Skip to content
Eco-Friendly Revolution: Transforming UK Properties into Greener Homes
By 2035, the government wants as many homes as possible to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) grade of C. Whilst any relevant legislation has still to make its way into law, at Wills and Smerdon we are regularly being asked for our advice on how to help homeowners and landlords get to grips with what this will entail.  According to 2023 data from the major property portal Rightmove, 60% of the homes for sale and 50% of the homes for rent have an EPC rating of D or lower.  If EPC changes keep going at the rate they are now, it will take 43 years for all of the homes for sale in Great Britain to reach an EPC rating of A-C, and it will take 31 years for all of the homes for rent to reach that rating.  

To encourage homeowners to make their homes greener, Rightmove research shows that sellers whose homes went from an EPC grade of F to a C could get an average price premium of almost £56,000 (15%) on top of the local house price growth. 

Research by data firm Outra says 4.5m rental properties across the UK currently have an EPC rating of D or below and Rightmove's report states that 61% of landlords will not invest in a rental property with an EPC rating below C, which is 47% up from last year's stats.  Government ministers had suggested that all new rentals should have an energy performance rating of at least a C by 2025 and that all other rentals should do the same by 2028. This date will now predicted to be set at least three years later, in 2028, and will apply to all rental properties, though, there has been no firm confirmation of this.

The average D rated property would need on average £12,746 spent to reach a C band, according to analysis by Savills, however, it is likely that the government will cap the maximum spend per property at £10,000, regardless of whether or not the C rating is achieved. 

Rightmove's Greener Homes Report:  The second edition of the Rightmove Greener Homes Report is an in-depth study that looks into the challenges and behaviours to creating more sustainable homes in the UK. 

Rightmove outlined five cost effective improvements homeowners can make to boost their home's energy efficiency:

  • Insulate hot water cylinder £23
  • Low energy lighting £38
  • Draught-proofing £100
  • Increase loft insulation £223
  • Upgrade heating controls £400
Let's take a look at these types of improvements in more detail:
1. Insulating your hot water cylinder is a relatively simple DIY task that can have a positive impact on your home's energy efficiency. It helps to reduce heat loss, saves energy, and contributes to a greener and more sustainable living environment.  Purchase a hot water cylinder jacket or insulation kit from a hardware store or online. Make sure it's the appropriate size for your cylinder.

2.  Swapping out older light bulbs for new energy-efficient ones is one of the easiest ways to make a difference to your home’s energy usage.  The up-front cost of LED bulbs is higher than standard incandescent alternatives, but they use around 90% less energy, so pay for themselves in no time.

3.  Every home has its own unique draughts to contend with, and, although ventilation is very important to control and prevent damp and condensation build up, an uncontrolled draught can waste heat and energy, and ultimately cost you more.  There are a range of simple draught-proofing jobs you can DIY, and most of them involve products you can get from a local hardware store.  Things like sealing around internal doors, fixing holes in plasterwork and buying a draught-excluder are all worthwhile.  You can find off the shelf products to draught proof keyholes, letterboxes and more, and find plenty of sealant strip options to up the draught defences of your windows and doors too.

4. Installing roof and loft insulation is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways of improving your home’s energy efficiency. Bungalows and bigger detached properties lose a significant amount of heat through the roof, but installing around 270mm of loft insulation will help you to see a big benefit.   The government says that if you effectively insulate your loft space you can cut your energy bill by around 20%. There are a few different insulation materials available, with different recommended depths for each – below are three of the main types and their recommended depths. 

* Glass wool insulation – 270mm (27cm)
* Rock wool insulation – 250mm (25cm)
* Cellulose insulation – 220mm (22cm)

The National Insulation Association has some great information about the materials and costs for loft insulation. 

5.  Properly functioning and modern heating controls allow you to have better control over when and how your heating system operates, ensuring that you only use energy when it's necessary. Here's how you can upgrade your heating controls:  Types of Heating Controls:
  • Room Thermostats: These control the temperature of individual rooms by turning the heating on and off as needed.
  • Programmable Thermostats: Allow you to set specific heating schedules for different times of the day. For example, you can have the heating turn on before you wake up and turn off when you're not at home.
  • Programmable Timers: These allow you to set when your heating and hot water turn on and off, which is particularly useful if you have different heating needs on different days.
  • Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs): TRVs let you control the temperature of individual radiators. You can set different temperatures for different rooms based on your preferences and usage.
  • Smart Thermostats: These are connected to the internet and can be controlled remotely through a smartphone app. They often have advanced features like learning your schedule and adjusting the heating accordingly.
Of course, there are more extreme measures to improve energy-efficiency, such as changing your boiler to a combination boiler; which does not store heated water but heats the water as it is required and is much more energy efficient than old style boilers.  Add roof, loft or even floor insulation or install solar panels:  An ever growing and popular trend, the installation of solar panels can be expensive, but despite the initial outlay it is one of the most effective ways of making your home more energy efficient.  The cost of installing solar panels will vary depending on where you live and the number you want to install, with set ups costing anywhere from £2,500 to £9,000.  You can also change your windows and doors to double or treble glazing.  

British Gas offer a "Home Health Check" where you will get expert insight into your own property's energy efficiency and this will give you an indication of how much work you will need to undertake.  CLICK HERE.

Propertymark 5-point plan

As members of the industry's regulatory body, Propertymark, we can report that their 5-point plan has been made to the Government and is as follows:

1. Propertymark thinks that policymakers should stop using a "one size fits all" approach and instead come up with energy-efficient plans that work for homes of different ages, sizes, and conditions. This way, funds and funding support can be based on a property's type instead of its tenure, and each property can be made as energy-efficient as possible. So, property doesn't leave the private rental sector, and buildings don't get too expensive to fix up.

2. Propertymark says that homeowners and tenants need to know how energy-efficient their homes need to be, how much it will cost, and when it needs to be done. At the moment, there is no law that sets a specific goal, and, instead, there are only suggestions from different reports. The UK and Devolved Governments need to come up with a long-term policy framework and set clear goals for EPC ratings so that people can take steps to save energy.

3. Propertymark says that the Government should provide cash incentives and help lower energy bills. These incentives include vouchers to cover the cost of retrofit evaluations, loans and grants to pay for energy efficiency improvements, letting energy performance improvements be offset against rental income, or letting improvement costs be offset against capital gains tax. These must be provided to encourage homeowners and landlords to act.

4. The industry body has said that solving the problem of how to convince landlords and homeowners of the benefits of retrofitting and making energy-efficient changes to the property is key to meeting decarbonisation goals. People say that landlords and people who live in their own homes have a big say in how well retrofitting works, which will have a big effect on how many people use energy efficiency improvements and retrofit schemes, even if the government pays for the cost of retrofitting.

5. Lastly, Propertymark says that information could be shared between building owners and would help keep the long-term goal of decarbonising the building in mind. The industry group says that the process wouldn't replace EPCs, but it would improve them by giving people a chance to record EPC info digitally and add to it over time. A Property Passport would also give specific information about the steps that need to be taken to improve the property and the steps that have already been taken. This information would be based on building fabric and operational data and would help building owners and tenants make decisions that will make buildings more energy efficient.

If you would like to discuss the energy efficiency of your home or let us know your thoughts on either the Rightmove Greener Homes Report or Propertymark's 5-point plan, please get in touch with me!

Sara Grey, Lettings Manager