Which Eco-Savvy Techniques Boost Property Values?

With rising energy costs and increasing awareness of the environmental impact of property, home energy efficiency improvements are high on the list for agents and landlords alike. There are plenty of eco-savvy techniques that property owners can deploy to not only help lower their tenants' utility bills, but also dramatically improve the value of the property.

Take a look at the chart below, courtesy of Money Supermarket research data, to see the clear correlation between higher EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) ratings and an increase in property value.

Source: https://www.moneysupermarket.com/gas-and-electricity/value-of-efficiency/

A growing number of homebuyers now look for green credentials as an important requirement for their future home. These days, many buyers will check the EPC ratings of a property before making the decision to view it, discarding some properties on the basis of poor energy performance even though they might otherwise be perfectly suitable homes.

Eco-friendly features that add value to a home are increasingly on the radar, both for buyers and sellers, and it is clear that buyers are willing to pay a premium for a property if they can see how sustainability features can save them money over the long term.

What are the best green investments for a property?

Draught proofing

About our guest blogger:
Dakota Murphey has experience in property management with her portfolio of properties expanding in the South of England. Her passion for renovation and home improvement projects is shared through her writing to help educate and inspire others.

Draught proofing is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to save energy in a building. Unwanted gaps around doors, windows, floors, walls and pipework can lead to cold air coming in and warm air going out. You may even be able to feel a tangible cold breeze. The result of uncontrolled heat loss is a home that doesn’t feel cosy and can cost a fortune to heat. Draught-free homes, on the other hand, are comfortable at lower temperatures and save the homeowner money on energy bills.

Draught proofing costs will depend on the exact areas that need attention and the size of the job. A typical semi-detached property should cost in the region of £200 for professional draught proofing, according to Energy Saving Trust, and DIY options will of course be cheaper.

Cavity wall insulation

Wall insulation is one of the best individual contributors to EPC improvements. Good cavity wall insulation can reduce heat loss by up to 1/3, cutting energy bills by up to £255 a year, says EDF Energy.

Walls are insulated by injecting mineral wool, polystyrene beads or polyurethane foam into the cavity from outside by drilling holes through external walls. Expect to pay upward of £950 for professional cavity wall insulation. Free insulation grants are available through the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) government scheme for low income households.

For home extensions and new build projects, using thermal insulation building blocks in the construction is a good way to ensure maximum energy efficiency from the outset. Older buildings with solid walls instead of cavity walls – typically buildings constructed before the 1920s – can be insulated by way of fitting internal or external insulation to achieve the same effect.

Doors and windows

External doors and windows can be a major source of heat loss in the home. Single glazed doors and solid material doors have a high ‘U-value’, meaning they are comparatively thermally ineffective. Double glazing options and composite materials are designed to reduce heat transfer, and are a good energy efficiency upgrade option. Any door installed before 2002 should be reviewed. The smaller the U-value, the less heat is lost through the door.

The same goes for single glazed windows. Upgrading the property’s windows is an excellent investment to increase energy efficiency. Double glazed windows throughout an average three-bedroom house is likely to save around £110 in heating bills per year, and improve the property’s EPC rating. Triple glazed windows could save an additional 50% on top of double glazing figures!

Loft insulation

Around a third of heat loss occurs through uninsulated roof space, which makes effective loft insulation one of the most useful ways to improve energy efficiency in a property. Given that heat rises, simply lining the loft floor can make a big difference. Building Regulations guidance stipulates a minimum depth of 270mm, which equates to a thermal resistance R-value of 6.1, and up to 300mm thickness is recommended.

Good loft insulation helps reduce a property’s carbon footprint and combat climate change. The reduced heat loss means that the central heating system doesn’t have to run as long, reducing the amount of fossil fuels needed to keep the home warm. A detached house can expect to save around one tonne of carbon dioxide each year, according to this heating expert.

Boiler upgrade

Upgrading the central heating boiler to a more energy efficient option can have a significant effect on the property’s energy consumption. Old boilers can lose an inordinate amount of heat, while modern combi boilers are among the most energy efficient appliances around. On a detached house, the difference can be as much as £400 in lower energy bills. An A-rated boiler can also greatly improve the property’s EPC rating. A new combi boiler and installation should cost no more than about £3,000 but it’s a worthwhile home improvement that will contribute to a higher market value for the property.

In terms of environmental impact, heat pumps and biomass boilers offer a fossil fuel free heating option, but buying and installing this technology does come at a price.

What do homebuyers really think?

A recent eco-home survey report asked 2,000 potential homebuyers which eco-savvy property upgrades they valued most and which they valued least. The results make for interesting reading. Draught proofing, installing thermostats and smart metres came top as the most valued green home improvements. This is excellent news for sellers who are choosing to invest comparatively little on eco upgrades and are achieving healthy returns.

Source: https://www.money.co.uk/loans/eco-homes

Interestingly, ground source heat pumps, air source heat pumps and biomass boilers top the list of least valued eco-improvements. With many people yet to be convinced of the economic feasibility of the new technology the jury is still out on whether homeowners are likely to get their money back on the investment when selling their property.

Source: https://www.money.co.uk/loans/eco-homes

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By Dakota Murphey
18th January 2022

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