Wake up daily to our latest coverage of business done better, directly in your inbox.


Get your weekly dose of analysis on rising corporate activism.


The best of solutions journalism in the sustainability space, published monthly.

Select Newsletter

By signing up you agree to our privacy policy. You can opt out anytime.

U.K. Private Property Gets Big Energy-Efficiency Gains

By 3p Contributor

This graphic illustrates how average U.K. home value increases correspond with improved energy-efficiency ratings.

By Pierre Melion

Private-sector businesses around the world have to comply with operational government regulations -- with the U.K.’s property industry soon to be hit with an increase in EPC rating standards in privately-rented homes. The regulation takes effect from April 1, 2018, prospecting for an improvement in energy efficiency across the private property sector.

Mandatory EPC ratings were introduced in order to give potential buyers, tenants and homeowners an informed understanding of a property's energy efficiency. But how will the sector be affected by the mandatory changes in domestic EPC rating standards?

What is an EPC rating?

U.K. property owners are legally obliged to provide an EPC rating when presenting a property to potential buyers and tenants. This makes it within a property owner or landlord's interest to have a satisfactory rating to improve both sales and letting prospects.

EPC ratings reveal a summary of a property's overall energy efficiency, by segmenting differing ratings within an alphabetically arranged scale. EPCs consider a property's hardware, insulation and heating facilities, allowing for an accurate representation of a property's energy efficiency.

The new government initiative aims to improve the national standard of EPC ratings across the private-sector property industry. Therefore, short-term disruption may occur for both buyers and renters in the lead-up to the changes, which will require a minimum of an ‘E’ EPC rating from April 2018. The roll-out of improved private-property EPC standards will be a major gain for tenants whose houses will be less drafty as a result, saving them money on their bills.

The graphic below visualizes the necessary requirements for landlords to comply with the new regulations, along with positive suggestions as to how the scheme would benefit the industry.

The move toward providing more energy-efficient housing will serve as an attractive gain for people looking to purchase or rent a property. Not only will occupants benefit from reduced utility bills as a result of the scheme, but property owners will also see an improvement in sustaining property value. Therefore, the initiative looks to improve the industry from a property owner, tenant and buyer perspective.

Industry impact

Across the U.K., landlords and homeowners looking to let or sell property will have to work effectively to meet the new requirements.

The introduction of the minimum standard EPC ratings will benefit the sector in a long-term financial, social and environmental stance. Imposing regulations which prospect to improve all areas of the triple bottom line (TBL) model will improve the overall logistical sustainability of the private property sector.

The decision to introduce the minimum standard can be considered sustainable, due to the scheme positively addressing all three Ps of the TBL model: people, planet and profit. The short-term disruption which may occur as a result of the scheme's rollout will be counterbalanced by the positive outcomes and benefits the private property sector will be subject to.

How can property owners improve their domestic energy efficiency?

With the approaching introduction of the scheme, it’s important for U.K. homeowners to be informed of the ways in which EPC ratings can be improved. With reference to the infographic above, here are a few things that landlords can do to improve their EPC rating in time for the changes.

Insulation: Property insulation is one of the best things to invest in order to reduce heat loss and improve energy efficiency. In addition, various U.K. government grants cover a significant proportion of the costs, which means the insulation can often be installed with a small initial outlay.

Smart storage heaters: Exactly what it says on the tin; smart storage heaters store and then release heat at pre-set times and temperatures. Not only are they up to 27 percent cheaper to run than a standard storage heater, but they’re up to 47 percent cheaper to run than an electric convector heater, and often come with a boost option for unexpected heat demands.

LED bulbs: LED bulbs are slightly more expensive, but they use 90 percent less energy than an incandescent or halogen bulbs. They also last up to 25 times longer (drastically reducing replacement costs), are safer to work with and are more much environmentally-friendly as they contain no harmful substances like mercury (often found in CFL and halogen bulbs).

Will such schemes replicate across other industries?

With the ever increasing need for people to reduce their impact on the environment, it is more than likely other business sectors and industries will follow with similar legislations to lead a more sustainable practice. Foreseeing potential environmental efficiency demands within your own business sector will be a great way to reduce excess environmental offsets and pioneer a best practice ethic as a leader within your industry.

Environmental, social, and financial variables are all factors which concern the majority of modern day businesses. Optimizing these three areas of your businesses to their maximum potential will allow your business to operate as sustainably as possible. Re-shaping a business which has sustainability embedded within the foundations of its core operational goals and objectives will strongly aid the process of integrating and embracing future operational and environmentally concerning changes within a businesses macro and microenvironment.

Image credits: 1) Graphic produced by UK Gov 2) Infographic produced by Fairview Estates and Greenvision Energy, from the Greenvision Blog

Based in Nottingham, United Kingdom, Pierre is a digital marketing executive at Impression. He graduated from Nottingham Trent University MSc in Digital Marketing, where he gained his knowledge about businesses sustainability having graduated from the UK's most sustainably aware university. You can reach out via Twitter (@impressiontalk) and Instagram (pierremelion).

TriplePundit has published articles from over 1000 contributors. If you'd like to be a guest author, please get in touch!

Read more stories by 3p Contributor