What do you need to know about buying an energy-efficient home?
Moving home can be an incredibly stressful process. There are so many factors to consider, ranging from the type of neighbourhood and transport links, to average room sizes and whether there’s room for that walk-in wardrobe or games room you’ve dreamed of. One key factor not to overlook is energy efficiency. Whilst décor alterations can be made to suit your changing tastes and preferences, energy costs are one thing that’ll be with you for the long haul. Therefore, ensuring your new property is energy-proofed for the future is one thing you don’t want to neglect.
There are so many ways you can make your home more energy efficient, regardless of whether you’re moving into a small flat, an old farmhouse requiring some TLC or a brand new house – being in line with the most up-to-date energy regulations could save you a lot in the long run.
To help you become an energy-efficient warrior, we’ve handpicked some key things to check out below. Certainly, even if moving home is not on the horizon, perhaps these tips could help improve the energy efficiency of your current home.
1.Check the certificate
Right…picture the scene: You’ve got a list of properties you’re interested in, you’ve arranged viewings and you eventually find your ideal home. Now what? Arguably, one of the most important things you should do is check the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). When sold, every property is required to have an EPC; this contains information regarding a property’s energy usage and average energy costs, rating its energy efficiency on a scale of A-G (with A being the best). It also provides information on existing features such as its heating system, insulation and what can be done to improve the energy level band, and therefore efficiency of the property.
Also worth noting, if you’re planning to rent out your property, you’re legally required to meet the new MEES requirements, you can find out more on our ‘Bringing vibrant energy to your home’ blog.
2. Insulation and draft-proofing
Ensuring your property is insulated properly is another key thing to consider when moving home. Heat can escape from all angles: the roof, floor, walls and doors/windows. This makes it so important to check you’re heating your home in the most efficient way, and not throwing your money away.
The average home can lose almost a quarter of its heat through the roof. Most homes have loft insulation, but even so, the majority have less than the industry-recommended amount. Getting new insulation installed may prove costly in the short-term, but it’s an investment that will last for up to 40 years… so it’ll eventually pay for itself, over time.
Gaps in floorboards and skirting boards are likely to be costing you money without you even realising it, especially if the property is older. Whilst loose change you drop between those pesky gaps in the floorboards may be retrievable, the money you’re losing through lost energy isn’t. These gaps can be easily closed using tubes of sealant or decorator’s caulk which can be purchased at most DIY stores. An added bonus of doing this is that it may prevent creaky floorboards, making it easier to get away with making microwave pizza at 1am. Now, that’s something we can get on BOARD with!
Insulating under the floorboards is also something worth considering, and could save you up to £40 per year in energy savings. It might not be necessary to insulate under the flooring upstairs, especially if the room is above a heated space, such as a living room. However, it’s definitely something to consider if the room is above an unheated one, such as the garage.
It‘s no secret that walls are a major culprit when it comes to losing heat from your home, with around one third of a property’s heat escaping through them if uninsulated.
Typically, houses built from the 1990s onwards have wall insulation to keep that cosy warmth in, but if your property is older, it may not have any. The good news is that most walls can be insulated through some means. It’s worth checking with the agent what type of walls the property has; solid walls (typical in older properties) are more expensive to insulate than cavity walls, but regardless of this, it will be a short-term cost for a long-term energy saving. Less money spent on heating = more money for the fun things in life!
Windows and doors are sneaky offenders when it comes to losing heat from your home. There are simple fixes and ones which are more of an investment; both will help save you money in the long-run. Getting your windows double-glazed can significantly reduce your energy bills, as well as preventing condensation and noise pollution. Whilst not cheap, the £4000+ to double glaze your home should be seen as an investment, as it will result in savings in the long run. Let’s be honest, it’s a win-win situation if you can save money AND dim the noise of the number 11 bus whizzing past, or that loud dog two doors down.
We get it; you’re a good boy…
A more inexpensive, simple means of saving energy and money in your property is to seal and block cracks and openings surrounding windows and doors. Whilst temperatures normally change with the seasons, the UK doesn’t have a tropical climate as much as we would love it to, so we need to be a bit more energy considerate!
Gaps cause heat to escape, meaning your home will feel colder which may entice you to turn the heating up, which can result in even more heat loss! Insulating tape can go a long way to reducing your electricity bills, so keep the heat in your house and the cash in your wallet by ensuring all gaps are sealed.
Lighting makes up around 15% of a property’s electricity bills, and so ensuring the lightbulbs in your new home are energy efficient is a key, simple step towards saving you both energy and money. There are two main types of energy efficient light bulbs: Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) and Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). Both of these are pretty reasonably priced and if you replace your traditional light bulb with an LED of the same brightness, you could saveup to £6 per year. Simple checks like this when moving into a property can help ensure your home is as energy efficient as possible. Now, there’s a bright idea!
Research shows that heating your home amounts to over 50% of your annual energy bills… Therefore, the current condition of the boiler is something to pay attention to when you’re moving into a new home. As a rule of thumb, boilers should be serviced regularly, and replaced every 7-8 years. Whilst a new boiler is definitely NOT top of the list of things you want to spend your hard earned cash on, an efficient boiler will go a long way to saving you money annually.
5. Smart meter
Smart meters show you exactly how much gas and electricity you’re using and what you’re spending in real time, giving you clear sight of our usage via your In-Home Display unit. This means that you’ll only ever pay for the energy you use, say goodbye to estimated bills & hello to a range of benefits to help you make changes to your energy routine. For more information on Smart, and how you can book your installation, please visit: https://sparkenergy.co.uk/smart-meters .
Hopefully, these tips will help you on your way to ensuring your new home is as energy-efficient as possible. For more tips on saving energy in and around the home, check out our top energy saving tips here: https://sparkenergy.co.uk/tips.
Now, time to scroll through Pinterest and pick the perfect shade of Duck Egg blue for the downstairs bathroom…