With the future of construction and design now focused on being more sustainable and zero-carbon conscious due to the climate crisis, it is not only architects, surveyors and project managers that are having to rethink the way that certain things are done but also homeowners, landlords and tenants alike.
That is why we will go into more detail on how to create a more thermally efficient home and why it is so important to do so.
First things first, what is an EPC rating?
An EPC rating is a review of a property’s energy efficiency which is primarily used by potential buyers or tenants to quickly see how much their energy bills would cost in their new house or flat before they decide to settle on it.
Your house’s EPC rating will depend on the amount of energy that you use and the level of carbon dioxide emissions in your home that are given in tonnes per year.
Once it has been issued to that property, the EPC will be valid for 10 years. However, if your EPC is older than this, you’ll need to get a new one issued before you can sell or rent your property.
EPCs are also a great way for homeowners to not only improve the efficiency of their property but also the running costs and the overall comfort levels of their home.
How to gain a better EPC for your home
Now, there are a number of things that anyone can do to gain a better EPC rating for their property. By simply following a few of the examples listed below you will be able to do just that.
- Internal or external wall and loft insulation: Loft insulation is easy to install, relatively inexpensive and can make a huge difference to your bills throughout the year. External wall insulation is very cost effective and has good payback. Cavity wall insulation is also relatively straightforward.
- Floor insulation: Insulating your suspended ground floor if you live in a house, bungalow or ground floor flat is another great way to save money on your heating bills and improve your thermally efficient home. If you have solid floors this will be more complex but some efficiencies are achievable
- Low energy lighting: Upgrading the lighting in your home is a quick and easy win for every property’s EPC rating if you haven’t already done so. Opt for LEDs and cost-saving alternatives.
- Increase your hot water cylinder insulation: Insulating your hot water cylinder is another effective recommendation that is often found to improve EPC ratings and save you money on water heating as well as ensure you have nice hot showers!
- Heating controls: Installing and using heating controls effectively is another recommendation that requires a bit more investment, but could save you more money in the long term. Just turning down the temperature one degree or automating the cycling could save you hundreds.
- Replace your boiler with a new condensing boiler: If you’ve just moved into an older property then your boiler might need to be upgraded. The costs for replacing an old inefficient boiler will vary, but it will be well worth it in the long-run.
- Replace single-glazed windows with double-glazed windows: Another common recommendation to help improve your thermally efficient home is by making your windows more energy efficient as it will help to reduce your energy bills and make your home feel warmer. Out of the examples so far, double glazing is the most popular option even though the cost will vary depending on the materials and style for your property. In older properties with timber windows then comprehensive drought proofing is also very effective.
- Solar panels/PV: If your budget for a more thermally efficient home stretches to some bigger home renovation ideas then you may consider installing some solar panels or photovoltaics. These are actually the most common domestic renewable energy sources in the UK and once you’ve paid for the installation, your energy costs will be significantly reduced.
- Get a smart meter: Whilst getting a smart meter won’t directly improve your EPC rating, it will give you a much clearer picture of how much energy you are using. Therefore when you know how much energy you use, you can start to make the necessary actions to reduce it. Before smart meter, it was far more difficult for households to assess energy usage thus leading to people using more energy than what was needed.
If you are looking for a long-term solution that will seriously improve the EPC of your property, it is worth considering renewable energy sources such as solar panels (which we spoke about above) or air-source heat pumps. If you have a large garden then a ground source heat pump may be an option for you.
But why do we need to improve our properties’ EPC ratings?
With the ongoing energy and cost-of-living crisis, people across the country are understandably worried about their finances. The energy price cap rise has been one of the biggest factors and worries of recent years, and UK households are now facing the highest-ever energy bills to date.
Therefore, due to the rise of energy bills and a focus on greener living, a good EPC rating is now more important than ever.
Improving a property’s EPC rating is an essential step in not only reducing energy bills, but in combating climate change as well. The less energy we use in heating and powering our homes, the less emissions we put into the atmosphere so therefore having a more thermally efficient home is not only better for you but also the environment.
A higher energy performance rating shows buyers that they won’t have to pay huge amounts in order to make the property work. In turn this will increase and improve the value of your home as a better rating will make the property a more attractive prospect for potential buyers and therefore is a key part of the house-selling process.
A good EPC rating when you are buying a property gives you a guide as to how thermally efficient a property is. It is also a great way to indicate some of the energy inefficiencies that could become expensive if you don’t expect to pay to fix them or have them fixed.
It is key to know that apart from listed buildings, every house needs to have a valid EPC before it can be sold. The reason for this being that an EPC rating makes it easier to make a comparison between houses, particularly when potential buyers are forced to make a tough call between several homes and narrow it down.
EPC ratings are going to become an increasingly important part of the home buying and selling process. Even if you are not planning on selling your property any time soon, it makes sense to check your current EPC rating to see where you stand, and if you need to consider improvements that could save you time, money and hassle further down the line and also cut your carbon emissions.
How can we help you?
Here at Blakeney Leigh we are a team of experienced property and construction consultants who are keen to help people create a thermally efficient home that could help them to live their sustainable life and improve their own impact on the environment.
As a company we strongly believe in doing everything we can so that housing and heating stays affordable especially during these trying times with the cost of living increasing.
Our standards and regulations stand the test of time when it comes to energy efficiency and zero-carbon details and we are proud to say that our extensive knowledge as a team helps all of our clients when it comes to being environmentally conscious.
The innovation of our development team here at Blakeney Leigh has resulted in the implementation of many energy-saving measures for the properties we have worked on thus improving them so that they are a more thermally efficient home.
By reducing the running costs and the impact of carbon footprints we will be able to make these properties more readily available for the growing population looking for new housing or desperate to get on the property ladder.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog on ‘Tips on how to create a more thermally efficient home’. We hope this has answered any of your questions and given you some inspiration on how to make those bills seem less daunting. If you would like to know more on how to battle housing costs or how to improve your home, you can visit our website by clicking here. If you have any tips that we haven’t mentioned, we would love to hear from you as well.