09 Jun 2021

Some low-cost energy efficiency improvements to a property could boost its EPC rating according to an analysis undertaken by Rightmove.

The portal has looked at over 15m homes across England and Wales, and has suggested five low-cost means of improving EPCs.

It says that there are around 1.7m homes currently EPC rated between D and G that it believes cannot be improved to reach a C rating.

The government’s current aspiration is to have as many homes as possible reach a C rating by 2035 in England and Wales, with an earlier target of 2030 for private rented homes.

Across England and Wales currently, 59 per cent of homes have a D, E, F or G rating and Rightmove believes there is the potential for this to be reduced to 11 per cent of homes if recommended improvements were made.

The study found that there are estimated to be a further 11m homes in England and Wales that do not yet have an Energy Performance Certificate rating, probably because they haven’t been sold or let out since the certificates were introduced.

The most common improvement that is recommended in EPCs is to install solar panels, although these will cost thousands of pounds. The second most common recommendation, mentioned in over five million EPCs, is to switch to use low energy lighting – this is one of the cheapest ways that can help improve energy efficiency, at a cost estimated by the portal to be just £38 on average. 

Other low cost recommendations include insulating the hot water cylinder (average cost £23), draught-proofing single glaze windows (£100), increasing lift insulation (£223) and upgrading heating controls (£400).

Rightmove’s Director of Property Data Tim Bannister says: “It’s encouraging to see that there are some energy efficiency improvements that can cost less than £100, so it’s definitely worth checking your EPC if your home has one to see if there are small changes you could make to try and improve your rating. 

“The bigger challenge is for those homes with much lower ratings that will cost a substantial amount of money to improve. There are a number of homeowners who don’t feel an urgent need to make changes now unless it makes a big difference to the cost of their household bills or if it’s going to make their home more attractive to a potential buyer if they’re planning to sell. 

“It’s early days with some lenders now starting to introduce green mortgages as incentives, but homeowners need to be better informed that how green your home is will become increasingly important as we aim to move towards a net zero society, and they need more help to understand why making improvements are so important for the long term.”

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