What is the minimum EPC rating for rental properties?
The new minimum energy efficiency standard have been introduced this April, meaning that rental properties must have a minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of ‘E’ ahead of all new and renewed tenancies.
While the new regulations do result in more hoops for you to jump through, they also provide an opportunity to improve your property’s energy-efficiency, which is an increasingly attractive option to prospective tenants.
Here are five ways you can improve your property’s EPC.
1. Upgrade your light bulbs
One easy way to improve energy efficiency is to replace old halogen or incandescent light bulbs with light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
LEDs have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their combination of efficiency and long-term savings on energy bills, and provide a quick and relatively inexpensive way to improve the EPC rating.
2. Consider replacing your boiler and installing smart heating controls
Heating systems are the cornerstone of a property’s EPC rating. Depending on the age of the existing boiler, switching to a newer, condensing model can significantly improve your rating.
Pairing this upgrade with smart heating technologies such as intelligent thermostats and connected radiator controls will also allow tenants to save on their heating bills and improve your rating.
3. Insulate the walls and roof
Loft insulation has long been heralded as the easiest way to improve a property’s energy efficiency, but it is essential to ensure that the insulation material is thick enough to have the optimum effect - the Energy Saving Trust recommends a depth of at least 270mm.
Wall insulation is also an incredibly effective way of improving heat retention. If your property was built in the last 100 years, it is likely to have cavity walls, which have a double external wall and a small gap between which can be filled with insulation.
4. Ensure windows are double glazed
There is no point investing in the latest heating and insulation technologies if you neglect the property’s windows.
While having double glazing doesn’t have as much of an impact on the EPC as wall or loft insulation, it reduces the amount of heat lost through the windows.
5. Consider investing in renewable energy
If you are looking for a long-term solution, it is worth considering renewable energy sources such as solar panels or ground-source heat pumps.
While these alterations carry more initial expenditure, they are often incentivised by government-backed funding schemes and bring with them significant improvements in both the EPC rating and on-going maintenance costs.