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How can landlords make their properties more energy efficient?

energy efficiency|

Rising energy prices are at the forefront of a cost-of-living squeeze that will be felt by many in the UK. If you're a tenant, the rising price cap on energy is out of your control but saving money through energy efficiency is within it.

For landlords, increased energy efficiency will ensure your buy-to-let investments stay within an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) E rating '� the minimum requirement to avoid a �5,000 fine. Lower energy bills also mean happier tenants, which will encourage longer-term occupancy and attract renters in the first place.

With this in mind, we've compiled a comprehensive guide on the measures you can take to improve your EPC rating and make your property more energy efficient.

How to make your property more energy efficient

Improve insulation

About a third of all the heat lost, in an uninsulated home, escapes through the walls. If you want to reduce your carbon emissions and keep your tenant's energy bills low, installing insulation in walls and floors, will make a big impact.

Install draught proofing

This is an incredibly easy way to save energy. You just need to identify and block any gaps that might let cold air in or warm air out. These include gaps between windows/doors and the frames, letterboxes, keyholes, chimneys, loft hatches, and floorboards. Solutions include self-adhesive strips for gaps between windows and doors, brushes for letterboxes or the bottom of front doors, and draught excluders or caps for chimney pots.

Upgrade to an energy-efficient heating system

Is the boiler in your property due an upgrade? Consider going for a more energy-efficient option when the time comes. Electric and biomass boilers all represent better eco-friendly alternatives to traditional gas boilers, while even condenser boilers that use gas or oil generate a lower carbon footprint.

Go double or triple glazed

If you still have single glazing, you should upgrade to double or triple glazing. It helps to minimise energy loss and can reduce condensation and make the property quieter '� especially valuable if it's on a busy road.

A cheaper alternative is secondary glazing, which is quicker and cleaner to install. It's particularly useful for listed buildings or in conservation areas when you want to keep the external look of your windows unchanged.

Harness the sun

Even though we don't always get the amount of sunshine we'd like in the UK, we do get enough to generate free hot water via a solar water heating system. Typically, the heat is provided by solar panels fitted to roofs and the system can also be linked to existing boilers or immersion heaters, so that if there are any problems, the conventional heating system can step in.  

Get a smart meter

A smart meter is the next generation of a gas and electricity meter. Instead of estimated billing, a smart meter automatically sends your readings to your energy supplier at least once a month (daily or half-hourly sends are optional) and lets tenants see how much they are spending on their energy usage.

Switch to LED lighting

LED lights are typically more expensive to buy (around �5, compared to �1-�2 for incandescent or halogen bulbs) however the cost savings are far greater in the long run. There is a helpful table by Electrical Counter that compares purchase prices, running prices per year, and the lifespan of each type of bulb. 

Cut your water usage

In a report by the Energy Saving Trust, showers are the biggest water user in the house (25%), followed by toilets (22%). Over 740 billion litres of water are flushed down our toilets annually in the UK, meanwhile heating water is the second-largest source of energy use in the home. Reducing water usage can make a big difference to your property's energy efficiency. Dual flush cisterns, low flow showerheads and appliances like dishwashers or washing machines with an A+++ energy rating are all ways you can save water and money.

Small energy-saving extras that make a big difference

Saving energy doesn't just involve home improvements or upgrades, there are smaller habits that you could share with your tenants to incorporate in their 'every day', to improve energy efficiency and save money on their bills. These include'�

  • Keep radiators clear so that heat can circulate properly
  • Turn off radiators in rooms that aren't being used
  • Unplug laptops, chargers etc when they're not being used
  • Ensure dishwashers and washing machines are at full capacity when they are used
  • Use the eco settings on appliances wherever

In addition to saving money and reducing your carbon footprint, your energy-saving endeavours could also be rewarded by funds and grants. To discover more about these schemes and improving the energy efficiency of your rental property, you can download a full eBook from LRG here.

Author: Michael Cook, Managing Director of National Lettings at Leaders.

Bio: With over 15 years in the property industry, Michael is responsible for both building and managing the Leaders' Lettings portfolio across the national network of branches.


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