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​Increasing the energy efficiency of old and listed buildings

​There are a number of ways you can improve the energy efficiency of an old or listed building.
 
Why should you care?
 
If you are a builder or developer working for an individual or company, the chances are your client - at some point during the project - will ask you about what energy efficiency measures you have included in your plans.  After all, this type of improvement has real benefits because it means lower energy bills and a warmer, healthier environment in which to live. So much so, that it could be the deciding factor in you winning or losing a contract.
 
You may be reading this as a landlord thinking, 'how does this apply to me?' The fact of the matter is, if you can advertise a property as having undergone energy efficiency measures, you are much more likely to be able to let it out.
 
In addition, the relationship you have with your tenants will improve, as they will be happier and less likely to renege on their rent if they are paying less to heat a property.
 
Also, by April 2016, tenants will have the right to request consent for energy efficiency measures to be undertaken.  
 
What's more, by April 2018 regulations for privately rented homes in England and Wales state that all eligible properties must be improved to a minimum standard of energy efficiency before they are let out to tenants.
 
Improvements that make a difference
 
Fitting draught excluders to a property's letterbox and all the outside doors can make a real difference to the energy efficiency of a home.
 
An equally simple measure like getting heavier curtains or shutters can also help to block out unwanted drafts.
 
You should check to see if the radiators in your property are not blocked by furniture and fill gaps in wooden panelling. Likewise, broken panes of glass should be replaced.
 
Don't forget to insulate
 
Insulation is vital to increasing energy efficiency and the loft access hatch should be the first port of call when it comes to adding additional protection to your property portfolio.
 
All lights should be changed to LED and you should also consider increasing the insulation in the loft, as this can help cut down on heating bills considerably.
 
In a recent interview with the Guardian, Annette Lamley, from the Centre for Sustainable Energy, said: "You could install programmable thermostats, consider raising the roof slightly to add insulation [and] make sure that all heating and hot water pipework is also well insulated."
 
Ms Lamley went on to explain that about 25 per cent of a building's heat is lost through the roof, 35 per cent through the walls, 25 per cent from windows and drafts and 15 per cent through the floor.
 
She warned that because the cost of insulating the roof is lower than adding solid wall insulation, it may make sense to look up first.
 
Meanwhile, historic homes adviser Robert Lloyd-Sweet said it makes sense to change a boiler from a timer to a programmable thermostat. That way, there is more control, and heating that doesn't need to be on can be switched off.


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