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Energy Efficiency Retro-fitting - What do landlords think?

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has launched an eight week long consultation in a bid to gather input on its new Residential Retrofit Standard for 2023.

RICS says this is a response to a demand for high quality, residential retrofit advice, spurred on by increasingly high energy prices and UK government net-zero targets.

It says recent housing market statistics from the rental and sales sectors show that energy efficient homes can be more desirable and can help to retain a property’s value. Other benefits to retrofitting a home include lower energy consumption and creating a more comfortable environment to live in.


A consumer survey carried out by RICs earlier this month in conjunction with YouGov, showed that 36 per cent of homeowners would not know how to go about making their homes more environmentally friendly. Similarly, 78 per cent of respondents also stated that they would find it helpful if their surveyor could offer retrofitting advice when purchasing a property. These figures highlight the need for trusted, professional advice that customers can rely on.

Antony Parkinson, RICS Senior Property Specialist, comments: “UK homes are not as energy efficient as they could or should be. This needs to change and we have to act now. Improving the energy efficiency needs to be incorporated into the ongoing maintenance of our homes. Efficient homes use less energy which will save money and help save the planet.

"We are developing the new RICS retrofit standard at pace so that RICS members can help customers improve the energy efficiency of their homes. We all have a role to play and by working together we can make a difference”.

An estimated 25m homes in the UK will require some form of energy improvement to meet likely increases in standards.

The consultation – at https://consultations.rics.org/retrofitstandard/ – runs until September 12.

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    Landlords probably know more than any other group about energy efficiency in houses. Unfortunately we have a metric that does not measure energy efficiency but cost & until the metric is an accurate reflection of efficiency & until the Govt actually comes up with a plan there is no point spending money retrofitting anything.


    Simply not true, Tricia. A £75 once every 10 years domestic EPC tells you TWO things. The main EPC Grade is a 'running cost' calculation mainly telling you if it will be expensive or incredibly expensive to fully heat the house/flat through the winter months. That's the correct measure for the vast majority of owners and occupiers because we care more about MONEY and not so much about CO2 pollution. BUT if you want a 'carbon' calculation as well just scroll down your EPC and there under the heading - Impact on the environment - is the building's CO2 pollution calculation. Often it's a different EPC Grade because, at the moment, burning gas for winter heating can be cheaper than using electricity. But from a CO2 pollution perspective gas heating is harmful to our atmosphere but the UK's electricity supply gets greener & greener by the month as we open more massive off-shore wind farms in the North Sea. Electricity is the FUTURE - have you noticed more and more electric cars on the road? For £75 you really do get TWO calculations and TWO separate EPC Grades. That's what you wanted, isn't it? EPCs have become increasingly accurate over the past 15 years, just as any new national system improves over time. They are now over 21 million domestic EPCs on the public database and they have already driven massive improvement in our nation's building stock. Or you can put your head in the sand and pretend that we don't have shocking fuel poverty and a climate that's falling apart.

    Peter Why Do I Bother

    Gibbo, you are at it again....

    Electric cars are more expensive to manufacture and are heavier on roads, the infrastructure is not there to support these and believe me when it comes to 2030 there will be a delay. Tyres is another being chewed up beyond what is normally expected, they are made of????

    Importing fossil fuels is only improving the economies of other countries, not dragging it out of our ground means it's not counted. We have a tremendous amount of natural resources as a country and should use them while pushing for cleaner alternatives.

    None of it is about carbon neutral it is about playing stupid political games which all UK taxpayers have to bear.


    Martin I do not trust your agenda here. I believe you are in the insulation business and have an ulterior motive.
    These EPC's are just a sound bite of energy efficiency. If a resident chooses not to put on the heating or wash in cold water how is that factored in.
    Yes new houses should be designed with best use of resources but for older houses there is a consideration to cost to efficiency that needs to be resolved.
    Lastly, you can put whatever insulation in the house you want or efficient boilers and fill your roof full of solar panels but if doors and windows are left open then it means nowt.
    Here's a thought, legislate for residents to have an epc rating also, easily managed by the energy supplier. In this way you would save carbon as all this new technology, which creates carbon when being made, could be saved.
    Please note I say resident and not tenant.


    I think Martin is involved with a company providing EPC certificates. Many commentators have made the point of there being a lack of confidence in the way EPC’s are carried out whether the criteria for these assessments will be changed in the future. Why would anyone go beyond the reasonable and obvious improvements when the goal posts may be moved? Martin, you’ve been asked before and not answered, are you confident that the way EPC certificates are assessed will not change in the future?


    Andy Marshall

    What a great idea to give everyone their own EPC based on their energy bills.

    Everyone could get a set amount of energy cheap and be charged a fortune for excess consumption, varying for young kids, older folk, invalids etc.

    That way everyone would have freedom of choice and the incentive to use less energy which would be much more effective than useless inaccurate subjective EPC'S.


    Peter S

    I read that an electric car only becomes greener than a petrol car after 77000 miles and a hybrid will never be greener.

    Tree huggers need to understand the whole life environmental costs of things like importing fuel, building peripheral housing estate rabbit hutches, running modern day Sinclair C5's, using cloud computing and online access to everything previously on a laptop and internal hard drive etc. etc.

    No point voting Green if you don't understand what Green REALLY means.


    My husband changed from an AMG Mercedes to a Kia EV6 just over a year ago and the savings are huge.
    It was incredibly tax efficient to buy it through our limited company. He has to pay a tiny bit of BIK tax. We have solar panels and the Octopus Go cheap nighttime electric tariff, so charging it costs around £60 a month. The AMG cost well over £600 a month for petrol.
    The Kia has a 7 year warranty so there shouldn't be any repair bills for years. The AMG was much older and had the repair bills you would expect for an older car.

    EVs aren't right for everyone but in the right circumstances are brilliant.


    I have heard it's very difficult to get the full 7 years warranty on Kia cars and I bet most Mercs outlast most Kias by enough to question the green credentials of electric cars on a whole life environmental cycle basis?


    I would have stuck with the Merc, everytime


    Friend of mine has a 12 year old swanky Merc. The new price was around £110k. The running costs are high, something like £2,000 per year + petrol. He says to get something nice would cost at least £14k, as he is 85 years old it's cheaper to pay the £2,000 a year and enjoy the car for as long as he's got left.

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    Having just read the RICS document, it's clearly a minefield even for appropriately trained persons. Looks like you could spend a lot of money and not achieve the desired effect or indeed cause other problems. Also there is no mention of educating occupants on the issue of condensation / black mould.

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    The problem is Martin that until the legislation for rental properties to have a minimum C rating is actually passed into law, I would be very reluctant to make any changes that involve major work. I have no confidence that the whole EPC system will not be changed. It’s not a case of putting one’s head in the sand but it would seem a bit pointless to rip out electric heating and install condenser boilers to achieve a C if the government may decide that they are more concerned about carbon dioxide emissions than running costs. I have been advised by EPC assessors not to do anything until the proposals are passed.

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    One of the main problems is EPC assessor's and insulation companies haven't got a clue about the construction of older buildings. Especially if walls are rendered.
    I've had EPC assessors recommend cavity wall insulation for buildings that have solid walls and insulation companies claim they can't do cavity wall insulation when they assume there isn't a cavity. Often part of a house is too old to have cavities while the newer kitchen and bathroom addition most certainly has (as we found out last week when drilling a hole for a new cooker hood).

    When so called professionals can't get the basics right it makes it hard to select the most appropriate measures.

    Tenants lack of understanding of heating controls and ventilation is a big problem. I include heating in the rent for half my houses so know exactly how much it costs to keep a house warm. Or more specifically how many kWhs of gas a year. I also have apps for some of the heating programmers that show exactly what the temperature is in a house and when the boiler is running. It was surprisingly how little a boiler needs to run to maintain a comfortable temperature.
    One of my tenants complains about being cold and not being able to afford to use the central heating for more than a few minutes morning and afternoon. When I looked at her bills she was paying about £100 a year less for gas than I pay to properly heat a bigger house of the same age. She was also paying about £400 a year more than them for electric. She uses a convector heater in the lounge during the evening. Her logic was that it was cheaper to use electric because the government were paying £400 of the bill. The other house use a tumble drier so the air in the house is reasonably dry and quicker to warm up. She dries washing on electric airers (even though she has a tumble drier and a washing line) and fills the house with damp air. They use trickle vents and extractor fans, she has her windows wide open all day which may be good for letting moist air escape but in winter really chills down the internal walls and ceilings leading to a lot of condensation. I guess I'm lucky she opens the windows.

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    I am doing precisely nothing until the new proposals are known and the legislation passed, and after that my likely next move would be to sell the lot 💰💰


    That is my strategy, too, Simon

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    Martin, £75. Is a lot for having your property down graded from a ‘C’ to a ‘D’ when the Digital Clown accessor from University with his laptop and degrees coming out of his ears, won’t count the Cavity Wall Insulation that was counted 10 years previously and done by Government Contractors under the Government Scheme is that not cast iron proof.
    There is no redress or any means for the Customer to rectify and I can’t have it done when it’s already done


    Are you sure you can't get another company to do it again ?

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    Jo Westlake
    Opening the windows is a double edge sword. Cold air runs down the wall chilling them. Warm saturated air will escape. You must not dry clothes in the property, since the moisture will condense out on cold spots. You either need a heat exchange system which exhausts air and heats the incoming air or forced ventilation in the bathroom and kitchen when moisture is being being generated. Unfortunately tenants see the fans as using up electricty and won't use them.


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