With energy prices on the rise, tenants are expected to be looking even more closely at the Energy Performance Certificates for rented properties, when they are moving home. The EPC can show them how energy efficient and environmentally friendly the property is, as well as providing a breakdown of the overall use of lighting, heating and hot water. A tenant who has a choice between properties that tick all their other boxes is more likely to choose the one which is more energy efficient than the others.
There are ways landlords can improve the energy efficiency of their properties without spending a lot of money – and, like everything else, there is an app for that. On the market, there are several high-tech options available. One would be to install a home hub, so that tenants can switch the heating and lighting on or off from their phone. So if your tenant is working late, the heating can be changed to come on later or it can be turned down. These hubs can save a considerable amount of money, as well as energy, over the year.
Your tenants can also save about £60 on their electricity bills, if you provide a Standby Buster, approved by the Energy Saving Trust, which is a remote-controlled socket allowing you to completely switch off appliances instead of leaving them on standby. This is perfect for those hard-to-reach sockets behind a cupboard or the TV unit. Your tenants can also see where they are using the most electricity, by using a home energy monitor. These gadgets can see which appliances are using the most energy and how much they cost. They can then change their habits to use these items more sparingly or they can make sure they are switched off when not in use. Charging stations are another way to cut the amount of electricity used. It is thought that as much as 8% of a property’s power is down to phantom power caused by electronics, such as phones or MP3 players, which are plugged in but not turned on. Some charging stations automatically turn off when these gadgets are fully charged, while others stop after a certain length of time.
If your property has radiators, you can get an automatic bleeder which is programmed to release the air which builds up in a radiator. It saves you having to regularly bleed the radiators and means they are also at prime efficiency. Radiators become less efficient depending on how much air has built up inside them – you are, therefore, using more energy for less heat, as they have to work harder.
When fitting these appliances, it is also worth looking around the home to make sure it is draught proof. Consumer site, uSwitch, reckons that about 40% of all heat lost in the home is because of draughts. This could be gaps in doors, windows, a cat flap or the letterbox. Draught excluders can be put around doors and windows, while replacing the letterbox with an eco flap will stop air coming in. The flap is designed to stay shut even on very windy days.