Improvements to help your home be more energy-efficient

Commissioned by Natwest, the Green Homes Attitude Tracker makes for interesting reading. The tracker seeks to understand how homebuyers, homeowners and renters feel about the importance of greener homes and their impact on the environment. 

One really prominent finding from the tracker is that a third of UK households who are likely to buy a property within the next ten years consider the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of a potential property was a very important factor. 

What is an EPC rating? 

An Energy Performance Certificate rating is a rating given to properties in the UK, which gives an indication as to their energy efficiency. Not only does this give an indication as to the environmental impact of the property, but it can also give potential buyers an insight into whether the bills will be more expensive and what level of investment might be needed in order for their potential new home to achieve better energy efficiency, and an improved EPC rating.

The benefits of an eco-friendly home

Eco-friendly homes are better for the environment, and better for wallets – especially given the energy price hikes we’re currently seeing, and will likely continue to see. 

These are homes that have been built or renovated with an environmentally low impact in mind, reducing the carbon footprint required in the process of building, as well as the energy needs of the building once it’s complete.

They benefit homebuyers because it shows that energy bills are likely to be less and that a big investment won’t be required to reduce the negative impact it has on the environment (remember the 33 per cent of people from the Natwest study who see this as an important factor in their property choice in the next ten years?)

It also benefits landlords, as from the outset eco-friendly homes are highly likely to meet the EPC requirements they’re subject to, without any need for further investment, and it benefits tenants because their energy bills will be lower than an uninsulated property with single-glazed windows and an ancient boiler. 

Common improvements to make your home more energy efficient

Loft insulation

Loft insulation is like a bobble hat for your home. It stops the heat that rises from escaping, meaning that you need to use less energy in order to keep warm. 

There are different types of loft insulation, but the most common is mineral wool. You can purchase this from DIY shops in rolls, so it can be easily laid in the loft and get to work keeping you warm straight away.

Cavity wall insulation

Cavity wall insulation fills the air space between the inner and outer brickwork of the property, keeping the heat within the walls and stopping the heat transfer to the outdoors. There are different materials that can be used and it needs to be carried out by professionals.

Solid wall insulation

This is generally relevant for older buildings that are less likely to have a cavity. You can insulate solid walls internally with insulation boards, or add a stud wall filled with fibrous insulation. This is also generally cheaper than adding external insulation. 

External insulation means adding insulation boards to the outside of a property, then covering it in render and mesh in order to stop the heat from escaping. Although a more expensive option, this is a less disruptive process than internal insulation which involves clearing rooms and quite a lot of palaver. 

A new boiler

Modern boilers are much more efficient than their predecessors were, even just a decade ago. When removing an old boiler, the regulation stipulates that it should be replaced by a new appliance that has an A rating for efficiency. According to the Centre for Sustainable Energy, in an average semi-detached property, you could save £300 per year by replacing an old G-rated boiler with an A-rated condenser boiler. That saving could increase the larger the property.

Energy efficiency options for low-income households

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is a government scheme to help tackle fuel poverty and reduce carbon emissions. 

The scheme helps low-income households install energy efficiency measures for free, using grants. Currently, applications for the ECO3 grant are open, but the deadline is the 31st March 2022 find out more about who qualifies and how to apply here.


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