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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
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  1.  
    Our PV installer is suggesting installing and commissioning our panels before the house is completed so we start getting our (sadly depleted) FITs over the summer. If all goes well with the reinstallation of balcony doors next week, we should be ready for an initial air test very soon.However, the guy who did the predicted EPC for Building Regs says he can't do anything till the building is physically complete with boiler and MVHR commissioned. Is there any way round this?
  2.  
    I'm not sure if you are a new build or a renovation? Your situation sounds similar to one I faced in December when I was rushing to get the solar panels installed on our unfinished new build before the big cut in tariffs at the end of the year.

    Building Control (who are doing my EPC as part of the package) were very helpful and said this is not uncommon. They used the design details for the fabric of the building, heating system and an assumed air test rate of 15. This gave me an EPC which is better than the required rating for the FIT. When the house is finished they will withdraw the EPC and re-submit a final version with the correct air test results (which should be the only thing which needs updating).

    I can see two factors at play:
    1. The FIT rates step down regularly. Now I've got my system installed I've stopped looking at when / by how much and...
    2. Missing generation over the summer.

    It sounds like you are only concerned with #2? I suspect the FIT you would receive would only be around £50 a month over summer for an average sized system. With all the stress of a big project going on it isn't that much money and I suspect not worth worrying unduly about.
    • CommentAuthorDarylP
    • CommentTimeJun 22nd 2016
     
    When the building is 'complete':....
    Produce the EPC once the dwelling is physically complete. A dwelling is deemed ‘physically complete’ when all of the following conditions are met:
    a) Commissioning of the heating system has been satisfactorily completed, and
    b) Accredited details are signed off, and
    c) Air permeability is confirmed via pressure testing of representative dwellings, and
    d) The dwelling itself is complete and could be pressure tested
    :wink:
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeJun 22nd 2016
     
    Posted By: yclairejenkinsOur PV installer is suggesting installing and commissioning our panels before the house is completed so we start getting our (sadly depleted) FITs over the summer. If all goes well with the reinstallation of balcony doors next week, we should be ready for an initial air test very soon.However, the guy who did the predicted EPC for Building Regs says he can't do anything till the building is physically complete with boiler and MVHR commissioned. Is there any way round this?

    We commissioned our PV before the house was complete but couldn't register for FIT until it was.
  3.  
    Thanks all!

    It's a new build, and I guess I'm most concerned really about losing the installer's attention if I don't say yes now, as he's been quite hard to pin down (though better than various others along the way) and now seems ready to move quickly, rather than about falling FITs or a relatively small income from the panels over the summer. So if commissioning but not registering till later is an option, that wouldn't be a big problem. But it might be worth my while seeing if another EPC provider would be more flexible than our existing one, and do something like what Richard had with his Building Control.

    Another issue is that we're wanting batteries as well; he was keen to put in a Tesla Powerwall, but has found that they are putting up hurdles to becoming an approved installer, despite having encouraged him to apply in the first place. I've heard something similar from another firm, so feel there may be a genuine issue there. We want them done before the house is finished so we don't have to pay VAT, so have agreed to make that a separate job to be done in a few months time when either Tesla have got their act together or we go for another make. Any experience or recommendations?
    • CommentAuthorringi
    • CommentTimeJun 22nd 2016
     
    I expect that the reduction in the cost of batteries over the next few years will be a lot more then any vat you can save now.
  4.  
    You could well be right.

    But we will have had the use of it in the mean time which should have saved some money itself. And fitting at the time of building is less grief than retrofitting.
  5.  
    Don't some inverters come with built in batteries? I want to say SMA make one but an not able to check at the moment.

    I heard Tesla have a long waiting list even if you did find an approved installer.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeJun 23rd 2016
     
    Posted By: yclairejenkinsIt's a new build, and I guess I'm most concerned really about losing the installer's attention if I don't say yes now, as he's been quite hard to pin down (though better than various others along the way) and now seems ready to move quickly, rather than about falling FITs
    Sounds like the installers your dealing with want to get out the business.

    Posted By: yclairejenkinsAnother issue is that we're wanting batteries as well; he was keen to put in a Tesla Powerwall, but has found that they are putting up hurdles to becoming an approved installer, despite having encouraged him to apply in the first place. I've heard something similar from another firm, so feel there may be a genuine issue there.
    Have you done a proper cost analysis on this. Sounds like you may be a Guinea pig. Never a good thing.

    How much are they asking for your install and what size is it?
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeJun 23rd 2016
     
    Posted By: SteamyTea
    Posted By: yclairejenkinsIt's a new build, and I guess I'm most concerned really about losing the installer's attention if I don't say yes now, as he's been quite hard to pin down (though better than various others along the way) and now seems ready to move quickly, rather than about falling FITs
    Sounds like the installers your dealing with want to get out the business.

    I think you may be reading too much into it. Claire's description sounds pretty much like my experience and we didn't have the same external situation at that time. It may be as simple as he wants the final payment that is due on commissioning.
  6.  
    It's a 5.60 kWp system for £7,796, including Solar Edge grid limiter, inverter and optimisers. He's using our scaffold and we're paying separately for fixing rails bonded onto to roof membrane. He's supplying 15deg mounting triangles for the 20 REC All Black Twin Peak 280W poly panels with 12 year warranty.

    Does that sound a fair price? It doesn't seem out of line with other quotes we got and he was well recommended (by someone else building a Passivhaus, so probably also a relatively informed and demanding client).

    We're not doing this purely on financial grounds, but with a view to spending money we have now to make ourselves a bit less dependent on unpredictable energy prices over the next 30-40 years we hope to spend in the house.
  7.  
    Resurrecting this as we're in a similar position.

    Building control seem happy with our PHPP for now instead of SAP calcs but our PV installer has pointed out that we need to get the ball rolling on the FiTs registration and apparently need an EPC to do so.

    2 Questions:

    Do we definitely need the EPC or is there an alternative route?

    Has anyone used one of the online retailers who appear to be offering the calcs for about £50..?

    If we only need this thing to get the Microgeneration scheme then I'm less concerned about the accuracy of the report (I'm guessing the online quotes don't bother to check very many details).
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeDec 12th 2018
     
    http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/sites/default/files/reports/EPC%20and%20FIT.pdf

    "You are required to send to your FITs supplier an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to evidence your property has an EPC band D or better at the time of application to get the standard rate of FITs."
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeDec 12th 2018 edited
     
    The only way I think you can avoid the need for an EPC is if the building the PV is supplying electricity to isn't a "relevant building"...

    https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/system/files/docs/2018/06/eer_declarations_templates.pdf

    For example if your PV is on the roof of an agricultural barn and only supplying electric lighting (not heating) to the barn then there is no need to have an EPC for the barn.

    I guess it might be possible at a later date modify the electric system so that the barn and a nearby farm house share one supply/meter. On the other hand you might loose the FIT or be done for fraud :-)
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeDec 12th 2018
     
    Yes, you need an as-built EPC. IIRC as well as an EPC you also need the completion certificate for the house, or maybe something slightly less as suggested by Daryl above.
  8.  
    Posted By: Doubting_ThomasBuilding control seem happy with our PHPP for now instead of SAP calcs but our PV installer has pointed out that we need to get the ball rolling on the FiTs registration and apparently need an EPC to do so.


    Our BCO was happy to accept our PHPP results instead of the as designed SAP but needed an as built SAP with EPC before he would sign it off.
    • CommentAuthorDarylP
    • CommentTimeDec 18th 2018
     
    all new dwellings in E&W will need an EPC in order for the Building Control Body to sign them off.
    All FIT applications to OfGEM ask for the EPC....
    Cheers ;-)
    • CommentAuthorSigaldry
    • CommentTimeDec 19th 2018
     
    Dealing with a job at present (SAP/EPC), where the final building completion (and compliance) will include a PV contribution (4Peak kW), but the PV is not yet commissioned. They've asked for an EPC without the PV to get the FiT.

    Apparently if they commission the PV before submitting the EPC, they won't get FiT. So I will need to produce two EPC's one without the PV, showing the dwelling achieves at least SAP Band D (It gets a B without, but doesn't quite hit the TER) for FiT, then another EPC will be needed after commissioning for the completed dwelling including the PV, replacing the first and with an as-built SAP to show regulations compliance.

    Seems bizarre to me.
  9.  
    Posted By: PeterStarck
    Posted By: Doubting_ThomasBuilding control seem happy with our PHPP for now instead of SAP calcs but our PV installer has pointed out that we need to get the ball rolling on the FiTs registration and apparently need an EPC to do so.


    Our BCO was happy to accept our PHPP results instead of the as designed SAP but needed an as built SAP with EPC before he would sign it off.


    I've now been told by the company I went to for the as-built SAP that they can't do one of these (for a new build) without first having done the design stage one. So even though BCO is happy with the PHPP calcs, we're facing fees to retrospectively undertake a design stage assessment.

    Peter, Am I right in understanding you found someone happy to just do the as-built?

    Wondering how far to pursue this...
    • CommentAuthorPeterStarck
    • CommentTimeJan 15th 2019 edited
     
    Yes, I did a web search and found a fairly local guy who had done low energy SAP assessments before. He was quite happy to do the as-built assessment which was all done by email and telephone. I used Geoffrey Milstead,
    www.milstedassociates.co.uk
    • CommentAuthorrevor
    • CommentTimeFeb 3rd 2019
     
    I am in a similar position and not got anywhere. House is practically finished (refurb and extension) built to PH standards except 2G rather than 3G. Cannot get EPC until house finished and heating system in. Had a surveyor come and said he could do an EPR. (Energy performance report)

    At the time of the visit the evidence of standard of insulation etc was easily viewable and assessable. When he got to the loft area he measured the insulation above the ceiling which was there as part of soundproofing the bedrooms. I pointed out the warm roof which has calculated u value of 0.1 as being the main insulation and he told me for an EPC it was what was in the ceiling that was important.

    He said he could not do the EPC because there was no boiler in place even though I had 2 wood stoves (not boilers) to provide heating. I asked him to calculate on an LPG scenario as worst case but said he needed physical photographable evidence.

    I have not decided on whether in fact we need a conventional boiler because we have built in a lot of solar gain have considerable amount of thermal mass from the original stone construction as well as the block built extension. The irony of all this is that with the solar pv the solar thermal heat recovery solar gain circulated thermal mass etc I am hoping can get away with a minimal, if any fossil fuel input.

    However did not get a report of any sort 3 emails and 2 phone calls were not responded to.

    Guess he could not manage to tick the boxes he had to but would have been good to have some sort of feedback.

    Tried to get someone else but said not much point until we had boiler in place.

    Think I fall between the EPC and SAP requirements.

    Guess will have to go without the FIT not worth much now anyway. Might wait until battery prices come down or one gets paid for exporting surplus to grid.

    Might get in touch Geoffrey Mistead.
    • CommentAuthorgyrogear
    • CommentTimeFeb 3rd 2019 edited
     
    Posted By: revorCannot get EPC until house finished and heating system in


    why not buy a junk wood-burner with a radiator or two and make it look operational, then bin it all once you have got the cert ?

    this one will do you for ninety-nine pence...
    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/BROSELEY-HERCULES-20B-MULTIFUEL-BOILER-STOVE-NEVER-USED-/273682547056

    gg
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeFeb 3rd 2019
     
    The annoying thing about EPCs is that they're not worth the paper they're printed on even after they're produced. And the big builders still manage to build rubbish with certificates.
    • CommentAuthorrevor
    • CommentTimeFeb 4th 2019
     
    Gyrogear has given me an idea, am about to order a thermal store have got solar thermal on the roof ready to connect up, that with an immersion heater will give me, albeit not very eco one at the moment, a heating system to drive the u/f heating pipes which I need to do to dry off the screed being laid next week.
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