I often get asked as to what is the biggest win when it comes to an Energy Performance Certificate. What improvements can I make to my property which will improve its energy efficiency the most?
This is especially relevant to landlords nowadays who are bound by the regulations set out by MEES. Before you rent out a property to tenants, landlords must ensure that the property has a rating on an EPC of at least an ‘E’.
Landlords enquire about double glazing or cheap solutions like replacing bulbs with low energy alternatives. In truth both of these are pretty small fry in terms of improvements.
Generally people want to avoid expensive improvements such as replacing boilers. In truth if the property has a gas boiler, unless it’s a very old floor standing gas boiler with an open flue, a change to a more modern boiler is unlikely to make a massive difference.
On the other hand, if the property is heated by electricity then the heating system could make a huge difference. If the property is old or exposed and it is heated by electric radiant heaters then the rating is going to be poor. In this case the recommendation will always be to upgrade to high heat retention storage heaters or fan assisted storage heaters. The difference in ratings can be huge and drag an ‘F’ or ‘G’ property into ‘D’ or ‘E’ straight away.
But what of properties that aren’t electrically heated? The answer is simple. The biggest gains can come from simply insulating the property properly.
If the property doesn’t have any loft insulation then add some. Any can make a difference but the recommended amount is to a depth of 270mm. Not crushed under floorboards. Putting boards on top of insulation makes it as effective as the depth it is crushed to.
This is a cheap and simple way to dramatically increase rating. It’s also an easy DIY job.
The other vital insulation consideration is walls. This is especially important in pre 1930s houses with solid walls. This can be very expensive but is always very effective.
For houses with cavity walls it is a much simpler and cheaper solution but also very effective and can produce a significant difference to your EPC rating.
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