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energy saving tips

Let’s face it, energy bills can be costly. Nobody wants to rent or own a property that lands them with extortionate energy bills on a monthly basis.

As of April 1st this year, the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rules are changing and, if you are a landlord, you need to make sure your property complies.
Energy Performance Certificates give properties a rating from A-G, they are a legal requirement for a rental property. A-rated properties are highly efficient, cheap to run and environmentally friendly. G rated properties are not only more damaging to the environment but can be extremely costly to run.

What are the new rules?

1st April 2018 – All existing rental properties must have a rating of E or higher in order to grant a new tenancy

April 2020 – To be legally rented out, a property must have an E rating or above

2025 – 2030 – This may seem a long way off but it’s likely that the minimum ratings will increase to D by 2025 and C by 2030. You can’t say I haven’t given you fair warning!

Factors impacting on the energy efficiency of a property include the age of the house, boiler efficiency, secondary heating, insulation, glazing and lighting.

Improving your energy rating

So, what can you do if your property does not meet energy efficiency requirements?

Loft insulation is the easiest way to improve your rating. Around 270mm gives maximum benefit. The assessor must be able to see the insulation and prove it is there when doing the EPC, so bear this in mind if your loft is boarded up.

Secondary heating, such as an electric heater that is just for ‘show’ can lower your rating. The assessor’s software assumes that fires such as these are used for a percentage of the property’s heating and electric heating is far more expensive than gas central heating. So even though a fancy fire may be a nice feature, it won’t do you any favours when it comes to your EPC.

Wall insulation could be a consideration, particularly if you have a lot of exposed external walls. For example, a detached house would benefit far more from wall insulation than a mid-terrace.  Talk to an expert about this, if you use the wrong insulation method you could end up doing more harm than good.

A good heating system is extremely important. A new condensing boiler is 90% efficient, whereas an old boiler is likely to only run at 65% efficiency, so that can really impact your EPC rating. So, upgrading the heating system could be a really worthwhile investment.

One very cost-effective way to improve your rating is to ensure that your hot water cylinder (if your heating system uses one) is well insulated. A cylinder thermostat can also help.

Although we always think about windows as being a big part of heat loss, they don’t have as much impact on the rating as you would imagine. Of course, double glazing is still going to be more effective than single, so it may just give you the extra few points you need if you are just shy of that E rating.

You can also garner a few points by switching to low energy lighting. Large quantities of spotlights could damage your rating, so consider LED versions.

Exemptions

Listed buildings don’t require EPCs.

A property is also exempt if 3rd party consent isn’t available from the tenant or planning authority for any necessary work to be completed.

In addition, exemptions are made for landlords who have carried out all necessary improvements yet still haven’t achieved an E rating. (Don’t try this one as a get out clause though… you know you’ll be asked for proof that you have tried everything you possibly can!)

So, protect your investment and improve your energy efficiency rating! Contact us at Bluestone Sales & Lettings and we can offer you some tips and put you in touch with EPC experts who can help you make the necessary improvements.