Even though the minimum rating of C has been scrapped by the UK government, it is still in the best interest of property owners, landlords and tenants to upgrade and improve the energy efficiency of their houses. A C rating is a good level to aim for, as a rating of A or B usually involves significant investment and is all but impossible for older buildings. There are several ways to improve the EPC rating of a property, including:
Upgrading the windows to double or triple glazing
The windows of a property are where up to 30% of heat can escape, and having double or triple glazing installed can be a good way of improving a home’s efficiency. This can be expensive though, as the cost of replacing all of the windows on a property can run into tens of thousands of pounds. You could have an energy efficiency survey done to find out if replacing windows will actually impact the EPC rating, or if your money is better spent elsewhere.
Add LED lighting
This is a quick and easy way of increasing the EPC rating of a house. LED lighting uses less watts to produce the same amount of light than a traditional bulb, and tends to last longer too. Using LED light bulbs won’t make a huge difference in the energy efficiency of a property, but is a relatively cheap upgrade that could give you a couple more of those all-important points on your EPC rating.
Add insulation to the walls and roof
Most homes do come with some level of insulation, but some materials are better than others for retaining heat. The walls and roof are where insulation is most needed, especially in the roof, as a quarter of a home’s heat can be lost through an uninsulated roof. Proper roof insulation will last for up to 40 years, and can save on energy bills too, so this can be a worthy investment. As long as the roof has no issues with damp or excess condensation, installing roof insulation is fairly simple to do and does not require any specialist training or equipment. Blanket insulation between the loft joists is the most common form, and it can be made of fibreglass or even natural sheep’s wool.
Install an energy-efficient boiler
A good way of improving efficiency is to look at the source of the heat, i.e. the boiler. Some older boilers are not efficient and in some cases could even be dangerous. It is a landlord’s responsibility to ensure that all boilers in rented properties are safe and well-maintained, and that any repairs are conducted quickly. Gas boilers are also a potential fire risk, so a gas safety certificate must be provided. Combi boilers which only heat water as it is needed, and condensing gas boilers are considered to be the most efficient kind available. In fact, government regulations specify that all new boilers installed in the UK should be condensing gas boilers, except in cases where this is not a viable option. New boilers can be expensive, but it’s in your best interest to make sure that all boilers in your properties are safe, compliant with government regulations, and efficient.
Install solar panels or other renewable energy sources
Solar panels provide homes with energy by capturing energy from the sun using photovoltaic cells. This energy is then converted into electricity that can be used in the home for heating, cooking, and powering appliances. This can be a big boost for your energy efficiency rating, but installing solar panels is a big investment, and not every house is suitable for such a project, due to the size and angle of the roof, and nearby structures blocking the sunlight. It’s worth looking into the viability of solar panels for your property before making any decision.