Rising energy prices and the global need to reduce carbon emissions mean it’s never been more important to think about the energy efficiency of your property. There are a number of things a landlord can do to reduce their carbon footprint and keep costs down. Existing tenants will appreciate the reduction in bills and the property will be much more attractive to renters and buyers in the future.
- Use the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC):
These days, when a new Energy Performance Certificate is issued the assessor will include specific information about how to make your property more energy efficient. It’s not just filler! Use it to help you make worthwhile changes. And ask questions when the assessor is present to take advantage of their knowledge.
- Get a modern boiler:
If you haven’t had a new boiler installed for some time, look into a new energy efficient model. Since 2010, every new boiler that’s installed must be at least 88% efficient, while old boilers could be as low as 70% or less. A replacement could save hundreds of pounds a year and considerably reduce your property’s carbon emissions.
- Draught-proof the property
This is an inexpensive but very effective measure. Keep doors and windows closed, invest in thick curtains and possibly double- or triple-glazing when funds allow. There are also some affordable bits and pieces that you can buy in any hardware store that will help the property retain heat, including reflector pads for radiators and draught excluders for doors, windows and even keyholes!
- Inform the tenant about the heating controls:
Reducing thermostats in a room by just 1°C can save a household £55 a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust. Tenants should also know how to set timers to correspond to their lifestyles. For example, if everyone is out during the day, the heating should mostly be off. If the radiators are regulated via Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs), suggest setting them low and increasing it only when necessary. If you don’t have TRVs, consider installing them: they automatically regulate the temperature of the radiators, reducing the amount of energy that is wasted.
Simply insulating the loft could save the household up to £250 in bills every year and prevent potentially over 1000kg of carbon dioxide being wasted. And this can be done relatively cheaply (a few hundred pounds depending on the type of property) and often quickly by DIY. Also look into insulating floors (even if just with thick carpets) and walls as well as other types of roof insulation. Some of these can be pretty expensive but they will help the environment and make the property very attractive to tenants.
- Look into Government Schemes – The Green Deal and the Energy Company Obligation:
Landlords can take advantage of the Green Deal. This allows you to make energy-saving changes to the property without paying up-front. In fact, the costs are covered by the tenant through the heating bills. And if you’re worried that this will upset your tenants, know that the bills actually should not increase because the repayments should be offset by the savings made from the improvements. That’s the theory at least – there are no guarantees! The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) supports the Green Deal and places an obligation on energy companies to install and pay for energy-saving improvements in certain eligible properties with no strings attached. Find out whether you could benefit from either of these.
Image by Knauf Insulation licensed under Creative Commons