Ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference 2021 (COP26), that will bring countries together in discussing climate change and what can be done to address it, we thought we’d question what property owners can do to be more energy efficient and whether it really is of benefit?\n\nUnderstand your Energy Performance rating\n\nTo understand how energy efficient your property is, you can obtain a certificate (an EPC) which includes details about a property’s typical energy costs and usage and recommendation about how to reduce these. Properties are rated from A to G with G being the least energy efficient. To check if you already have an EPC for your property, or to arrange for one to be completed by a qualified assessor in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, you can visit here or in Scotland visit here\n\nRemember, EPCs, which last for ten years, are needed whenever a property is built, sold or let – with strict rules applying for rental properties.\n\nMake changes \n\nFrom simply turning down the heating a little to insulating the loft, floors or walls there are a number of changes that can be made to make your property more energy efficient and which might improve your EPC rating; some of which we’ve already included on our website\n\nIn addition, it might be worth considering minor changes around the house, like switching to a water saving showerhead, hanging thermal curtains to prevent draughts coming through doors or even installing smart meters or ‘in home displays’ to monitor how much energy you are using. It’s something the government is encouraging with details available on their website\n\nCheck out what support is available\n\nThere could be support available to help you be more energy efficient – with various opportunities available (dependent, in some cases, on your individual circumstances). These include home energy grants, renewable heat incentives, winter fuel payments and warm home discounts. Details are available on the government website and for Scotland, here\n\nThere could also be further support from government, for example, if you have solar panels - which capture the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity for your use. You could be paid for excess electricity that you don’t need under a scheme introduced in January 2020. There’s details available here. \n\nAnd, more recently, the government has also announced that, from April 2022, it will offer £5,000 to people in England and Wales to replace their gas boilers with heat pumps in an attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the UK. There should be more information coming from the government but, in the meantime, there’s some details available here.\n\nLook at the potential benefits\n\nAs well as being more environmentally friendly there can be financial benefits to making energy efficient changes to your property.\n\nIn terms of solar panels, for example, whilst it does cost money to install them, recent research (*) has suggested that when selling your property, it can result in a 21% premium on the asking price – which could equate to an average £86,000 – a figure that has increased from £71,000 in the last year alone.\n\nHeat pumps too have been highlighted in the same research (*) with property with non-standard heating, such as those with heat pumps, seeing (over the last two years) £15,500 more being paid for them.\n\nAnd there’s also encouraging news from property portal Rightmove (**). It has recently reported that when comparing a property that has improved their EPC rating from F to a C – to one that hasn’t – there could be a 16% increase in the selling price. For properties that have moved from an E to C EPC rating, there’s an average increase of 8% in the property value.\n\nIt will be interesting to see what the impact of COP26 might be in the future but, in the meantime, it’s clearly worth considering what energy efficiency changes you could make to your home and how, like participants in the Conference, you could help to tackle climate change.\n\nIf you need support in gaining an EPC – or wish to discuss the current value of your property – simply contact your local Your Move branch for support or book a free property valuation.\n\n (*) TwentyCi October 2021.\n\n (**) The Rightmove study analysed over 200,000 homes listed on its site that had sold twice, with an improved EPC rating the second time, to understand the impact of energy efficiency improvements on the final sold price of a home.