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Eight ways to improve your property's EPC rating

Eight ways to improve your property’s EPC rating

Eight ways to improve your property’s EPC rating

 

To improve your rental property’s EPC rating, you must make changes to enhance its energy efficiency. Here are eight actionable ways to achieve this:

1.      Upgrade the lighting to LED light bulbs

2.      Insulate the walls and roof

3.      Invest in double or triple-glazed windows

4.      Upgrade the boiler

5.      Install underfloor heating

6.      Install a smart meter

7.      Invest in renewable energy

8.      Seek help from your energy supplier

Before you attempt to improve your property’s EPC rating, remember that it could be more cost effective to carry out a whole house retrofit – in which you tackle insulation, windows and heating systems in one go – rather than carry out a series of smaller, independent upgrades.

1. Upgrade the lighting to LED light bulbs

If your EPC rating is right on the margins and it won’t take much to lift it one or two levels, switching to LED light bulbs – which are much more energy-efficient and eco-friendly – could make all the difference.

One easy way to improve energy efficiency is to replace old halogen or incandescent light bulbs with light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

LEDs have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their combination of efficiency and long-term savings on energy bills. They also provide a quick and relatively inexpensive way for you to improve the EPC rating of your rental property.

2. Insulate the roof and walls

Installing new insulation is one of the most effective energy-efficiency improvements you can make to your property, particularly if the existing insulation is poor or lacking. It’s also likely to be less expensive than alternative improvements, which makes it a popular option for landlords who need a cost-effective way to improve an EPC rating.

Increasing insulation in the loft to at least 270mm thick will significantly impact how much heat escapes; an uninsulated property typically loses up to 33% of its heat through the roof.

Wall insulation is also an effective way of improving a property’s energy rating. This is true for both cavity walls, seen in more modern properties that are built with a gap between two layers of brick, and solid walls – typically featured in older, pre-1920 properties.

However, the costs for wall insulation vary significantly. On average, cavity wall insulation costs from £370-£500 to install in a typical semi-detached property. This makes it an easy, simple, and relatively cheap measure that has the potential to significantly improve your overall EPC rating.

On the other hand, both internal and external solid wall insulation is considerably more expensive to install. Yet this balances against larger potential savings on heating bills. With estimates from £8,000-£22,000 for external solid wall insulation and £3,500-£14,500 for internal, it’s not a cheap option. Because of this, you may want to consider some of the alternative measures in this guide instead.

3. Invest in double or triple-glazed windows

There’s no point investing in the latest heating and insulation technologies if you neglect your property’s windows. While double glazing doesn’t have as much potential to improve the EPC rating as wall or loft insulation, it does significantly reduce the amount of heat lost through the windows.

Most modern homes have double glazing. However, this might not be the case for older properties, dragging them close to or even below the minimum energy efficiency rating. Installing new double glazing could help improve your property’s EPC rating by approximately five to ten points. The cost is relatively cheap – likely to be in the region of £2,000-£5,000 for a typical terraced property.

Triple glazing is a more drastic step, yet one that’s becoming increasingly popular. This measure can make it more difficult for heat to escape from your home than double glazing. However, it’s typically even more expensive than double glazing and only has a small impact on improving your EPC rating.

4. Upgrade the boiler

Heating systems are the cornerstone of a property’s energy efficiency. An inefficient boiler drags a property’s EPC rating down, whereas an efficient model can significantly improve. Depending on the age of the existing boiler, switching to a newer condensing model could improve your EPC rating by as much as 40 points.

With the minimum threshold for an EPC rating standing at 39 points, this change could get you to the required standard in one fell swoop. It’s likely to cost you between £1,000 and £3,000, but you could receive this outlay back in spades given the huge potential for improvement presented by this measure.

Pairing this upgrade with smart heating technologies such as intelligent thermostats and connected radiator controls will allow tenants to save on their heating bills and further improve your rating.

5. Install underfloor heating

Installing underfloor heating is an effective way to improve your EPC rating, provided your property has effective insulation. Underfloor heating systems operate at a lower temperature, meaning they consume less energy as long as your property conserves as much heat as possible.

Used as a primary source of heating or in combination with a central heating or radiator system, underfloor heating has the potential to make your property significantly more energy efficient. This is especially the case for water underfloor heating systems – as opposed to electric systems – which are cheaper to run over the long term yet harder to install.

The cost of installing underfloor heating varies and depends on factors such as the type of system, the total area of the installation, and the age of your property. It could cost you anything from £50 to £200 per square metre.

6. Install a smart meter

While installing a smart meter won’t directly improve your EPC rating by itself, it does give you better insight into how much energy your property uses.

Smart meters give you a greater understanding of which changes you need to make. They also allow you to measure the effectiveness of these changes in upgrading your property’s energy efficiency. Because of this, you’ll likely have better success improving your EPC rating if you also have a smart meter installed.

Moreover, smart meters give your tenants more control over their energy consumption, potentially saving you money over the long term. You can learn more in our smart meters guide.

7. Invest in renewable energy

If you’re looking for a solution to improve the EPC rating of your property over the long term, it’s worth considering renewable energy sources such as solar photovoltaic (PV) panels or ground-source heat pumps.

While these alterations carry more initial expenditure, you can get help managing these costs through government incentives such as the Green Deal. Investing in renewable energy also has the potential to significantly improve your property’s ongoing energy consumption, saving you money on energy bills.

8. Seek help from your energy supplier

You may be able to get help from your energy supplier for energy-saving improvements to your property under the Energy Company Obligation scheme if your tenants claim certain benefits such as Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit, Universal Credit, and others. For example, you may be able to get help with the cost of insulation work and replacing or repairing the boiler.

Your property must have an energy efficiency of E, F or G to be eligible, and you will need to work with your tenants to apply for the scheme. You can learn more about the Energy Company Obligation on the government’s website.

Northants EPC offer Energy Performance Certificates throughout Northamptonshire and the surrounding counties.

If you would like advice about anything to do with Energy Performance, please feel free to Contact Us

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