Primarily, lower carbon emissions, fuel bills and a better quality of life are the key motivations behind the rising need to increase energy efficiency in the home. But did you know that boosting your home's energy efficiency rating could add almost £25k to its value? Furthermore, energy improvements in older homes may also be required to ensure the building complies with the latest Building Regulations or Private Rented Sector housing regulations.
How can I make an old house more energy efficient?
With a multitude of options to increase your home’s energy efficiency, we’ve taken the time to explore some cost-effective ways to heighten energy efficiency and appreciation of one’s home.
Cavity wall or loft insulation
Around a third of all heat lost in inefficient homes escapes through the walls, and a quarter of heat is lost through the roof. Houses built from the 1990s onwards will have sufficient wall insulation, in line with building regulations. However, if your house is older it may not have any insulation at all.
When it comes to loft insulation, there are a range of options open to you - depending on the condition and era of the building. 'Cold loft' insulation insulates between the floor joists and is often the cheapest option. Whereas 'warm loft' insulation is divided between the floor space and the underside of the roof.
It's important to note that pre-1920 homes are more likely to have solid walls, rather than cavity walls.
EPC difference? On average, insulating a cavity can improve a buildings EPC rating by 5-10 points.
Upgrading from no loft insulation to 270mm can improve the rating by 10-15 points. Topping up existing loft insulation can increase the rating between 2-5 points.
Savings? Expect to save £155 per year with quality cavity wall insulation, and a further £125 per year with quality loft insulation.
Renewable energy, e.g. Solar panels & heat pumps
Renewable energy sources allow you to generate your own electricity. If you're interested in solar panels, your roof space will ideally face south, remain unshaded, at a pitch angle of around 30 to 40 degrees. Space is a crucial consideration too. For example, a roof area of 10m2 to 20m2 would be able to generate 20% - 45% of a typical household's electricity needs.
The two most common types of heat pump are air-source heat pumps (ASHP) and ground-source heat pumps (GSHP). Providing properties with essential hot water and central heating, heat pumps work by moving the heat present in one location to a different location - using a fraction of the amount of energy required for conventional heating systems.
It's important to note that renewable energy sources like these have the potential to hit stumbling blocks if the property is a listed building or in a conservation area. So, it's always wise to check with our local authority before going ahead.
EPC difference? Depending on the size of the system installed, a large 16 panel solar PV system could add 10 points to the energy rating.
Ground source heat pumps or ultra-efficient air source heat pumps average a several point improvement. However, the best way to increase energy efficiency is to combine renewable energy sources together. For example, the combination of a heat pump and solar panel system can increase an EPC rating by around 6 points.
Savings? This depends on location. For example, a 3.5Wp solar panel system located in the south of England can generate around 3,700 kilowatt hours of electricity per year; the same amount of electricity it takes to turn the London Eye 49 times!
Check out this handy Solar Energy Calculator from the Energy Saving Trust.
Heat pumps have the potential to deliver savings of up to £1,550 a year.
New Green Homes Grant scheme in England
COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on almost every industry, including the UK’s housing market. With the market in the early stages of recovery, we couldn't leave out the latest announcement from the government regarding the recently announced new Government scheme for energy efficiency. Chancellor Sunak's 'mini-budget' of 2020 revealed the new Green Homes Grant scheme. Launching in September 2020, the scheme points towards vouchers (worth up to £5,000) being issued to homeowners in England to make their homes more energy efficient. For most homeowners, these vouchers will be worth about two-thirds of the cost of the energy efficient improvements.
Focusing on improvements that could save you the most energy, other examples include:
Look out for more information on the new energy efficiency scheme in the coming months.
Improving energy efficiency - What is the cheapest way to insulate an old house?
Discover the best ways to increase an older home's energy efficiency by weighing-up your options with Compare Companies today. Or if you wish to speak to someone, don’t hesitate to give our knowledgeable Customer support centre a call on 0800 084 5076.