Managing the energy efficiency of multiple properties

Improving a property portfolio’s energy efficiency might sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. We look at ways to make the process as simple and cost-effective as possible.

Managing the energy efficiency of multiple properties

With energy bills remaining high, and proposed legislation suggesting that privately rented properties will need to be upgraded to a minimum EPC rating of C by 2025 (2028 for existing tenancies), making your property energy efficient could have more of an impact than ever.

If you own several properties - perhaps you have a second home, an Airbnb or a long-term let (or a mix!) - the impact will be far greater.

The upfront cost of making efficiency improvements to multiple properties will, of course, be higher than improving just one property. But so too will the savings. Plus, you might be eligible for the various financial support schemes that exist. And while ‘project-managing’ installations across multiple properties will also be more demanding, tools like Snugg can help with that.

The benefits of improving the energy efficiency of multiple properties

If the benefits of improving one property’s energy efficiency weren’t compelling enough, the potential benefits of improving several properties should convince even the most esteemed landlord over.

Lower energy bills: Our research shows that an annual saving of £1,672 could be made, depending on the property. Multiply that by the number of properties in your portfolio, and the savings could reach a five-figure sum.

Increased property values: Our research also shows that improving a property’s energy efficiency could increase its value by nearly £17,000. Apply that across your portfolio, and significant gains could be made.

More attractive to future buyers: Buyers have become more sensitive to a property’s energy efficiency rating due to the high price of energy. By making your properties more efficient, you may find yourself attracting more viewings and better offers.

More attractive to renters: The success of a rental property often comes down to finding good, long-term tenants. And what better way to attract those ideal tenants than being able to provide a comfortable rental with low energy bills?

Bigger emission reductions: If you’re concerned about the environment, improving the energy efficiency of your property portfolio might be one of the most impactful things you can do to reduce your emissions. Our research shows that improving the efficiency of a single property can save up to 4.6 tonnes of Co2 per year. So you may be able to save dozens of tonnes of emissions from polluting the air by upgrading your properties.

Meet legal requirements: Although not yet law, proposed legislation suggests that privately rented properties will need to be upgraded to a minimum EPC rating of C by 2025 for new tenancies (2028 for existing tenancies). By increasing the efficiency of all your properties ahead of time, you won’t be left rushing to meet the legal requirements should they be announced.

How can multiple properties be made more energy efficient?

A recent survey by the National Residential Landlords Association found that 38% of rented homes fall below the government's proposed new minimum EPC rating of C.1

The good news is there are many ways, both big and small, for owners of multiple properties to improve their energy efficiency.

EPC assessments: A registered domestic energy assessor can conduct an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) assessment to establish a property’s current and potential efficiency. This will help identify the areas that are most suitable for improvement, leading to an improved EPC rating. If you’re a landlord and the assessment shows that the EPC rating is C or better, there may not be an urgent need to improve it further. You can use Snugg to find out your current EPC rating.

Monitoring: Smart meters and thermostatic radiator valves allow closer monitoring of energy use and can help you and/or your tenants see the impact of your lifestyle habits in real-time, which can lead to more considered energy use.

Installation discounts: Using the same installer to upgrade multiple properties may open up a discount, further benefiting your pocket. You can ask installers whether they’d be willing to offer a discount when you request a quote using Snugg.

Simple fixes: Quick and inexpensive fixes like installing smart thermostats, switching to LED lighting, and draught-proofing around windows and doors can reduce energy loss. Sykes Cottages, the holiday rental B-Corp with a focus on eco-friendly living, suggests providing energy-saving tips to tenants to help further reduce energy usage.

Heating systems: Upgrading old, inefficient heating systems can make a big impact on a home’s energy efficiency. New A-rated gas boilers, biomass boilers or heat pumps can drastically improve energy performance since heating accounts for over 60% of energy use in UK homes.2

Insulation: Properly insulating walls, roofs and floors will help lock in heat and reduce the energy needed to heat a home. Cavity wall insulation and loft insulation is relatively cheap, while solid wall insulation is more expensive but can lead to greater efficiency gains.

Windows and doors: Replacing single-glazed or poorly insulated windows and doors with modern double or triple glazing can provide better thermal efficiency. Newer, A-rated models have the best insulating properties but are the most expensive option. But simply attaching draught-proofing strips around the edges of windows and doors can have a noticeable impact too.

Renewables: Solar panels, solar water heating, heat pumps and other renewable energy systems can reduce a property’s carbon emissions and reliance on fossil fuels. They require a larger upfront investment, but tenants will appreciate the large savings that can result. Speak with a trusted expert using Snugg.

Ventilation: Proper ventilation will help a property drive out dampness and moisture while still retaining heat. Installing extractor fans, ventilation grills and ducts can ensure good air quality.

What support’s available for owners of multiple properties?

There are several different schemes available across the UK that can help eligible homeowners upgrade the energy efficiency of their properties.

  • The Boiler Upgrade Scheme provides landlords with up to £5,000 off the purchase and installation costs of an air-source heat pump or biomass boiler, or £6,000 off ground-source heat pumps.
  • The Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive is another important support scheme. It provides quarterly tax-free payments over 7 years to offset the costs of installing eligible renewable heating systems like solar water heaters, certain heat pumps, and biomass boilers.

See our home energy efficiency grants guide for the full list.

Some schemes, like the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, can be used on multiple properties. But it’s best to check before applying to make sure.

Some exemptions are available for landlords having difficulty meeting the proposed EPC requirements. For example, listed buildings and historical properties could be exempt, as it can be difficult to make efficiency improvements without damaging the building’s character.

Based on current minimum standards, landlords must make the first £3,500 of improvements. If the cost to bring the property above the C rating threshold exceeds this, exemptions can be applied for via the PRS Exemptions Register.

Future schemes are also in the works. For example, proposals for ‘renovation passports’ could streamline the process of making efficiency improvements. Scroll down to sign up to our newsletter and hear about future developments.

How can landlords streamline the process of making multiple properties more efficient?

With the right tools and know-how, improving a property’s energy efficiency doesn’t have to be complex or as expensive as you might think.

At Snugg, we help people with multiple properties:

  • manage everything in one place
  • understand the energy efficiency rating of all their properties
  • see which installation types are the most cost-efficient
  • identify grants to help cover the upfront cost
  • source local certified installers who can complete the work to a high standard

To find out the type of energy efficiency measures are best for your property portfolio, and to discover which grants and payment options you’re eligible for, get your free energy improvement plan from Snugg.

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Get a free personalised plan to help reduce your energy bills and prepare for a greener future.

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