Case Study 2 – Care Home Commercial EPC In Bedford

care home commercial epc bedford


A commercial epc was required in the town of Bedford.

Bedford is the county town of Bedfordshire. The town has seen a population increase of 17.7% from around 157,500 in 2011 to 185,300 in 2021, according to the Office of National Statistics 2021 census. This population increase is significantly higher than the national average of 6.6%.

Being 50 miles north of London, it is seen as a more affordable area to live compared to other towns nearer to London.

Bedford has an unemployment rate of 4.2% which is higher than the average of 3.5% across the East of England according to the Office of National Statistics.

The town has to compete with larger surrounding towns such as Luton, Northampton and Milton Keynes which attracts more new and larger companies. The town’s commercial business is made up of many medium and smaller industries which supports the towns increased population.

With an increasing elderly population, the care industry is an important part of the community infrastructure.

Project Overview

The building needing the EPC was a 38 bedroom care home which was up for sale. The original main building was a Victorian listed building at the front with some newer additions added at the rear which the owners said was added in the 1970’s.

EPC Process


The building had an existing EPC on the register, which was about to expire, so the size of the project could be determined. The building was 1422 m2 over 2 floors.

Care homes can be very difficult to estimate the amount of work involved, so being local, a pre quote site visit was carried out.  The manager kindly showed me around and was accommodating in providing a floor plan.

With these types of residential commercial EPCs, we would price on a meterage basis at £1 m2. Because a good floor plan was available, we were able to offer a 14% discount and subsequently quoted £1,220.

The quotation was accepted 2 weeks later.

The Site Visit

A site visit was carried out. With certain types of commercial premises, which typically includes care homes, doctors surgeries, dentist surgeries, certain areas of the building may have sensitive restricted access, therefore we would often request to be accompanied in those areas.

The main purpose of the site visit is to obtain information and photographic evidence about the:

  • Building fabric construction type
  • HVAC system
  • Glazing type and dimensions
  • The activity of the zones within the building
  • The type of lighting
  • The provision for hot water

The care home had a large 2 storey extension at the rear which the owner said was added in the 70’s but they had no documentation to substantiate this.

My background was from installing cavity wall insulation and it looked like the building was probably a fair bit newer that the owners were estimating and that the walls may already have wall insulation built in.

borescope cavity wall inspectionAlthough not part of a normal assessment, I decided to carry out a borescope inspection of the walls which was subsequently found to be insulated with cavity batts.

This would make a substantial difference in improving the final EPC rating. If the age of the extension was entered as 1970’s the walls would be assumed not to be insulated and would result in a lower EPC rating.

This highlights the fact why it is important to choose an experienced assessor and company that will help you achieve the best rating when looking to get a commercial epc in Bedford.

A total time of 3.5 hours was spent on site and overall, the project could be classed as a complex project as far as assessments go.

Off site data entry

Once off site, the data obtained has to be entered into the SBEM software.

The 1st step involves zoning the floor plans.

Zones are areas of a specific activity within a commercial building. If adjoining rooms have the same activity type, HVAC system, building fabric construction type, and lighting type, then they can be zoned together which reduces the time taken to enter the data into the software.

Here is the care home project zoning plan.

care home bedford zoning plan

With this project, it was possible to reduce the rooms from the floor plan down from 120 to 94 zones because of adjoining rooms of the same activity where all the characteristics were the same, thus reducing the data entry time.

Summary of elements in the building

Total Zones for the project
Building fabric construction type
HVAC system
Glazing type and dimensions
The type of lighting
The provision for hot water
Some solid walls, some insulated cavity walls. Varying depths of loft insulation from 25mm to 300mm in different loft areas of the building.
3 gas condensing boilers servicing different zones
Variety of window types comprising single glazing, secondary glazing and new double glazed PVC to 2020 building regulations
Variety of lighting types comprising mostly LED but some CLF and halogen lights.
3 insulated hot water cylinders from main heating system

Results and Achievements

After double checking all the data entry, the software performed the calculations and produced the following EPC rating.

EPC Rating – Care Home Bedford

EPC rating care home bedford

The second part of the EPC rating shows what the building would rate if it were new and how it compares to other typical properties of that age and size and activity, this is shown below.

epc comparison care home bedford

Project Summary

Overall, the property rated better than typical of the existing housing stock, this was due to having high efficiency boilers and the newer block being well insulated.

Customers often ask us what we think the rating would be before we have finished the project. However, these kinds of projects can be difficult to determine off the top of your head because so many different factors go into the calculation, as half the building is listed, and half is modern.

Care homes, especially if they are old, can be quite time consuming entering the data especially when it comes to the windows.  With a commercial epc, the area of the window needs to be entered and what percentage of that window is frame and the type of frame. This is called the frame factor.

Older properties often have less uniformity when it comes to the windows which means time consuming data entry.

The care home surveyed achieved a respectable EPC rating of a C 64 which means that it not only meets the current minimum energy efficiency of an E but will still be compliant if the standards are increased to a C rating in the future as proposed by the government.

There was still some scope for improvement shown on the recommendation report, by changing all lights to LED and installing solar pv panels. The building would also benefit by improving the loft insulation in some areas of the building and installing internal wall insulation on the older section of the building.

The project took 5 days in total to complete. A complicated project but a good outcome in the final rating.


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Rickie Dickson
Written by Rickie Dickson

Rickie Dickson is an experienced and qualified domestic and non domestic energy assessor. He helps homeowners and businesses in all matters relating to energy efficiency, from meeting building regulations compliance to improving a property’s energy rating score.