Back in 2015 the Energy Efficiency Regulations set out minimum energy efficiency standards for England and Wales. These regulations make it unlawful for landlords to grant a new lease for properties that have an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating below E from the 1st of April 2018 unless the property is registered as an exemption.
According to research conducted by the energy provider E.ON around one in five landlords expect to spend between £1,000 and £4,000 on improvements in their property over the next five years to ensure energy efficiency. In reality, improvements do not need to be so costly, if your tenants meet certain qualifying criteria you may benefit from financial support from the Energy Company Obligation.
If you are looking for ways to improve your EPC rating here are some ideas:
- Insulation is extremely important in making a property more efficient. If your property was built before or around 1920 it is likely to have solid walls. To insulate these walls you can install insulation from either the inside or the outside, the more popular option being the outside. If your property was built after the 1920s it most likely has cavity walls, which have a double external wall with a small gap in between them, which can be filled with insulation.
- Make a play of the energy savings standards – it is a commercial decision, not just one you should take to meet regulations. As tenants pay energy bills, it is a selling point if they can save money.
- Insulated windows are vital. The property can be losing up to 10% of its heat without properly insulated windows. Double glazing does not only make a difference to lowering heating bills but also helps reduce condensation and noise. If you are on a budget, you can also consider installing secondary glazing which involves fitting a pane of plastic or glass inside the existing window in order to create an insulating layer of air. Although not as effective as double glazing this still saves a significant amount of energy and allows to maintain kerb appeal by keeping original features, such as sash windows.
- EPC only looks at permanent solutions to problems; therefore focus on long-term upgrades which will help keep the heat in the property rather than simple and temporary solutions.
- For those who are looking for more modern solutions, consider solar panels with an at-home battery to story the electricity for use even in the night. Be aware these only contribute to your rating if they help to heat the house rather than provide electricity for other uses. All renewable technologies are currently incentivised via government backed and guaranteed Feed-In-Tariffs (FITs) and will therefore provide hot water and central heating at significantly reduced rates!
- If you have roof insulation make sure it is at least 270mm in depth, which is simple and relatively inexpensive to introduce. If your loft is at 90mm or less you can get funding to have the loft filled or topped up!
- Introducing things such as room thermostat, individual Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs) and a Boiler Programmer will all have a positive impact!
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