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Tips To Get A Better Energy Rating

A good energy rating on your property should appeal to more potential buyers and assist you reaching that all important asking price for your asset. On this page are some tips you could adopt to improve your score. During the survey, the energy assessor concentrates on assessing the following key areas of your home, so by adopting these tips can help improve the overall efficiency of your home and get a better energy rating when you come to sell.

 

Wall Insulation

Did you know that more heat in your home is lost through the walls than through the roof? This makes sense as walls make up a large surface area of your property and are prone to exposure from the natural elements such as wind. Around 35% of heat in a home is lost through external walls. Varying wall construction means some walls insulate better than others however, there are solutions available to better improve the wall insulation of your property.

 
Solid Wall Construction

Many UK properties, especially before 1920 have solid walls. There are 2 ways to better insulate solid walls.

External Solid Wall Insulation

This involves attaching standard size insulation boards to the wall and finishing with a reinforced render or cladding. The boards are between 40-90 mm thick and fixed to the wall with adhesive and mechanical fixings. Always use certified and approved materials and appoint expert contractors to carry out the work to achieve a good finish. External wall insulation is quite expensive (approximately £2000) but can save around £300 per year in reduced energy bills. External solid wall insulation is most cost-effective if undertaking major renovation work on a derelict property. Always notify your building control officer before undertaking this work.

Internal Solid Wall Insulation

Internal solid wall insulation is similar to the procedure for external wall insulation. Internal solid wall insulation is more cost effective due to the materials used. Internal solid wall insulation involves fixing standard size plasterboard backed with approximately 90mm insulation foam material to the internal walls separating the inside and the outside of your property. At around £45 per m2 it can save up to £300 per year in saved heating bills. Internal solid wall insulation can be carried out when re-decorating a room and can be gradually installed overtime to aid financial pressure. Internal wall insulation can also be carried out by a competent DIY enthusiast.

Cavity Wall Insulation

Properties with cavity walls (an air gap between the wall) can have this cavity infilled with insulating foam. Cavity wall construction was introduced largely in the 1920ís but it wasnít until around the 1970ís - 80ís that partial cavity wall insulation was introduced in building construction and later enforced by the building regulations. Cavity wall insulation involves drilling holes at select intervals into the external wall and pumping insulation foam into the cavity. A specialist contractor should be appointed to carry out this work and to provide necessary advice as not all properties are suitable to infilled cavity wall insulation. At a cost of around £600, cavity wall insulation by this method could save you around £150 per year in energy costs. Infact, if every household had cavity wall insulation, the UK would save over £962 million in energy every year!

  Loft Insulation

Approximately 25% of heat is lost through the roof of a property. To overcome this, a loft or other type of roof space should contain a standard 270mm thickness of insulation. Mineral fibre is the most common material however, there are other alternatives available which are also better to work with. Loft insulation is not expensive at around £400 and can save you around £200 a year in heating costs. Increasing loft insulation can be carried out by a competent DIY enthusiast however, seek professional advice first as increased loft insulation could lead to condensation build up on roof rafters if not adequately ventilated or the overheating of electrical installations within the ceiling which could lead to fire.

  Heating Systems and Controls

Boilers are our most expensive energy appliance to run in terms of fuel costs and therefore need to be efficient in their heat output. Condensation boilers are the most efficient boilers available with an efficiency rating of approximately 95%. Condensation boilers contain a second heat exchanger, which recovers heat from the flue gases from the primary system and uses it for space heating. Older boilers do not do this and this heat is lost to the outside. Condensation boilers get their name because they produce condensate, which needs to be connected to the sewer system so seek advice and plan the location of your boiler correctly.

A good efficient boiler is no good with out adequate controls throughout the property to measure space heating and tell the boiler when to shut off. A property should have the following controls as a minimum:

 
At least one room thermostat (more in larger properties) to measure the room temperature and shut the boiler down when this temperature is reached. A room thermostat should be set at 21įC and placed in a room that has little fluctuation in room temperature i.e. hallways or dining rooms but not kitchens or the living room containing secondary heating.
Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRV): These radiator attachments measure heat output and close the valve to stop flow to the radiator when the room has reached its optimum temperature. Numbers on the valve correspond to various temperatures depending on manufacturers instructions. TRVís should be installed on all radiators except the radiator(s) in the same room as the room thermostat. The boiler should also have a bypass fitted. Seek advice from the boiler manufacturer before installing TRVís.
Programmer: As a minimum, a programmer should be installed to tell the boiler when to switch on and off over a 24 hour period. There are many other types of programmers and sensing devices to control the boiler however, as a basic requirement a programmer should be fitted which independently controls the flow to the central heating system and hot water cylinder, if you have one.
  Hot Water Cylinder

If you have a hot water cylinder, ensure it is suitably insulated. Many cylinders have factory supplied insulating foam however, some have a hot water cylinder jacket. If your hot water cylinder only has a jacket make sure the jacket thickness is the nominal 160mm thickness. Also ensure that a thermostat is securely attached to the outside of the cylinder to control the boiler to switch off when the optimal temperature of 60įC has been reached. Consult a qualified electrician to carry out any electrical work on your central heating system.

  Further Measures

Solar Energy

The sun is a natural source of heat and electricity for you home. Modern technology allows us to efficiently convert solar radiation into electrical energy and heat through the use of photovoltaic cells and solar hot water panels. These solar panels can be placed on the roof of your property without compromising the aesthetics of your property. Solar hot water panels can heat all the hot water for your daily use while photovoltaic cells produce your electrical energy. If you conserve energy in your home well, there is great potential to sell any surplus energy back to the energy grid. Having such panels installed on your property will ultimately reduce your fuel costs and provide long term financial gains. Solar panels can also help increase the market potential of your property. Overall, solar energy helps reduce our impact on the environment and the consequences of climate change. It is recommended that solar panels be installed by a professional contractor. If appointing a qualified contractor, choose a local contractor as this reduces unnecessary carbon emissions and supports local businesses. For more information on solar energy please visit our useful links page.

 

  And Finally

Other energy saving factors that should now be within all domestic properties are:

 
100 % Double glazed windows
Low energy light bulbs in all fixed outlets. Alternative low energy LED bulbs are available to replace 50W Halogen down lights and only use about 10W of energy per bulb. They can be bought at any DIY store or electrical outlet for about £5 and last much, much longer than the standard 50W halogen bulb.
 

 

Last of all, to save even more money, grants may be available for some of the tips mentioned above so, consult you local council to find out if you qualify for an energy saving grant.
 

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