As energy costs increase and we, as a nation, become more aware of the importance of green living, homeowners are placing increasing emphasis on how energy-efficient their properties are. The Energy Performance Certificate system was introduced in 2007 as a way to help home buyers to determine how energy-efficient a property is, and the system has been incredibly well received by buyers.
According to a study conducted by the Energy Saving Trust, 53% of households would be willing to pay more (as much as £3,350 more) for a “greener” property, and 78 percent accept that if their home has a poor Energy Performance Certificate rating then buyers are likely to want to haggle down the asking price. So, it’s important to make your home as green as possible, but if you live in an older property how can you make it more energy efficient? Believe it or not, there are several practical improvements that you can make that will boost your property into the upper bands of the rating system.
How the System Works
The EPC system uses the same lettered ratings as the energy efficiency ratings for home appliances, grading properties from G (least efficient) to A (most efficient). Unless your home is a brand new build, you are unlikely to earn an A rating, but even older properties can get into the C or B bands with some small improvements.
Quick Ways to Improve Your Property
Insulation is the simplest way of improving the energy efficiency of your property. Make sure that you have loft insulation, and that it is at least 270mm thick. If you don’t have loft insulation, get it installed now – it will pay for itself very quickly. In addition to loft insulation, invest in cavity wall insulation. Again, this is a fairly simple procedure (although you will need to have a contractor pump the insulation into the wall for you). Together, cavity wall insulation and loft insulation should improve your EPC rating by a full band, if not more.
If your central heating is old, then upgrading it to a newer, more energy-efficient boiler will also improve your rating, and it will cut your energy bills significantly while you are still living in the property, too. Depending on where you live, you may be able to get financial assistance for insulation, but you will probably face some out-of-pocket expenses for fitting a new boiler. The government’s Green Deal loan (which is paid for out of the savings that you make on your energy bill) could help you to afford those improvements.
Getting the Best Ratings
Moving up from a C rating to a B rating is harder than moving from the poor bands up to a C, but it is possible, and it can be worth the investment too. Solar panels and air source heat pumps are two useful home improvements to look at. If you purchase solar panels you can enjoy savings on your energy bill, and also earn some money by selling excess solar energy back to the grid. If you cannot afford to pay for solar panels, there are a limited number of companies offering free panels in exchange for the feed-in tariff payments. If you opt for free panels, you still get to enjoy savings on your energy bill of around £135 per year.
As you can see, there are a lot of simple, low-cost ways to improve your home’s energy rating. If you’re planning on moving in the next couple of years it’s well worth investing in these options.