Households across the country are seeing their energy costs going up, so it is more important than ever that landlords do their bit to make their tenants lives easier when it comes to managing their energy use and bills, as well as increasing the energy efficiency of their properties.
Smart meters are useful in that they provide automatic billing and greater visibility of energy use in near real time, so tenants know in pounds and pence how much they are spending each day.
It is a bill payer’s right to have a smart meter, so we hope that landlords responsible for the energy bill will consider installing a smart meter or work with their tenants to get them installed in their rental properties.
Smart Energy GB and Propertychecklists have developed five tips on how landlords can support their tenants to be more energy efficient:
Job #1: Get a smart meter
A smart meter is the new generation of energy meter. Just like cars have more electronic kit such as sat navs, keyless entry and diagnostics to understand what’s wrong, a smart meter provides near-real time information via the in-home display on the user’s gas and electricity use, in both Kwh and in pounds and pence, so tenants and landlords better understand what drives their bills up.
This helps households understand how they can make changes to their energy use - and save money. Even better, just like technology has made it easier to diagnose what’s wrong with a car, smart meters will save everyone time and money by sending the readings to the energy supplier automatically.
Job #2: Check what eco features the property has already
Depending on the age of the boiler, newer ones will have an ‘eco mode’ which you can turn on that can save money as it stops water being preheated. The downside is it takes a little longer for hot water to come out of the tap, the upside is, it can save money.
Job #3: Use LED lighting
Whether you pay the utility bill or not, either fit LED lights yourself, for example, before you re-let the property or, if you have a tenant already in the property, advise them they could save around £40 a year by fitting LEDs. You could even consider gifting the tenant some bulbs to support them following the utility cost rises.
Job #4: Fit thermostats on radiators
If you haven’t already fitted them, thermostats on radiators can really help tenants only heat the areas required, or boost the areas they are living in most, keeping some heat on in rooms used a lot less. I have these and they are my main way to keep the different rooms I use at different times nice and warm, as well as save money on my bills.
Job #5: If renovating or upgrading a property, fit insulation
A great way to keep costs down for tenants is making sure roof spaces, walls and floors are insulated, basically ensuring less heating is required to keep a home warm. This is a pretty cost-effective way to help tenants (or yourself if you are the bill payer) as something like 25 per cent of heat loss is via the roof, and if installed by a professional, it should deliver savings for around 40 years.
* Iagan MacNeil is head of policy at Smart Energy GB *
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