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Top tips to improve your properties’ EPC ratings

With less than six months until the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) are introduced in April 2018, Mike Feely of E.ON offers simple suggestions on ways landlords can upgrade their properties.

The 2015 Energy Efficiency Regulations set out minimum energy efficiency standards for England and Wales. These regulations make it unlawful for landlords to grant a new lease for properties that have an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating below E, from 1 April 2018, unless the property is registered as an exemption.

According to E.ON’s research around one in five landlords (21%) expect to spend between £1,000 and £4,000 on energy efficiency improvements in their property over the next five years, but in reality improving the energy efficiency of a property to meet the new legislation does not need to incur such high costs.

For landlords who are worried about the potential costs of upgrading properties, financial support may also be available through the Energy Company Obligation if tenants meet certain qualifying criteria.

Here are Mike Feely’s top tips for landlords looking to improve their properties’ EPC ratings:

+ Don’t underestimate the importance of insulation in making a property more energy efficient. If the property was built before or around 1920, it most likely has solid walls. Solid wall insulation can be installed from either the inside or the outside. If the property was built after 1920 it’s likely to have cavity walls. These have a double external wall with a small gap between which can be filled with insulation.

+ Make a play of your energy savings standards – don’t just think of improving energy efficiency as something for meeting regulations, it’s a commercial decision too. Given most tenants are responsible for paying energy bills, some may be willing to pay more for properties that are energy efficient, so make sure you’re making the most of this as a selling point.

+ Without properly insulated windows, the property could be losing up to 10% of its heat. Double glazed windows make a big difference when it comes to lowering energy bills as well as reducing condensation and noise. Instead of double glazing you could install secondary glazing which involves fitting a pane of plastic or glass inside the existing window recess to create an insulating layer of air. Though not as effective as double glazing, secondary glazing still saves a significant amount of energy and allows you to maintain good kerb appeal by keeping original features such as sash windows.

+ EPC ratings look only at permanent improvements to the fabric of the building so think about long-term upgrades that will help to reduce heat and energy use. Simple things – sausage dog draught excluders and the like – will help keep heat in, but for the EPC you need to find permanent ways to fill the gaps to stop heat escaping through windows, doors, letterboxes and even keyholes. 

+ For those looking to bring their properties completely up to date, consider renewable technologies such as solar panels with an at-home battery to store electricity for use even when the sun goes down. Be aware these will contribute to your rating only if they’re helping to heat the house, rather than providing electricity for other uses.

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