Thank you to those of you who responded to last month’s survey about Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs). These documents show how energy-efficient a property is, and are a useful indicator of the utility costs you can expect to pay while living there.
All of our respondents agreed that they would be happy to pay more for a more energy-efficient property. This often makes sound financial sense, as energy-efficient properties can offer residents savings on their utility bills. This means that residents of these properties can have lower monthly outgoings than occupants of inefficient properties, even if their rent or mortgage is more expensive.
Our respondents may also be willing to pay more for an efficient property due to the fact that our impact on the environment has been strongly in the public eye recently. Documentaries such as Blue Planet have highlighted the effects we have had on the earth’s climate and wildlife, and encouraged movements such as the Extinction Rebellion’s protests and attempts to phase out plastic straws. Efficient properties use less energy for lighting and heating, and therefore have less of a negative effect on the environment.
The desire to reduce both utility bills and our impact on the environment is no doubt also behind the fact that all of our respondents stated that they would follow their EPC’s recommendations to improve their home’s efficiency.
The EPC report contains a number of recommendations which can help to improve the efficiency of your home. For example, you can use more energy-efficient appliances or light-bulbs for a cheap way of saving money on energy costs.
Larger changes, including cavity wall insulation and double glazing, can also be recommended. While these may be more expensive in the short term, they will can greatly improve your property’s efficiency and lower your energy costs, meaning they can actually end up saving you money.
The EPC report also shows an “indicative cost” of the improvements, and the expected savings over a three-year period, so that you can make an informed decision on whether to make the changes.
Despite the other responses indicating that energy efficiency is a priority for house-hunters, most of our respondents agreed that they would still consider a property even if it had a poor EPC score. This is a sensible approach, as it helps to keep your options open – if a property looks perfect for you apart from its EPC, it is still worth viewing that property! If you are buying the property, you can always make improvements to its efficiency later.
In addition, if a property offers good value for money, it may be worth considering even if it has a poor EPC rating, as the savings you make on your rent or mortgage could be greater than your additional energy costs.
If you’re interested in learning more about EPCs, you can read our Frequently Asked Questions guide here.