EPC4LESS: Improving EPC Rating of Old Houses in Belfast, NI

Houses built after the year 2002 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, certainly meet the most recent energy efficiency requirements. Therefore, these houses belong to the top category of houses in terms of Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating. Houses that were built before the 1920s don’t meet these energy requirements and generally score very low when it comes to energy efficiency. Homeowners of these kinds of houses often come to epc4less (one of Belfast most established EPC providers) with questions about energy efficiency. They often ask if there are certain ways for them to improve their house’s EPC scores and then preferably in the cheapest way possible.


  • Install a Combi & Condensing Gas Boiler


Most houses in Belfast, Northern Ireland, that were built before the 1920s had solid fuel heating that was replaced in the 1950s-1980s with oil heating. Both solid fuel heating and oil fuel heating score low in terms of Energy Performance rating. However you can easily fix this problem by investing in a modern gas combi condensing boiler. Of course, there needs to be a main gas network in your street in order to be able to make this investment. For the installment and supply of this type of boiler, you will need to pay about £1500 to £2000. If there isn’t a main gas network in your neighbourhood, then you can just replace your old regular oil boiler with a new condensing oil boiler.

In Northern Ireland, oil boilers are more often than not located at the back of the house. There, you will also find an oil tank, which is used to fuel the boiler. You can remove the oil boiler entirely together with the oil tank and properly dispose them. Same applies to the hot water tank located in the hotpress and make space for your newly purchased combi condensing gas boiler. A combi Condensing Gas Boiler may increase your Energy Performance Certificate rating by up to 15 points.


  • Install new Heating Control Systems (HCS) 


In comparison to houses built after the year 2002, houses built before the 1920s will usually not be equipped with a Programmer, a Wall Thermostat and Thermostatic Radiator Valves in all the radiators.

However, these features are essential if you want to get a high energy efficiency score for your property. Namely, a Programmer can be used by homeowners to determine certain time periods in which the heating should automatically turn on and off. The Wall Thermostat, which you will often find in the living room, is great for saving on heating oil or gas. That’s because it causes the general heating to automatically turn off when the room reaches a set temperature. Finally, the Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRV), will help you save on your energy as well. The TRV can be found at the bottom of each radiator in the house and will stop the flow of water in the radiator once it has reached the desired temperature.

To conclude, for properties in Belfast, Northern Ireland, built prior to 1920, where insulating walls or the roof may be too complicated and expensive, it’s recommended that you invest in both a new combi, condensing boiler and in new heating control systems. It is estimated that these changes together will bring your EPC rating up by 20 points or more.

You can find the latest EPC requirements for properties in Belfast, Northern Ireland, at the Building Control department of Belfast City Hall here http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/buildingcontrol-environment/buildingcontrol/energyperformancecert.aspx