Conservative think tank proposes radical new energy efficiency standards for sellers

by Housesimple on 9th September 2016

The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating may become even more important for homeowners. Conservative think tank Bright Blue is proposing that properties should be required to meet a minimum energy efficiency standard before they can be sold. 

Bright Blue's proposals

Along with a minimum EPC rating requirement, Bright Blue's proposed regulations would also make building professionals responsible for improving overall energy efficiency when carrying out property renovations. The think tank suggests new finance schemes should be set up – for example ‘Help to Improve’ loans and ISAs – to encourage homeowners to reduce their properties’ energy consumption.    

The benefits of energy efficiency

Although it's not yet a legal requirement, it's well worth investing a bit of money in improving your home's energy efficiency before you sell your house online. Certain measures can increase your asking price by up to 16%. Also, energy efficient properties are cheaper to run, and buyers will consider their long-term energy bills when choosing a property.

How to boost your EPC rating

You need an EPC before advertising any property for sale or rent. The certificate rates homes from G (least efficient) to A (most efficient). Approximately half of properties in the UK are band D, but boosting the rating to band B can add £16,000 on average to your home's value. The main things that EPC assessors (and buyers) look for are double glazing, condensing boilers and good insulation (cavity, roof and cylinder). Swapping your incandescent bulbs for energy efficient halogen or LED lighting can also lift your rating.

Echoes in the rental sector

If you're planning to rent, it's important to know that from April 2018 landlords will need to bring their properties to at least band E before renting to tenants. In the past, energy efficiency improvements could be financed by the Green Deal scheme, but this is now defunct. Therefore, landlords will soon be fully responsible for the costs, although there will be a cap of £5,000. The 2018 regulations are expected to affect 330,000 properties, most of them Victorian and Edwardian.

The drive towards energy efficient properties is an important part of Britain's climate change strategy. Previous efforts, like the Green Deal, weren't as successful as hoped. It'll be interesting to see whether these new proposals can make Britain's homes greener.