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How to Improve EPC Rating in a Central London Flat

By Maurice Shasha  //  Mon 20th February 2023
It can be challenging to raise the EPC rating of central London flats, because many exist in old buildings that are poorly retrofitted. However, if you improve your EPC, you’ll stand out from the competition, attract more tenants and future-proof your flat for years to come.
How to improve EPC rating

Additionally, a higher rating increases the value of your property, so there is every reason to improve it.

This article outlines the critical improvements you need to make to raise your EPC rating as high as possible.

What should my EPC rating be?

An EPC survey rates your property on a scale from A (best) to G (worst) in terms of its energy efficiency, and the EPC remains valid for 10 years. If you want to sell or rent a flat, it is essential to have this certificate by law when your property goes to market.

The higher the EPC rating, the better. Since the MEES regulations came into force, landlords cannot let or sell properties below an E rating. Doing so can lead to fines of up to £5,000. Crucially, there are plans to raise the EPC minimum grade to a C by 2025 The new rules will apply to new tenancies first followed by all tenancies from 2028. To prepare for the changes, landlords should begin to review and budget for any required work.

How to improve the energy rating of your London flat

There are many ways to improve the EPC rating of your flat.  The more expensive options are most likely to have the greatest impact on the EPC rating, but there are also cheap and quick easy wins too.

1. Install draught excluding measures

Draught prevention is an easy first step if your flat seems to lose heat easily. Even better, the solution is often cheap and unobtrusive. Older buildings can lose an enormous 15-20% of their heat due to draughts, so this is a strategic problem to fix. Wiper or compression seals (with a ‘brush’ texture) can be added to the bottom of doors. Meanwhile, secondary glazing can reduce the heat loss from old windows without replacing them. Finally, heat loss through floors can be improved with thick rugs or carpeting.

2. Use energy efficient light bulbs

Another easy solution is to install energy efficient lightbulbs, which often account for 11% of an annual electricity bill. Even more importantly, lighting is one of the key features measured during an EPC survey, so it is essential to improve it if you want to achieve a higher EPC rating for your flat.

You should look for LED based lightbulbs which save energy, rather than the older incandescent, halogen or CFL bulbs which are all less efficient and cost more to power.

3. Install better insulation

Installing insulation is an excellent way to improve the energy efficiency of your flat, with walls responsible for up to 30% of energy loss in the home. While installation can be expensive when applied to a whole house, it is far, far cheaper if you are installing it for a flat. Here are 4 types of insulation to consider:

Cavity wall insulation

This is the most common type of insulation for houses built after 1920, with a low average cost of £395 projected for a middle-floor flat.

Solid wall insulation

Many properties in London are built pre-1920, so they are likely to require solid wall insulation. However, the energy savings are even greater, so it is an excellent investment. If you own a flat occupying part of a building, then internal wall insulation is the least intrusive (and cheaper option). Costs are around £8500 for a 3 bedroom home, but likely to be much less for a single flat.

Roof insulation

Did you know that approximately 25% of heat is lost through the roof in an uninsulated home? If you plan to let a top floor flat, then roof insulation is an excellent way to improve your EPC rating. Equally, it is possible to do the installation yourself, which further reduces the cost to you.

Hot water cylinder insulation

Insulating your water tank is an extremely cheap way to reduce heat loss through the tank and piping. An insulating jacket costs £16 on average but usually saves over £70 on energy costs per year, and the best part is you can install it yourself. For a little extra, you can insulate your water pipes with material available at most DIY stores.

4. Install an efficient boiler 

The importance of this step cannot be overstated. An efficient boiler can raise your EPC rating by up to 40 points, which means improving this single feature can bring your property above the passing grade of 39 (to achieve an E grade). If you're looking for a simple solution, then boiler replacement can solve your problems in one go. If you’re looking for a new boiler, choose a ‘condensing’ type. Most boilers post 2005 fall into this category, but this may not be the case if you are letting an older property in central London.

A new boiler is likely to cost between £4,000-£5,000, but the replacement is well worth it for the improvement it will make to the energy efficiency of your flat and your EPC rating.

5. Switch to double or triple glazed windows

It is estimated that 10% of energy is lost through old windows. If you can switch to double or triple glazed windows, then do. However, as many properties in central London are older and have period sash windows that you might want to retain, landlords often look for other solutions. If you want to keep old windows, an overlay of secondary glazing is an excellent solution to stop heat escaping without replacing the windows. Even better, it can often be removed and installed easily. That way, you can retain the classical charm of hardwood or sash windows without the unfortunate heat loss that comes with them.

Is there any financial help to improve my EPC rating?

You may be able to get a loan through the government’s Green Deal scheme to help you pay for energy-saving improvements to your home. However, you will have to pay the money back.

Achieving a higher EPC rating is likely to become more important as people become more eco-conscious and the government tightens regulations over the next few years. If you want to find out how  much your property is worth, why not book a rental valuation or sales valuation with us today? 

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