Making Your Property Energy Efficient

With energy prices rising, making your properties more energy efficient can be a significant benefit to your investment strategy. It can take some effort, however, so it is worth looking at the benefits of this refurbishment so you can make an informed decision.

And with so many other concerns for landlords to manage regarding their properties, why should energy efficiency be prioritised?

Benefits of Energy Efficiency

Homes produce a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Upgrading your properties to improve energy efficiency is good for the planet and will contribute to tackling climate change. With climate change becoming more prominent with the government, there is a good chance that energy efficiency standards for letting properties may become stricter. Getting ahead of this will save you time, money, and worry. Currently, by law, rental properties must have an EPC rating of E or better, but the minimum could be raised to C in the future.

Similarly, as tenants become more aware of climate change, energy efficiency will become more important to them. Combined with increasing prices, an energy efficient property is a very attractive prospect for many tenants. This generates demand for energy efficient properties, which you can take advantage of.

Energy efficiency naturally leads to lower energy bills. If you’re managing a property in which you are responsible for utilities and maintenance, this will save you money. On the other hand, if the tenant is responsible for the energy costs, lower bills means they are more easily able to pay the rent. Either way, the landlord benefits from increased efficiency.

New Builds

New builds are generally more energy efficient than older properties. Most new builds in the past 10 years are built to an EPC rating of A or B, designating them the most energy efficient. Compare this with older properties, in which maybe 40% have an EPC of C or above.

As a rule, terraces and flats are more energy-efficient than detached houses, due in part to having fewer walls facing the outside air. Detached houses, therefore, are often the least energy efficient.

Improving Your Property’s Energy Efficiency

There are a few steps required in the process to improve energy efficiency in your property, so it is best to think of it as a long-term project.

The first step is to find out the current EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating for the property. EPCs are valid for 10 years, so while you may have one already, it may not still be valid. Additionally, any other work carried out on the property, such as upgrading the kitchen or new windows, can change the EPC rating. Regardless, having an up-to-date EPC is valuable.

EPC ratings range from A (most efficient) to G ( least efficient).

There are many home energy assessors who are certified to provide an EPC for your property. Many carry out the basic EPC, while others can provide a more detailed home energy assessment.

The basic EPC will rate your property on insulation, heating and hot water systems, and lighting, and will recommend improvements to reach a higher EPC rating.

Best Ways to Improve Your Property’s Energy Efficiency

The best way to improve the EPC rating of your property will depend on the property itself. There is no one way to improve energy efficiency. We’ll list a few methods here for you, but of course each property is different. Your EPC audit will give some indications of where your property needs work.


Improving the insulation of your property can be a good way to increase your EPC rating.

Loft insulation should have a minimum thickness of 270mm, but you may find that older properties do not meet this standard.

Since 1990, new builds were required to have cavity wall insulation, but properties built before this date might not have it installed.

Floor insulation can be added either under suspended floors or over hard floors.


Pitched roofs are more energy efficient than flat roofs. If your property has a flat roof, there are ways to make it more efficient with insulation, but it may prove a better investment to replace the flat roof with a pitched roof.


One of the cheapest and easiest methods to improve energy efficiency is to have your property draughtproofed. Draught excluding strips are cheap and effective, and can be added to doors, letterboxes, and anywhere else required.

Double Glazing

Older properties may still have single glazing. Upgrading to double, or even triple glazing can make a large difference to the energy efficiency rating of the property. If double glazing is not possible due to the type of building, secondary glazing can be added instead.


The type of boiler in a property can make a large difference to its energy rating. Upgrading to the newest, most efficient gas combi boiler for heating and hot water can go a long way to improving the property EPC rating. Modern thermostats and heating controls to maximise efficiency can add to this.

A heat pump can be a good upgrade, but installation costs must be taken into account.


Pipe insulation for hot water pipes can save heating costs, as heat can be lost in the pipe system.


LED lighting is a simple and easy way to improve energy efficiency.


All appliances come with an energy rating, from A through to G. Energy efficient appliances be more expensive to purchase, as they are usually of higher quality, but over time will result in lower energy bills. This is a trade-off that you may need to weight up to ensure you will benefit in the long term.


Refurbishments cost money, and energy efficiency improvements are no different. It can be difficult to calculate the benefits of improving your energy ratings. They often require expensive initial outlays and the return is generated through having cheaper energy bills.

This means you need to think carefully about energy efficiency; which improvements are required to ensure your property meets modern (and upcoming) standards, and which improvements can you afford beyond that which will generate a return through cheaper bills or increased rental income.


Heat pumps and solar panels have a zero VAT rate currently. This may change, so check it still applies before you proceed.

You may also find that energy efficient materials cost as much as standard materials when looking to refurbish, so choosing the energy efficient option would be preferable in the long term.

Some repair and replacement work can be claimed as a tax deduction. Use this opportunity to replace damaged items with more energy efficient versions. If you need to repair single glazing, replace it with double glazing, or damaged boiler can be replaced with a more modern version. This can then be regarded as tax deductible repairs and not refurbishments.

If you are unsure, there are plenty of professionals happy to help identify which improvements are tax deductible and which may not be.

Investing in property, similar to any other form of investment, involves inherent risks. Our website, services, or products do not constitute financial, tax, or legal advice, and should not be relied upon as such. Before making any investment decision based on the content provided on our website, products or services, we strongly advise seeking independent specialist advice from appropriate professional advisors.
Your capital is at risk. The value of your investment can go down as well as up. Historic performance and forecasts are not a reliable indicator of future performance.

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