Polareco

Smart homes. Green homes.

Author: Polareco (Page 1 of 2)

If you own property, prepare for April 2018

New EPC regulation affects landlords.

In April 2018, the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) will come into effect, meaning that it will be illegal to renew or begin any lease for properties that have an EPC rating of F or G.

The ‘good news’ if you are the landlord of a property with an F or G rating, being at the bottom of the scale gives you many options to improve!

A site visit would be necessary to determine the most cost efficient solutions at your property. We have put together a list of some upgrades that are both non-invasive and highly affordable:

  • Do you have open fireplaces? That will impact your EPC negatively even if the fireplaces are not in use, as you lose hot air up the chimney. Fitting a damper to your chimney that enables the flue to be mechanically closed can earn your several points on an EPC, and be the difference between an F and E rating. Cost of a damper ranges from less than £100 to several hundred pounds
  • Is there a hot water cylinder in your property with no or little insulation? You can earn many points by adding a jacket to it, especially if it is a sizable cylinder (more than 130 litres), choose insulation of minimum 50mm. You can buy jackets online for less than £50, it is a quite simple DYI job.
  • Changing lightbulbs from regular ones (the 40W, 60W, 100W) to LED bulbs (10W or less) can give you another point or two, and LED lightbulbs are easily ordered online at places like IKEA and Amazon for around £5 per bulb.
  • Add a programmer or room thermostat, this can earn you another few points. A smart thermostat like Nest costs about £200 to buy and install.

Combined, these measures are just a few hundred pounds and will reduce your tenants’ energy bills as well as ensure you are compliant with national legislation.  

However, there are many more smart options to consider, free to contact us at Polareco for more information about your specific property: info@polareco.com

Why high energy bills affects property value

From April 1st 2018 rental property must have EPC of E or higher.

All private landlords should already be aware of the Government’s Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards, but which features should investors look for when purchasing new buy-to-let properties?

From 1st April 2018, it will be illegal for landlords in England and Wales to grant new tenancies (including renewals) on properties with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of F or G – the two lowest ratings.

As such, landlords must improve the energy efficiency of their properties to at least an E rating before they can let them to new tenants, or renew contracts with existing tenants.

Just Landlords, a specialist provider of Landlord Insurance, is dedicated to ensuring all landlords comply with their obligations and provide safe, secure homes to tenants. These are the features that it believes investors should be looking for in their new purchases:

A minimum EPC rating of E

As the new regulations require all private rental properties to have a minimum EPC rating of E, purchasing a property that will require a lot of work to bring it up to this level should be carefully considered. This is especially important for new investors, who will likely be signing a new tenancy once the initial rules are introduced next April.

All properties for sale must have an EPC, so landlords should make sure they check this and only buy homes with a minimum rating of E – anything higher is a bonus.

Insulation

Insulation is one of the key features in improving the energy efficiency of a property, which may also positively affect the home’s value. It is therefore one of the most important things to look for when viewing a property and considering a purchase.

Find out if the property has not only cavity wall insulation (if it has cavity walls!), but also loft insulation, as much of the home’s heat is lost through the roof.

Double-glazing

Double-glazing will  improve the energy efficiency of a home, so it’s worth considering properties that have this feature – or better, triple-glazing.

What’s more, not only will double-glazing help you stick to the new law, it will also cut your tenants’ bills, which they’ll thank you for.

Are you thinking of purchasing a potential rental property in the near future? Make sure to tick these energy efficiency features off your checklist!

Competition! Do your bit for the environment, win £200!

Find homeowners to test our energy service, win £200!

80% of us live in homes that are not very different from how they were 50 years ago (or longer)  in terms of energy use, despite the fact that there has been a revolution in energy services and technology since then. In addition, in a world where climate change is becoming a serious problem, saving energy has massive environmental benefits.

Polareco was created to make it easier for homeowners to know how to get a  more ‘energy modern’ home. We have designed a competition to get more homeowners to sign up to test our energy service for free, and we now need help from everyone out there who can help us find homeowners in London to sign up!

Winners can take home £200 for 1st place, £100 for 2nd place and £50 for third place.  Here is how to participate: 

  1. Watch our informative video detailing our services here
  2. Find as many home owners as you can that are interested in a free assessment service and sign them up. Feel free to share the video to explain how an assessment works.
  3. Submit an email to warm@polareco.com with a list of name, address, email address and phone number of each candidate you have signed up.
  4. Polareco will then contact each person on your list to book an assessment at a convenient time, ensuring each name is a genuine and the homeowner understand the service.
  5. A home assessment takes between 0,5 hours – 1.5hours, depending on the size of the property and how many questions the homeowner has.
  6. The assessment is completely free of charge.
  7. Deadline: March 10, 2017
  8. The submission with the most verified names and addresses wins!

 

Solutions for landlords with low EPC rating

Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards come into effect in April 2018.

While the Green Deal has come to an end, the obligations of landlords with low energy housing to let are not over.

As part of the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) coming into effect in April 2018, it will be illegal to let property with the two lowest EPC bands of F and G.

However, while this can seem harsh, it is also an opportunity to make upgrades to properties sorely in need of this, and getting from a G or an F to an E can cost less than £2000.

Contact us to know more about how you can upgrade your property in the most cost-efficient way at landlord@polareco.com

Additionally, knowing that about 4,5million families in the UK are fuel poor, upgrading properties means that people who today are coming home to freezing flats wondering whether they can afford to turn on the heating, will be able to be a little less cold, and a little less poor.

While the average energy expenditure in the UK is about £1210 per year, families living in properties F and G rated properties spend almost twice as much, on average £2140 in an F-rated home, and £2,670 in a G-rated home, According to the Association for the Conservation of Energy. 

Lowering a tenants energy bill can also make them more able to pay their rent on time.

 

 

MEES – Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards

You may have heard about the term MEES, or Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards, especially if you are renting out your flat, or your have other properties for let.

MEES simply means that if the properties you are letting have an Energy Performance Certificate of F or G, you will not be allowed to let them from April 2018 unless you do the necessary upgrades.

April 2018 is less than 15 months away, if you want to make sure you are in order before all the installers are booked out, you should start preparing immediately.

The good news is that it does not have to be costly to upgrade to an E, you may have affordable insulation options available for just a few hundred pounds, or you can invest in low-cost measures such as draft proofing or added glazing.

Get in touch if you want to know more, or to book one of our recommended installers.

Energy assessor Dawn King is making notes during a Polareco home assessment.

Polareco – in three simple steps

Why is it so cold at home?!

Winter is definitely here, the time of year when the tip of our nose is constantly cold, and our feet feel…well, they are not happy. Despite all the heating in near proximity being set to max, many of us still feel freezing at home.

One smart solution to end the misery is to book a Polareco home assessment and get things sorted sooner rather than later. But we’ll provide a little spoiler alert for now, your walls are likely to blame. The more external walls you have, meaning there is not another flat or building protecting your own place, the colder it gets.

heat-loss

Many homeowners want to invest in new windows or a new boiler, which is a great idea, however just check your walls first. If you have cavity walls, adding insulation is a fairly easy fix. If you have solid walls with no insulation at all, you can add internal wall insulation for £40-50 per square meter, and you will likely reduce your heat loss by more than 30%. Which means your bill will also be reduced by about 30%, at least in the winter, and you will save back your expenses fairly fast.

There are great solutions for internal wall insulation, and with new technology, 2-3 cm insulation means a world of difference, without reducing the total square meters of your home noticeably.

 

 

Did you ever forget…

..to turn down the heating before you left home? Or wish you could come home to a nice warm home after a long day at work?

Well, these kinds of problems can be easily solved these days with a smart
thermostat. Avoiding that you are heating an empty house can save you as much as £150 annually in energy bills, meaning that you savings on your energy bill can pay your thermostat within a couple of years.

 Google Nest actually learns your heating habits after a while, and will adjust the google-nesttemperature for you. You can install an app to go with it on your phone, allowing you to turn all heating off after you left the house. Nest currently has a campaign offering £30 off their products until November 28, giving it a total price of £219, installation included.

Cool features include: To help you save energy, Nest automatically turns itself down when nobody’s at home, and you can see a green leaf when you choose a temperature that saves energy.

hiveBritish Gas has also developed their own version of the smart thermostat, called the Hive. You can buy it online for £249, and control both your heating and hot water. The thermostat must be installed by a professional, this is included in the price.

Cool features include: Using the location of your phone, your app can remind you to turn off your heating after you left the house if you forgot, and suggest you turn it on when you are approaching home.

For those really chilly places, the termostat can automatically start heating at a minimum temperature to avoid your pipes and water freezing. Common problem in Norway where I am from!

Steve Howard at IKEA – why green living is smart living

In a 2013 TED event,  Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer at IKEA talks about how IKEA will be 100% renewable by 2020, or to put it in his own words:

‘A 100% target is easier to reach than an 90% target, because with the latter, everyone finds a reason to claim they are in the 10%’.

Watch Steve’s TED talk here.

TEDGlobal 2013 in Edinburgh, Scotland. June 12-15, 2013. Photo: James Duncan Davidson

TEDGlobal 2013 in Edinburgh, Scotland. June 12-15, 2013. Photo: James Duncan Davidson

Improving your EPC rating increases your property value

what-is-an-epcThe Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating was introduced in 2008, as a way to help people get a better understanding of how much energy they use, also in comparison to others.  It has a scale from A to G, where G is the absolute worst. In fact, from April 2018, it will be illegal to let property that has an EPC rating of F and G, the so-called Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES).

We did a little market research when we launched Polareco, a study of more than 500 homeowners in the UK. We asked how many knew what an EPC was. About three quarters of the British (74%) know what it is. However, what they may not know as well what the the rating of their own home is.

Indeed, we found some interesting results on this topic. When we asked people who were not planning any energy upgrades such as new windows, boiler, insulation and so on, the main reason why they did not plan this was NOT because it was too expensive, but because they were already so energy efficient!
epc

That is quite shocking when we know that only 13% of households in England and Wales have reached the two highest EPC bands of A and B. In fact, almost twice as many British households, 25%, have energy ratings in the 3 lowest bands, E, F and G, according to the latest governmental statistics.

Increasing the energy rating of a home increases it’s value. A study of more than 300,000 British homes found that increasing the EPC rating from D to B will on average increase the value of your property by 5%.

It’ s supposed to be the coldest winter in the UK in 5 years, so better get on with it.

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