The Benefits of Double Glazing

As homeowners, we constantly seek ways to improve our living spaces, making them more comfortable, energy-efficient, and environmentally friendly. One significant upgrade that offers these benefits is double glazing. In this post, we’ll explore what double glazing is, how it works, and why it’s an excellent investment for your home.

What is Double Glazing?

Double glazing involves the use of two panes of glass separated by a vacuum or gas-filled space to reduce heat transfer across a part of the building envelope. This design is a step up from traditional single-glazed windows, which consist of a single pane of glass.

How Does It Work?

The key to double glazing’s effectiveness lies in the space between the two panes of glass. This space acts as an insulating barrier. It can be filled with air or inert gases like argon or krypton, which are better insulators than air. The two glass panes also typically include a layer of coating that reflects heat back into the room, enhancing the insulation.

Benefits:

  1. Energy Efficiency: One of the primary benefits is improved energy efficiency. By reducing the amount of heat loss during winter and heat gain during summer, these windows can significantly lower energy bills.
    1. Noise Reduction: Double glazing offers excellent sound insulation. The two layers of glass and the vacuum or gas-filled space between them act as a barrier to noise, making it ideal for homes in busy areas.
    2. Reduced Condensation: Condensation can be a problem with single-glazed windows, leading to mould and mildew. Double glazing reduces condensation by maintaining a warmer interior glass surface.
    3. Increased Security: Double-glazed windows are tougher to break than single-glazed ones, offering an added layer of security to your home.
    4. Enhanced Property Value: Installing double-glazed windows can increase the value of your property, making it more attractive to potential buyers or renters.

Considerations When Choosing Double Glazing:

• Frame Materials: Frames for double-glazed windows come in various materials, including uPVC, aluminium, and wood. Each has its pros and cons in terms of durability, maintenance, and aesthetics.
• Glass Options: There are different types of glass, including low-emissivity (low-E) glass, which has a special coating to reflect heat.
• Cost vs. Return on Investment: While the initial cost can be significant, the long-term savings in energy bills and the added comfort and security make it a worthwhile investment.

Conclusion:

Double glazing is more than just a window upgrade; it’s an investment in comfort, efficiency, and security. By understanding the benefits and considerations when choosing double glazing, homeowners can make informed decisions that enhance their living spaces while also contributing to a more sustainable future.

Tips for Improving Your EPC Rating

What does an EPC assessor do in your home?

Energy Efficient Homes – Best & Worst Places in Britain

Energy Efficient

Everest, the company famed for double glazing, has recently compiled a survey of the best and worst areas in England and Wales in terms of energy efficient domestic properties.

They did this by analysing the Energy Performance Certificates of more than 15 million properties. Here are the results of that survey.

The Most Energy Efficient Places in England & Wales

Percentage shows how many properties are rated A or B overall.

  1. Tower Hamlets – London – 29.22%
  2. Greenwich – London – 19.92%
  3. City of London – London – 19.67%
  4. Dartford – Kent – 18.9%
  5. Hackney – London – 18.85%
  6. Uttlesford – Essex – 18.84%
  7. Basingstoke and Deane – Hampshire – 18.47%
  8. Cambridge – Cambridgeshire – 18.15%
  9. Milton Keynes – Buckinghamshire – 17.29%
  10. Southwark – London – 16.64%

The most striking thing to see from this list is the huge discrepancy between Tower Hamlets and the rest of the list. Most on the list have between 18% and 19% of their properties at an A or B level, whereas Tower Hamlets has nearly 30%.

This is due to huge investments being made by the local government here in order to ensure new build developments are as energy efficient as they could be.

The next thing to notice is that all of the top ten areas are in the south east, with half of them in the capital itself.

The Least Energy Efficient Places in England & Wales

Percentage shows how many properties are rated F or G overall.

  1. Isles of Scilly – Isles of Scilly – 35.34%
  2. Gwynedd – Gwynedd – 26.31%
  3. Ceredigion – Ceredigion – 24.33%
  4. Eden – Cumbria – 21.15%
  5. Isle of Anglesey – Isle of Anglesey – 20.70%
  6. West Somerset – Somerset – 20.54%
  7. West Devon – Devon – 19.33%
  8. Ryedale – North Yorkshire – 18.34%
  9. Cornwall – Cornwall – 18.30%
  10. Powys – Powys – 18.23%

As you’ll see, most of the places on this list are more remote and more exposed locations. Exposed locations won’t automatically make a difference to the EPC results, but exposed locations located on the west side of the country do have an issue.

The top three locations, Isles of Scilly, Gwynedd and Ceredigion fit into this category.

The reason being is that the western edge of Great Britain is exposed to wind and driving rain. This makes them unsuitable for cavity wall insulation, making wall insulation itself either impractical or too expensive.

Conclusions

This data shows just how effective an EPC or an Energy Report can be when it is being used to compare the energy efficiencies of properties around the country.

In this case the properties which are rated F or G will be paying, on average, three and a half times the amount to heat their homes that properties at an A or B level will be.

If you’re looking to improve the energy efficiency of your property, click here for some quick wins.

Is it worth improving your hot water cylinder insulation?

MEES 2019

The first stage of the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) was introduced in April 2018. A year later, MEES 2019 has updated the previous conditions and landlords and letting agents need to be aware of the changes.

Main changes in MEES 2019

The main change for MEES 2019 means that from the 1 April this year, landlords have had to fund the installation of energy efficient measures in their properties themselves, in order to achieve minimum energy efficiency standards.

There is a spending cap, however of £3,500, including VAT, for overall improvement costs.

This means that the ‘no cost to landlord’ exemption set out in the Energy Efficiency Regulations 2015 no longer applies. Landlords are unable to use this exemption to prevent them making improvements to their property out of their own finances.

Third part funding may still be available in the form of Green Deal, Grants and ECO.  However if those things are not available, from 1 April 2019, landlords have had to fund the improvements themselves.

If any landlords registered their exemptions before the 1 April cut off then they will still see changes. MEES 2019 means that their exemption period is no longer set at five years. Instead all improvements need to be made by April 2020 at the latest.

Landlords not meeting these minimum standards could face a penalty of up to £5,000.

This change should now future proof these regulations. Landlords are required to fund property improvements themselves when funding is not available.  However  their liability is clearly capped.

What next?

The next update to MEES will come on 1 April 2020, The regulations will then state that MEES applies to ALL residential property that is privately rented.

This means that if a property requires a domestic EPC, it must reach a minimum ‘E’ standard before it can be rented out. This applies to all leases whether new or existing.

The EPC Certificate, how does it affect you?

The EPC Certificate – How Does it Affect You?

When it comes to purchasing or renting a property, it is the person selling the house or the landlord who has the responsibility of obtaining an EPC. However, it’s still important for everybody involved to understand what the certificate is telling them.

Sellers

It is illegal to sell a home without an EPC in place. In order to obtain an EPC you should speak to your estate agent, or for better value for money, obtain one directly from an EPC provider.

Buyers

Ensure that you receive an EPC when you buy the house. Your solicitor should be checking this. Have a look at the recommendations it has and use it to inform you what improvements the property needs. You may even use it to negotiate on price.

Landlords

If you have a property you wish to let out you must ensure that you have a valid EPC in place. Not only that, if you are asking a tenant to sign a new lease you must ensure that the property has achieved a minimum rating of ‘E’. From April 2020, this rule extends to cover all existing leases too.

Tenants

Insist on seeing the property’s EPC before you move in. This not only ensures that it has met the legal requirements, it also gives you a good idea of how much the property will cost to run. This makes it easier to plan your monthly budgets going forward.

Understanding the EPC

The basic premise of an EPC is to show how energy efficient a property is. The main focus is on the Energy Efficiency rating, on page one of the document.

Here you will see two scores, one is the current rating, the other is the potential rating. The EPC will in subsequent pages show you how to get from one to the other.

‘A’ rated is the highest, ‘G’ rated is the lowest. Newer homes tend to have better ratings with older homes tending to have ratings of ‘D’ and ‘E’. The national average for a domestic property in the UK is ‘D’.

These other articles may also interest you

Tips for improving your EPC rating

Biggest EPC Wins

Moving Home Efficiently – Top Ten Tips

Tips for Improving your EPC Rating

Improving your EPC

There are many reasons to try and get the highest possible score on your EPC. The first is to try and ensure that your house is as energy efficient as possible. An energy efficient house costs less to run, saving you a potential fortune on your heating bills.

The other reasons are in terms of actually needing to achieve certain ratings. If you’re a landlord then your property MUST achieve an ‘E’ rating before you can rent it out. If you are looking for a Feed in Tariff (FiT) when you install a renewable energy product, then your property must already be ‘D’ rated.

Here are five top tips for improving your EPC score.

  1. Insulation – The most important consideration can also be the cheapest too. Twenty five percent of a property’s heat is lost through its roof, luckily loft insulation is not only cheap, it is also one of the easiest things to install. Ensure you install it to a depth of 270mm (do not crush under boarding) in order to get the most benefit.Wall insulation is also crucial. Cavity wall insulation needs to be done by a professional company but it can be a relatively cheap process. Depending on government funding available to energy companies it can also be free.

    Solid wall insulation can be very expensive but can also be the number one saver for energy bills in older houses.

  2. Install renewable energy – If your home is suitable you should look into installing renewable energy. In almost all cases they will provide a large boost to your EPC score.Most people will think of solar panels when they imagine domestic renewables and Solar PV panels to supply electricity have been very popular. But you can also consider solar thermal panels for your hot water or biomass boilers or heat pumps to heat your home.

    When improving your EPC, if you want your property to achieve maximum score then you MUST have some renewable energy in place.

  3. Replace an old boiler – Heating makes up a large percentage of a household’s energy costs. If you have an old, inefficient boiler it will be reflected in your EPC score and, more importantly, it will be costing you more money than it should to heat your home.Look into getting an ‘A’ rated boiler and ensure that you have full control over the heating in your home. Also consider the installation of a room thermostat, a programmer and TRVs (thermostatic radiator valves.)
  4. Get double glazing – If you have old, thin, single glazed windows with wooden frames then you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that a significant portion of the heat from your home is being lost through them.Get double or triple glazing installed. If it’s too expensive or it’s not possible, secondary glazing can be just as effective.
  5. Replace your lightbulbs with LEDs – You can’t buy halogen bulbs anymore and there’s a good reason. Not only are they not energy efficient but they often only last a couple of years.Although replacing the bulbs will only have a small impact in improving your EPC and despite the fact that at first glance they seem expensive, when you learn that LED bulbs can last more than 20 years you realise that you’re actually going to save money.

If you enjoyed this article you might also like Biggest EPC Wins.

Biggest EPC Wins

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.

Boilers

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.

Insulation

But what of properties that aren’t electrically heated? The answer is simple. The biggest gains can come from simply insulating the property properly.

Loft insulation

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.

Wall insulation

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.

If you require a Landlord Report or any other services, please feel free to contact us at any time.

If you require an EPC in any the following areas, please click on the links.

Hot Water Cylinder Insulation

Hot Water Cylinder Insulation

Improving the Energy Efficiency of your Hot Water

There’s not a huge amount of difference between a hot water cylinder and a kettle. A hot water element is inserted into a large cylinder which heats and then stores water.  However, it is not necessary to insulate a kettle, but hot water cylinder insulation is essential.

It costs money to heat hot water and (especially if you’re using electricity to heat it) and it will start to lose heat very quickly once heated. Think how quickly the water in your kettle drops from being 100℃ to cool enough to touch. Hot water cylinder insulation is crucial to energy efficiency which in turn leads to financial and environmental savings.

It is also a question of convenience. If hot water is stored effectively it is also available instantaneously as opposed to having to be heated up as required.

All modern cylinders are now supplied with 50mm thick factory fitted foam which is sufficient to sustain hot water temperature. Slightly older cylinders will have foam fitted on the outside at 38mm but even these may need to be improved. The foam wears away and the cut outs for pipework can expose the copper cylinder.

Older cylinders may have no insulation fitted at all. If your cylinder has no or insufficient insulation fitted then it will need to be upgraded. This is simple to do and makes use of a purpose made ‘jacket’ which wraps around the cylinder. The depth of the insulation is normally at 80mm. The cost can be as low as £15 but its addition could save you up to £80 a year in heating costs.

When improving your hot water cylinder insulation it is also worth insulating the pipes around it. The sections that are next to the tank can also lose a lot of heat and are again very easy to insulate.

Hot water cylinder insulation will provide instant improvement in your EPC results.  If you require an EPC or any of our other services, check out the menu above for details of our prices.

How does an EPC Assessor Record Their Data?

EPC Bromley

The short answer is, “Any way they like.”  As long as they record the data accurately it really doesn’t matter.

When EPC Bromley first started doing EPCs in 2012, there wasn’t a choice.  The data had to be input into a database on a computer to do the calculations eventually, but it’s impractical to carry  laptop around with you whilst you do a survey.  The data was therefore collected on a preprepared form and input later in the day.

The initial accreditation company that EPC Bromley used didn’t even have the facility to enter the data online in 2012!  Instead you had to download software which barely functioned and submit it onto there.  We changed accreditation companies very quickly to one which had an online facility!

Still, writing all the information down on paper and then sitting down later to type the same information onto a database is still a massive waste of time.  Mobile data collection had been around for a long time when EPC accreditation bodies started to consider solutions for themselves.  To say they were behind the times is an understatement!

When apps were eventually produced for iPad and iPhone they were awful.  They needed a perfect phone signal, so useless for rural areas, and some of them still needed to be plugged in later so the data could be uploaded.

EPC Bromley’s first experience of using an iPad instead of paper resulted in a one hour survey lasting three hours.  This was an experience which meant that we stuck with pencil and paper for another two years.

In 2016 we gave the digital version another try.  Ideally we wanted to trial multiple versions but we hit a snag.  We had traded in iPads for large screened iPhones and MacBooks as they were more practical, unfortunately the majority of accreditation companies had only designed software fit for iPads.  In the end we only had two choices.

The first company (who shall remain nameless), had software that was provided by a third party, to describe it as poor would be generous.  Exactly the same problems as before, parts either overly complicated or overly simplified and elements of it just not functioning correctly.  Again pen, paper and a later input was quicker.

We then trialled the iPhone app available from Elmhurst.  Straightaway it functioned exactly how it should.  The survey order was logical, reminders for photos worked well and not only could you submit it and receive the EPC in seconds, you could upload all evidence and set it as ready for audit immediately.  This reduced the office work by 100%, surely the very point of doing it on site in the first place?!

The only thing that we have to use pen and paper for is the drawings to establish the volume of the property.  There are apps available to do this on the iPhone but in the experience of EPC Bromley, these only work accurately when you’re in a house with absolutely no furniture.  So in reality they aren’t particularly practical.

Once these apps are perfected however, EPC Bromley looks forward to dispensing with the paper altogether!

Energy Performance Certificates – What Does an Assessor do in Your House?

EPC Bromley

You know what an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is, but what exactly does an assessor do when they visit your house?  If you call EPC Bromley to arrange an domestic energy assessment then what can you expect when they visit?

Have a look below for a summary of the items that EPC Bromley will consider during the assessment for your EPC.

House Age and Build Type

Working out the year that the house and any extensions were built will tell us what the building regulations were at that time and therefore how energy efficient the house is in general.  A house built in 1930 would have had no insulation fitted to the walls as a regulation, this is not the case with a house built in 2010.

The build type (detached, terrace, flat) tells us where the heat may be escaping from.  A detached house generally has at least four cold walls whereas a semi will have one shared wall which is warm.  A flat could be heated from all sides and have a communal corridor area which is heated too.

Dimensions

Quite simply we measure the volume of your property.  We need to know the amount of space you have to heat before we make a judgement on how you heat it.  We’ll also consider whether you have a conservatory. 

If your conservatory has an outside door sealing it off then it is discounted, if it is open plan then it is included and considered a source where heat can escape more easily.

Walls

Wall types are generally solid, cavity or timber framed and are as efficient as the regulations in place when they were built.  Traditionally, solid walls without insulation were used on houses until well into the 1930s, this kind of wall is very inefficient. 

If it is a cavity wall then we check whether the cavity has been filled with insulation retrospectively, as originally cavity walls were not filled.

Roofs

We poke our head into the loft and see whether it is insulated, if it has then how deep is it?  Traditional insulation at the joists should be at least 270 mm deep.  Remember, if you crush it down with floorboards to 100 mm then it is only 100 mm effective.

Floors

Are they solid or suspended floorboards, has it been insulated or do you have another dwelling below you?

Openings

We consider how many doors you have and whether those doors are insulated.  We look at how much glazing you have and whether it is single, double or triple glazed.  If it’s double glazed we consider what year it was installed, double glazing installed from 2002 onwards is much more efficient than glazing fitted before then.

If it was fitted before 2002 then we consider the frame type (metal, pic or wood) and the gap between the panes of glass.

We also look at how much draught proofing is in place.

Ventilation & Lighting

We look at how many fireplaces the property has and whether these are open, we also look for any mechanical ventilation or cooling systems that are in place.

We count the amount of light fittings and at the same time we count how many of these have low energy bulbs in place.

Heating Systems

How do you heat your home?  If you use a traditional boiler then we consider how efficient that boiler is.  Modern condensing boilers get the highest efficiency scores.

We consider how the heat is distributed (radiators, underfloor) and how that heat is controlled.  Properties that have a room thermostat, thermostatic radiator valves and a heating timer will score  highest.

If your property has more than one heating system then this is also considered as well as any secondary heaters such as a gas or electric fires in the reception rooms.

Water

How do you heat your water?  Do you have a combination boiler or a hot water cylinder?  If it’s a cylinder then how large is it?  Is it insulated?  Does it have a thermostat?  We then consider how many bath/shower rooms are in the property, how many of these have baths, showers or both?

We also look at other options for water heating which may be in place.  These include solar water heating, waster water heat recovery systems (WWHRS) and flue gas heat recovery systems (FGHRS).

New Technologies

We investigate if you have any other new technologies in place like solar photovoltaic panels or a wind turbine.  The terrain you live in is considered(urban, suburban, rural) which determines whether a wind turbine would be suitable.

Checks are made at this point to see what type of electricity meter the property is has (dual or single charge).   If the house isn’t heated by a gas boiler, we see whether there is a gas meter indicating it would be an option.

Any other info

Here’s where you can note whether the property has a swimming pool or  uses a more obscure way to heat itself.  For example micro CHP or a biofuel that isn’t listed in the usual database.

If you don’t understand some of these points, feel free to get in touch with EPC Bromley and ask.  Otherwise your EPC Bromley assessor will be happy to answer any questions you may have whilst the survey is taking place.

What is an EPC and What Does it Show? – EPC Bromley explains

EPC

If a home is on the market for renting or selling then it needs to have a valid EPC, it’s as simple as that.  But rather than being a pointless piece of bureaucracy, EPC Bromley considers that it can actually be used as the instruction manual telling you how to make your property more energy efficient.

However, EPC Bromley has discovered that although people have the certificate they have trouble deciphering the information within it.  So we’ve put together this guide.

What are EPCs for?

On a very basic level an EPC lets you compare the energy efficiency between one property and another.  This is obviously useful information if you are looking to buy or rent a property.

Secondly it tells you which energy efficiency improvements can be done, how much they will cost to install and how much money they will save you once installed.

EPC Explained

Page One – Current Costs and Potential Costs

EPC Bromley

This shows you the estimates of how much your house costs to light up, to heat and produce hot water.  It then shows you what these costs could be if you had the recommended energy efficiency measures installed and how much you could therefore save.

In this case you can see that this house could potentially save over £1,000 a year.

Energy Efficiency Rating

EPC Bromley

This is the main data that people are concerned with.  It looks a bit like the ratings that are given to electrical appliances because it is.

The ratings are scored out of a total of 100 and these then correspond to the letters A-G, with A being the highest. 

The two ratings show the level that the property is currently at, compared to the level it could achieve if all measures were installed.  In this case the property is ‘F’ rated but could potentially achieve a ‘C’.

Top Actions

EPC Bromley

The top actions are also featured at the bottom of page one.  These are the measures that could see the property reach its potential the most quickly.  A full list is shown further on in the document

Page Two  – Energy Performance Summary

EPC Bromley

This breaks down each and every element of the property into a description and a rating.  This is to give you more information as to the construction of the property, the way it heats up, the way that heating is controlled and how the property is lit.

This property has energy inefficient solid walls and no insulation in the loft.  However the boiler is considered pretty efficient.

Low and Zero Carbon Energy Sources

EPC Bromley

This list shows if the property gets any energy from low carbon sources.  this includes renewables such as Solar PV or Solar water heating panels.  In this case the property has none.

Heat Demand of the Property

EPC Bromley

This shows the expected heat demand of the property and how this will change if insulation is installed.  This section is used for people considering installing renewable heating into their home, it enables calculations for Renewable Heat Incentive payments.

Page Three – Recommended Improvements

EPC Bromley

This is in fact the most important part on the EPC.  It shows you in detail all of the recommendations, their costs, their savings and how much the property’s energy rating will go up once they are installed.

They are also shown in order of how important they are.  It is a good guide as to how you should decide which energy efficiency measures to install first.  In this case installing wall insulation will increase the rating from a 31 to a 50, an increase of 19 points which would take the property from an ‘F’ to an ‘E’.

The latter recommendations are aimed at people who want the property to achieve the highest possible rating.

Alternative Measures

EPC Bromley

This is a list of other measures that could further improve the efficiency of the property.  This could list things such as air and ground source heat pumps.  In this case it recommends Micro CHP.

Page Four – Other Information

EPC Bromley

This part has disclaimers about the EPC, who completed it, when and how they are qualified to do so.

Environmental impact

EPC Bromley

The last section shows the amount of carbon emissions from the property and how this impact could be lowered if all recommended measures were installed.

EPC Bromley hopes this guide has been useful.  Remember, your EPC is public domain and can always be viewed at epcregister.com