Guest Blog: Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards to be Met by 2035: What Homeowners Need to Know?

Guest Blog: Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards to be Met by 2035: What Homeowners Need to Know?

Energy efficiency standards for homes are changing. As part of its ongoing efforts to achieve carbon neutrality, the government has announced ‘radical’ new energy efficiency standards for homes. While ambitious energy efficiency standards were established for new homes and offices at the start of 2021, ministers recently announced that all homes will be expected to meet new energy efficiency standards by 2035.

New legislative changes will require all properties to be at grade C or above on their Energy Performance certificates by the middle of the next decade. This will require many homeowners to make renovations to bring their properties up to scratch. However, landlords face an even more challenging timescale. Here, we’ll look at everything homeowners need to know to ensure that their homes and investment properties are compliant by 2035.

How can the government help landlords improve their Energy Performance Certificate?

If you’ve had to rent or sell a property in the last decade, you’ve almost certainly needed an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This is a document that provides an objective assessment of how much energy a property uses, and what can be done to improve its energy efficiency. It uses a simple grading system with A being the most efficient and G being the least.

The National Residential Landlords Association has called for greater government assistance in helping landlords to reach the new minimum energy efficiency standards in time for the 2035 deadline. A measure that will require landlords to spend an average of £4,700 per property. Given that the average net annual income for private landlords falls short of £4,500, it’s clear to see why this is a point of contention for landlords.

Why will you not be able to rent homes below level C?

At the time of writing, landlords are expected to keep their properties at an EPC rating of D or higher. However, by 2035 landlords will be expected to achieve a rating of C or higher.

The estimated cost of upgrading a property with an EPC grade of D to a C is around £6,472. And while these upgrades are expected to reduce energy bills as well as reduce the property’s carbon footprint, landlords and tenants can expect around £179 per year in energy savings. This means that it would take decades for landlords to achieve a return on this investment.

What’s more, the Green Homes Grant, which could be used to offset the cost of energy-efficient heating and insulation investments, is closed to new applicants as of March 2021. Nonetheless, there is still support available to landlords and homeowners who want to improve the energy efficiency of their properties.

If you own an investment property or are considering letting out your home in the future, we’ll take a look at what you need to do to achieve an EPC grade C and the support available to offset the upfront cost.

What should landlords do by 2035?

A recent poll by the buy-to-let arm of Nationwide revealed that 35% of landlords surveyed were not confident that they could bring their properties up to the required standard. As well as concern about the costs associated with upgrading their properties, many landlords were unsure just what they needed to do to achieve an EPC grade C.

In order to achieve this, a landlord’s priorities must be to:

  • Identify and deal with sources of energy inefficiency (i.e. heat loss)

  • Consider alternative heating methods to gas boilers’

  • Make upgrades to improve thermal efficiency within the property

Why are homeowners struggling to reach energy efficiency?

While it may be easy for owners of newer properties to achieve energy efficiency, older properties are prone to certain inefficiencies by virtue of the materials they are built with. These properties account for a significant proportion of rented properties. According to the English Housing Survey, a third of all privately rented properties in the UK were built before 1919. This makes them the most common age bracket. Furthermore, 4 out of 5 properties of this age have an EPC rating of D or lower.

What can you do to make your home energy-efficient?

Even if you are living in an older property, there are measures you can take to make your property more energy-efficient. If you’re not sure where to begin, you may want to look at your most recent EPC. This will give you an overview of your property’s current energy efficiency and what you can do to improve it.

However, if you have not had an EPC inspection recently, some recommendations include:

1. Install a smart meter

A smart meter won’t make your property more energy-efficient in and of itself. However, it’s a worthy addition to your property for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it ensures that energy bills are accurate as energy usage data is transmitted directly to the supplier with no need for manual meter readings. This eliminates wasteful spending on estimated bills. Secondly, it allows you to measure the impact of energy-saving measures you take around the property in real-time.

Thirdly, your energy supplier will install a smart meter for you absolutely free of charge. And as long as it’s a second-generation SMETS 2 smart meter, it will remain fully functional if you switch energy suppliers.

2. Replace your windows and improve your insulation

Heating costs account for 47% of the average household’s energy bill. So it goes without saying that tackling heat loss should be a high priority for landlords.

Upgrading roof insulation, installing cavity wall insulation and replacing your windows can make your property far more thermally efficient. Upgrading windows and doors is also beneficial. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that all double-glazed windows are equally energy-efficient. Windows can lose their thermal efficiency in time, requiring them to be re-sealed or upgraded.

3. Upgrade your boiler

As boilers get older they become more prone to inefficiencies. If your radiators aren’t getting as hot as they used to, or take a long time to heat up this may be a sign that your property’s boiler is on its last legs.

Upgrading your boiler to a newer, more efficient, model or a greener alternative to a gas boiler could drastically improve the rating on your EPC.

4. Install solar panels

As well as combating energy waste, private landlords may want to find ways to generate their own 100% renewable energy. PV solar panels currently generate energy for around 900,000 homes across the country. These can supplement the energy your property uses from the national grid, driving down both your property’s energy bills and carbon footprint.

What’s more, your energy supplier will buy back any unused energy generated via the Smart Export Guarantee.

What support is available to you?

Until recently, the Green Homes Grant was a source of financial relief for landlords and owner-occupiers. This provided vouchers to cover up to 50% of the cost of eco-friendly insulation and heating.

However, the Green Homes Grant is unavailable to new applicants as of March 2021. While this is a source of disappointment for many landlords, there are alternative schemes that can help to offset the cost of energy-efficient home improvements.

Renewable Heat Incentive

The Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) has been around since April 2014. Over time it can help to mitigate the cost of installing eco-friendly heating technologies like solar water heaters, biomass boilers or air/ground source heat pumps.

Under the scheme, quarterly payments are made for 7 years as long as you abide by the terms of the scheme. How much you receive depends on the amount of renewable heat your installation generates.

Boiler Upgrade Scheme

Finally, the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) will come into effect in the spring of 2022. This scheme is administered by the energy watchdog Ofgem and will offer grants to property owners to offset the cost of heating installations that don’t use fossil fuels.

This new scheme will replace the Renewable Heat Incentive, offering an upfront grant of £5,000 rather than quarterly payments.

Original article by Chloe Davis (chloe.davies@papernest.com)

HICH LTD has revolutionized the property survey market since day one! Our property survey service is listed as one of the best in the whole of the UK! Take a look at our Trustpilot page and see why everyone chooses us as their property survey provider.

Our vast experience in the local property survey market has made us the number one choice when it comes to surveyors. We offer a top-level service at affordable prices, the cost of our surveys is based on the number of rooms in your property, not their value, so our prices are always better than the competition.

At HICH LTD we are pleased to do our bit to make the world a better place, that’s why we continually partner with NGOs and other institutions to join forces in environmental, social and charitable causes. If you want to know more about our efforts or want to know how you can help, contact us at hichinfo@aol.co.uk.

Are you looking for a roof, structural, or bespoke survey? Request it here!

Follow us on our social networks to keep up to date with the most relevant property market news, tips for being a responsible homeowner, and much more!

Twitter: @HICHLTD

Facebook: HICH-LTD

Enquire Now

Use the form below to get in touch to book a survey or to ask a question. Alternatively, you can call us on 0345 257 0858 (local rate)










    “Very responsive to emails and were the quickest company to give me a quote. Provided a professional and very detailed but clear report following my survey.”

    David Wotherspoon (Facebook Review)