How green is your property?

After Oxford Dictionaries named ‘climate emergency’ the phrase of the year in 2019, more and more people have been conscious about their own carbon footprint and how they can ensure their homes are energy efficient.

Since 2008, Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) have been required by law in England before a property can be marketed for sale or rent and in lettings, all rental properties must have a rating of E or higher for the tenancy to be legal.

Research from MoneySuperMarket found that improving a property’s EPC rating could boost the value by almost £25,000, meaning that landlords and sellers willing to make a few eco changes could benefit financially too.

And, even if you’re not planning to sell or rent a property any time soon, making your home greener could save money on energy bills.

5 quick fixes

If you’re just starting out on your energy efficiency journey and don’t have much spare cash to invest in major home improvements, there are some quick and inexpensive changes you can make in your property:

Replace lightbulbs – energy saving light bulbs will cost more to purchase than traditional incandescent bulbs but save you money in the long-term while using up to a fifth of the electricity. Start replacing in rooms where you use the most artificial light.

Turn the thermostat down – you can save emissions by simply turning your heating down a couple of degrees. The optimum temperature is 18°c. Also talk to your energy supplier about smart heating controls that help to manage the temperature when you’re away from home.

Reduce drafts – simply closing your curtains and internal doors will keep the heat inside. Draft excluders under doors and around windows not only look cosy, but could save around £25 per year.

Switch off – when not in use, turn off all lights and appliances at the wall. Some appliances drain power even when they are not in use. It’s a good habit to have and can reduce the risk of fire too.

Save water – reduce water waste by ensuring you have no leaks or dripping taps and that you don’t continuously run water when washing up or brushing your teeth. Use the eco setting on your washing machine and opt for more regular fast showers over long soaks in a deep bath.

4 longer-term energy saving considerations

By making a modest financial investment upfront to improve the energy efficiency of your home, you could save thousands of pounds in running costs as well as increase the value of the property:

Shop smarter – when old appliances need replacing, like washing machines and boilers, consider upgrading to the most energy efficient option within your budget.

Double glazing – 18% of heat loss occurs through windows and twice as fast through single glazing. If you’re in the minority who don’t have double glazing, this must be a priority. And if you’ve had it for a while, think about upgrading to the newer energy efficient option after 20 years.

Insulation – loft and cavity wall insulation can make a huge difference to the energy usage in your home. It can be costly but will give you a return within just a couple of years. Floor insulation is a little trickier but worth investigating.

Solar panels – remove reliance on the National Grid and look into installing solar panels. You’ll be generating your own energy and could be paid for any surplus sold back to the grid.

With some of the more expensive improvements, you may be eligible for an energy grant but even the most inexpensive investments and changes to the way you live could enhance the EPC rating of your property and potentially add value to your home.