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Energy Efficiency - heat pumps ‘make little difference’ claims survey

A survey of landlords suggests that LED lighting is the most popular and effective way they choose to improve a property’s energy efficiency.

The survey is small - just 459 UK landlords - but it found that 56 per cent say that the sustainability of their property is important to them, irrespective of changing energy performance certificate regulations.

When asked about the adaptations that they had already made to boost efficiency, LED lighting was the most popular change (42 per cent have made this change to their properties) with a significant majority of those that had made the change saying that it had worked. 


Around three quarters of those that have not replaced old lightbulbs with LEDs said that they plan to in the next 12 months. 

Investing in double or triple glazing, using smart meters, adding wall or loft insulation and installing energy-efficient kitchen appliances were the other most common energy efficiency upgrades that UK landlords have made to their properties. 

Conversely, at the bottom of the list, less than a fifth have replaced their property’s boiler with a carbon neutral heat pump - and almost half of those who had made the change said that it had not made any notable improvement to the property’s energy efficiency.

The survey was commissioned by Market Financial Solutions and its chief executive Paresh Raja says: “Sustainability and energy efficiency have become increasingly important in recent years as the climate and energy crises worsen. As such, it’s encouraging that our research shows so many landlords have already boosted their properties’ energy efficiency credentials, while plenty more have plans to improve the sustainability of their homes in the future.

“Clearly, upgrades such as replacing old lightbulbs with LEDs can be relatively affordable. However, in the current economic climate, making more substantial improvements – such as investing in double glazing or installing loft insulation – may be financially out of reach for some landlords. So, by working with brokers, lenders must be on hand to provide flexible financial products that will help landlords make the changes their properties need.”

Have you made these improvements to boost energy efficiency of your BTL property? Yes Of those who have: did it work in making your property more energy efficient? Of those who have not made: do you plan to make this upgrade in the next 12 months?
Replacing old light bulbs with LED lighting 42% 67% 73%
Investing in double or triple glazing  39%  65% 68%
Installing a smart energy meter 38% 51% 67%
Adding loft or wall insulation 34% 60% 70%
Installing energy-efficient kitchen appliances 29% 57% 64%
Investing in professional draught-proofing 26% 55% 51%
Switching from gas boilers to more efficient condensing boilers  25% 63% 40%
Investing in solar panels  23% 39% 38%
Investing in geothermal heating  22% 36% 34%
Replacing boilers with a carbon neutral heat pump  18% 56% 37%


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  • Matthew Payne

    This feels like the campaign to buy diesel cars about 20 years ago. Heat pumps are not the future. They are very very expensive, trading off the back off you are investing in green for what is no more than an air con unit in reverse that costs about a quarter of the price. They dont work in cold winters, are too big, and too hard to retro fit to flats or properties with no gardens. Complete waste of money. Im advising people to hang on, keep repairing old boilers for the next hadnful of years to see who the front runners for the next generation are, hydrogen boilers are certainly one.


    Common sense at last. Run for PM…I’d vote for you.


    And today in the Telegraph the boss of Bosch, who make them, says they are not suitable for older properties!


    Matthew, I didn’t know they didn’t work in cold weather. When I enquired was told - if you install one- do it for the environment NOT for saving mo ry. You might have no gas bill but your electric bill goes whoosh. So advised too to have solar panels installed to help counter act the woosh effect - yes all this too is EXPENSIVE! Wait I think too is the key.


    Absolute rubbish. Heat pumps are very popular in Scandinavian countries that have much colder winter than ours.

    I have a heat pump and it kept my house at 21 degrees at -6 outside without breaking a sweat(renovated 1960's bungalow).

    It is true that you can't just rip a gas boiler out of every property and slap a heat pump in and expect it to work poor design is the cause of most of the negative stories.

    Hydrogen boilers are just not going to happen. The only environmentally sustainable way to produce hydrogen is through electrolysis and this takes 6x the amount of electricity to produce the hydrogen and run a boiler than it does to run a heat pump or 3x more energy than it would take to run an electric boiler.

    So a hydrogen boiler will cost 6x more to run than a Heat pump.

    A heat pump gets even cheaper when you add in time of use tariffs home batteries and solar to the mix.

    Hydrogen for home heating is for the birds.

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    More smoke 💨 & mirrors 🪞 to extract our cash, only the foolish ones will jump in.

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    I have been involved with what looks like those units years ago they were called air source units. Suppose to give out more than 4 times the energy they use but so expensive and heavy they were installed to heat swimming pools.


    Electricity needs to be less than 4 times the cost of gas before these things even break even in running costs, ignoring the huge capital cost difference over gas boilers.

    It's a NO from me!

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    Installing heat pumps also loses you points on your EPC. Happened to me. The explanation was changing from gas to electricity loses you points as the scoring system does not allow for the fact that you have installed a heat pump, it runs on electricity that is all that matters. Electricity is electricity end of.


    I thought they wanted you to run on electric. Gas is dirty they say. So by running on electric you should gain points?


    Yes Nick, you would think so. just shows how ludicrous these EPC's are. No joined up thinking
    This particular EPC also recommended approximately £30k of improvements to up the score for a saving of approximately £100 a year. What a joke. I sold the property.


    @Nick Van Hoogstraaten

    Electricity is more expensive for 2 reasons.

    1) The green levies were put on electricity as most of our electricity used to come from coal so gas was cleaner than electricity. Politicians could change this today.

    2) The price of electricity is set by the cost of the most expensive form of generation on the grid at that time(gas). Politicians could change this today.

    So you need to ask why don't the govt. want to change this. My opinion is that they are in the pockets of oil and gas firms.

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    This current government is totally dysfuinctional. There is no cohesive joined up plan for anything.
    EPC's being a prime example.


    I agree, but look at the alternative and the idiots running Scotland and Wales.

    Northern Ireland has the best Government currently - none!

  • George Dawes

    Recently spent a small fortune updating a property , insulation , double even triple glazing , low voltage etc , got a C

    Dump nearby the landlord hasn't spent a penny on it ever - windows are falling out !

    Got a C too .... smh
    Like plandemic its all a scam and a rip off and a way to destroy the working and middle class

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    I'm surprised better heating programmers and thermostats aren't on the list.
    Either the app controlled smart ones like Hive or Nest or the programmable ones with six different time and temperature settings a day. Either can make sizeable savings on energy bills while keeping the house within a 5 degree variance in temperature, which will help prevent condensation and mould.

    Why are smart meters on the list? They only measure the amount of energy a householder is using and do nothing to reduce consumption.

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    Smart meters, approximately half report energy saving ! And you can be cut off, remotely ! And you can be subjected to changes in pricing, which could herald people bidding for energy at times of shortage ! They are costing a staggering amount due to the infrastructure required.


    Edwin - please explain exactly how smart meters save energy.

    I have a smart meter because I have an EV and I wanted to have the Octopus Go tariff. I choose what time to use some energy so I pay less for those units but paying less per kWh isn't the same as using less.

    I am on the waiting list for the Octopus Flux tariff for another house that has solar panels and a battery. I will be able to import cheap nighttime electric and then sell back during the peak rate 3 hours. That is my choice and will hopefully be financially beneficial but it doesn't alter the amount of electricity used by the household. The existence of solar panels will cut the amount of electricity that is provided by the National Grid but that is the solar panels reducing demand, not the smart meter.

    I can fully see that insulation, LED bulbs, double glazing, solar panels, low energy appliances all reduce energy consumption, but I just can't see how something with the sole function of measuring energy consumption actually saves energy.


    The only way smart meters can save energy is by frightening people into using less energy when they see what the energy already used has cost. Everyone knows using electricity for heating etc. is much more expensive than using it to power led lights, so we don't need expensive smart meters to tell us that.

    By the same token, pre payment meters save energy by cutting people off when they can't afford to top them up - but they are now demonised.

    Personally I would support more prepayment meters being installed rather than normal smart meters as the former stop people running up bad debts that the rest of us end up paying.


    Robert - I fully agree far more use should be made of prepayment meters, especially now they won't be charged at a higher rate.
    They can be topped up remotely these days so it's no longer a question of trying to find a corner shop to top up the key.
    I've got a couple of tenants who have chosen to have prepayment meters because that's just how they prefer to budget. They're terrified of running up debts and prefer to make conscious decisions regarding heating instead of freezing and worrying about a future bill.


    Many years ago I remember going round my sisters flat, watching telly and all of a sudden the electric cut off. Hang on she said, just got to put another 50p in the meter.


    In the 50's, Councils routinely fitted prepayment meters in Council houses. They took the single 1/- coin which lasted for 2 or 3 days unless an electric fire was used.


    Everyone, including me, should have a prepayment meter, topped up over the internet or by direct debit. Debt collection and bad debt is a major cost to the utilities so this should lead to lower bills for all.

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    Jo Westlake,
    I never said smart meters save energy, they don't. They need the user to monitor them and act on the info. Point is that approx of half them haven't saved anything . Which means they don't want to turn off the energy hungry devices, or aren't looking at the meters.

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    To install heat pumps it is recommended a minimum standard of insulation.

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    I lived in a shared house in L’pool in the mid 1960’s where multiple rooms and sharers lived had common facilities but not much of those / public baths no central heating or hot water. The occupants had many visitors especially after the pub closed. There was a slot electric meter usually operated with piece of lino cut the size of coin but no one knew who was doing it, anyway a fight broke out one night after the pub, seemed to involve the whole house & visitors. Holy smoke if the Electric didn’t go off in the middle of it all. One guy never in a fight his life a peace maker, had a big lump on his chest next day only because he was wearing a white shirt and all they could see to take swing at.
    I think it had run out of linoleum.

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    Happy St Patrick’s day and no fighting. ☘️👍.

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    Smart meters as previously said, only save money if you pay attention to usage and cut down.
    Air source Heat Pumps are only a good idea for New well insulated Properties, otherwise they are a non-starter.
    Yes they are good in Scandinavian Countries, but they are way ahead of us.

    The Government and their hare brained Civil servants, never do joined up thinking.


    Having a Smart meter saves me a fortune I am on Intelligent Octopus and I get 6 hours at 10p per kWh a night.

    Also, they control the charging on my car and if they choose to charge my car outside of those 6 hours I get the 10p rate at that time as well.

    I neither have to pay attention nor cut down to save but obviously, the more I change my habits the more I can save.

    I have also been taking part in the National Grids Demand Flexibility service with thousands of other consumers this winter and I have saved nearly £45 by shifting my usage outside peak periods during events. This would not be possible without smart meters.


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