now, then I ask the contractors to provide it at that point.
Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council
We have used the EPC data in two projects so far:
a. Warm Homes Fund – in the funding bid as evidence for need for heating upgrades in our rural areas. And in publicity of the fund being available, we used the data to compile an address list for a mail out.
b. Community regeneration plan in one of our wards. The officer leading the work wanted to know about the energy efficiency of properties in the ward as part of the report to highlight regeneration needs. I used the data to filter by postcode and create some simple stats about levels of insulation etc.
Cherwell and South Northants DCs
I requested data for our Housing Stock to pinpoint those properties that may need proactive action; I was refused as it was deemed I had no statutory purpose. I would be interested to know how other officers have gained it?
We use EPC info all the time. We use them for every service request to Housing Standards regarding heating/damp/mould problems. We also use them for a basic survey of properties in grant applications.
East Hampshire DC
I use frequently the EPC online register, which I think is a very useful tool to have for the Council and for our customers.
I signpost residents to it when they are looking for accredited assessors, or are looking for a copy of their EPC.
I check the register for missing EPCs for residents who want to sign on our schemes and I also check the details of the EPC (address, measures identified as needed, rating, house type and conditions, etc) for eligibility.
I think the EPC register is very useful and enables me to support our residents when they can't find their paperwork, and helps identify and target the right groups who need support etc. I think it would be a shame if it were no longer available.
Greater Manchester Combined Authority
So far the planning and housing research team have used the EPC data in the GM Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), due to be published later this year, which is a supporting document for the GMSF.
We used the data to inform the profile of GM’s housing stock, as a proxy measure of decent homes - as from the 1 April 2018 there will be a requirement for any properties rented out in the PRS to normally have a minimum energy performance rating of E on an EPC. Any property with a rating of F or G would therefore not meet the Government’s minimum standards, and could be assumed to be non-decent. Obviously we have added a health warning to this, as there are a number of limitations with the data.
We are just getting Flex up and running, but I did use EPC data for HECA and monitoring.
Islington used EPC data for direct mail out on ECO Flex. This resulted in generating leads, one of them was Mr K. who got his new boiler before Christmas.
Leicester City Council
we are planning a mailshot with our ECO partners “npower” and are using EPC data to identify properties with E, F or G ratings to target the mailings to.
Leeds City Council
We’ve used the bulk EPC data for several things, integrating with our own information on previous energy efficiency works, housing stock knowledge and council systems / GIS.
First the data was downloaded and then processed to make it into a relational database, with separate tables for each descriptive field and address matched to the council’s BLPU gazetteer. A “Last EPC” field was then added to identify the latest EPC per property.
The database has then been used for:-
- Identification of likely areas for our Wrap Up Leeds cavity wall insulation scheme. (This scheme ran in the last year of CERT and insulated around 9k private sector homes)
- Identification of likely areas for our Green Deal Demonstrator and Wrap Up Leeds ECO schemes, targeting areas with high density of System Built properties.
- Identification of off-gas areas and dwellings for gas in-fill projects, which have installed gas mains and central heating systems
In addition the data has:-
- Combined with our own virtual survey data of wall construction / building age and calculation of build form from GIS polygon data. (i.e. using the number of dwelling points per polygon and number of neighbours / common and external wall line counts to determine whether a property is detached, semi-detached, etc)
- Combined with Building Control data of cavity wall, gas boiler installs and some PV systems.
- Combined with Council Tax bands
- Combined with previous Energy Efficiency scheme data from Warm Front, and our own internal historic schemes
The combined dataset has then been used for:-
- Converting into a BRE compatible dataset, which BRE used to provide their “Housing Stock Model Report” for Leeds
- Converting into UNO compatible datasets, and used to model the citywide SAP and weighted to account for bias by council tax band and tenure
The UNO Stock Profiling databases has also been used to:-
- Model the effect of potential external wall insulation / room in roof works in a targeted scheme. (Carbon / Energy / Fuel Poverty / SAP)
- Demonstrate that areas in Leeds with the highest likely fuel poverty gap correlate with the highest density of solid wall properties
We have used the EPC data to identify E, F and G rated properties across Oxfordshire and Bucks that are in need of measures that can be provided by ECO i.e. CWI, CWI + Loft, Oil Boiler etc. We have then sent out targeted mail outs encouraging the occupier to contact our service to see if we can help. The main problem with this method is that it doesn’t just target ‘affordable warmth’ eligible occupants and so not everyone is able to benefit, although it does give scope to being able to qualify residents for Flex as opposed to sending out mail outs using only benefit data.
Newark & Sherwood District Council
Here at Newark & Sherwood District Council we aren’t undertaking any big campaigns / energy efficiency schemes as we simply don’t have the resources (human or financial) to undertake such activities. (There are only two part-time staff working in the Energy & Home Support Team.) Our main focus currently is delivering the Nottinghamshire Warm Homes on Prescription scheme which is focused on helping local residents in fuel poverty, who have long-term health conditions affected by living in a cold environment, to achieve affordable warmth.
For general info about a property prior to a home visit, myself or my colleague normally access the ‘EPC Register’ web page. We use it to check the current energy rating of a property, the presence (or not) of loft and wall insulation, or if it has solid walls, the heating method, i.e. if there is gas or solid fuel, and existing boiler rating, also to see if a new boiler is a recommended measure. We use the register pretty frequently and find it useful to give a brief overview of a property before we undertake a home visit. They are not always accurate but are a helpful overview. (Last year we received funding from NEA to deliver WHOP but the property had to be less than C rated.)
Oxford City Council
Please note we have been using the RdSAP EPC data from the early days – ie when local authorities could buy it so this isn’t just a result of them going online, it's a result of it being available to local authorities.
Aside to this – can you ask BEIS when they plan to refresh this data – its now a whole year out of date!
- We have primarily used the EPC data to target the domestic private rented sector in order to get properties to an E or above in their EPC rating, using HHSRS inspections and follow up.
- We have also used the data / will use the data to help target poorer performing properties in our own housing stock and those likely to be eligible for funding (E, F and G)
- Additionally, we worked with Ricardo and Coventry City Council on the EDIS research project (funded by Innovate UK), utilising the EPC data alongside other data sets such as building control, HMO, benefits, in order to target residents by letter for ECO funding (including ECO Flex). They were directed into our Better Housing Better Health helpline as a single point of contact.
EPC data has been particularly useful recently with regard to Sandwell’s Heat Network Feasibility Study. It has enabled us to look at the energy performance of buildings with EPC’s and use the data to predict future heat loadings in particular areas of the borough. This will help us to identify the most beneficial location of a heat network and what the boundaries of the network might be.
We are also involved with a wider study, headed up by the Black Country LEP, which will use data from various sources (including EPCs) to try and identify opportunities for local generation and use of energy.
Sustainable Home Surveys
We are making thorough use of the EPC data that is now accessible online for the model.
SGN have done some work with Winchester City Council looking at identifying off-gas properties using the EPC data online. This was part of a project to identify properties in Winchester that might be eligible for SGNs Help to Heat scheme (more info on that here: https://www.sgn.co.uk/HelptoHeat/). We completed that project in October.
I also have councils sending me lists of properties they believe to be off gas, as told by the EPC data, asking me to explore whether or not we could arrange for connections to be made under our Help to Heat scheme. I have had property lists from Reading Borough Council, a consortium of London Councils and some housing associations.
At Swindon Borough Council, we used to purchase the EPC data and are pleased that it is now available for free. We have had an Energy Audit Company UNO database for a number of years, and have added the EPC data to this. We have collected data for a long time, including Warm Front, HEC data and any information gathered from our various initiatives. We have some data on around 60% of our households, although 10% of this is made up of our own stock.
We have used this database to inform our work.
We are about to do a trial mail out to a number (40) of owner occupiers and those of unknown tenure that have an EPC of F or G, from EPC data. Hopefully some of these can be helped through ECO and our Flexible Eligibility. This represents around 10% of such households on our database. We will also be contacting all of our known private rented properties with F and G EPCs. However, we are restrained financially to do more than this, due to the cost of mailing. If we got a good response we would have a case to target more; however, looking at these addresses, the majority are solid walled and electrically heated, so will be difficult to assist.
We purchased the enhanced data pack and subsequent updates a few years ago and imported it in to our UNO stock energy efficiency database, which we then used to inform the development and targeting of various energy efficiency schemes and programmes. We are currently purchasing the latest EPC data pack to import to bring our database up to date.
I am making use of the EPC register and a EPC database that we obtained from Your Energy Sussex.
We have, this week, used EPC data to select appropriate addresses to promote a free cavity wall insulation offer through ScottishPower CERO. The mailing to 500 addresses is going out on Monday.
We selected addresses where:
- they are bungalows or houses
- the "transaction type" is FiT application, marketed sale, non-marketed sale or RHI application
- the walls description is "cavity wall, as built, no insulation (assumed)"
We also used the most recent EPCs.
Time will tell what response we get (!), but we should have some idea by the end of next week.
we are using the data to map where we have concentrations of properties with uninsulated cavity walls in fuel poor areas. We are also accessing the heating fuel info from the EPCs so we can identify properties that might be able to get higher carbon savings. This will aid targeting for ECO flex mail outs. Also using the data to support the Warm Homes Fund bid.
individual member's comment
My comment would be that the main benefit of the EPC data is yet to be realised as the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards for PRS properties do not come into effect until April.
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