Assessment Recommendations (Domestic)

Domestic EPC Recommendations

Find out about installing cavity wall insulation to your home to save you energy and money.

Install cavity wall insulation

Priority for Completion: High

This recommendation is made when an assessor finds cavity walls in a property of an age suggesting that they have not been fully insulated and they are unable to find evidence that they have been fitted with retro-fit insulation.

We have rated this improvement as one of high priority for completion.  Retro-fitting cavity wall insulation requires a specialist contractor but is generally low cost and pays back quickly.  It can have a major impact on reducing heat loss from your home.

What is cavity wall insulation?

Cavity walls have an air gap in the centre between the masonry layers.  This gap was originally introduced to prevent damp transferring through the wall but it was quickly discovered to also help insulate the wall.  Cavity wall insulation fits into this gap and acts to further prevent heat loss from your home.

The Energy Saving Trust has found that one third (33%) of the heat loss from an uninsulated house is lost through uninsulated cavity walls.  This means that the potential savings are high.

Other considerations

Whilst the majority of homes are suitable for retro-fit cavity wall insulation, there are some circumstances where it is not appropriate.  Unfortunately the current Energy Performance Certificate system does not normally allow this to be considered so your EPC may suggest cavity wall insulation even where it is not suitable.  Always choose a reputable installer who will be able to advise on the suitability of your property, the best type of insulation to use and any other work which may need to be completed first.

The installer you choose should be a member of one of the following organisations:

 

Check that the installer is signed up to a code of professional practice and that the installation is guaranteed for 25 years by CIGA, or through an independent insurance-backed guarantee.

Fan assisted storage heaters

Priority for Completion: Very Low

From the point of view of Domestic Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) electric heating should be a last resort.  This is due to it having a high running cost and therefore generating a poor rating.  Additionally, it is unlikely to be beneficial from an environmental point of view as alternative technologies have a much lower carbon footprint, even when renewable electricity is used.  Therefore, we would always advise clients considering using or upgrading electric heating to consider alternative technologies and fuel types.  This should include heat pumps and radiant heating technologies.

Where electric space heating is the only practicable solution, only high heat retention storage heaters from the Product Characteristics Database (PCBD) should be used.  Considering this, we have rated this recommendation as very low priority for completion.

To check the PCBD list of high heat retention storage heaters click here.

What are storage heaters?

There are a large number of electric heaters available on the market.  It can also be difficult to work out exactly which technology you are getting.  We have found advertising materials for some systems to be somewhat misleading adding to the confusion.

Storage heaters all have the same principle in common.  They allow the use of cheaper electricity available at specific times to heat your home rather than using more expensive peak electricity.

The concept is quite simple.  Cheaper electricity (usually available overnight on an Economy 7 tariff) is used to heat up a reservoir within the radiator.  In older storage heaters this was as simple as clay bricks but most modern heaters use specialist ceramics.  This heat is then released when it is needed to heat the room.  Sometimes storage heaters are combined with standard electric heaters to provide an additional "boost" of heat.

The operation of a storage heater can be improved by adding a fan to help distribute the heat from the reservoir when it is required.  This gave a second generation of storage heaters known as fan assisted storage heaters.

The current generation of high efficiency storage heaters are known as high heat retention storage heaters.  These combine a fan to distribute heat when it is required with high efficiency insulation.  In addition, these often use more advance and even smart controls to ensure that heat is only distributed when it is required and to minimise any electricity waste.

To be considered energy efficient for EPC purposes any high heat retention storage heater must undergo thorough testing.  Heaters that have been approved are included in the Product Characteristics Database (PCBD).  Without this approval the heater cannot be included as such in an EPC assessment and will usually be included as a standard electric heater.  This will have a significant detrimental impact on the rating which is usually also reflected in real world heating costs.  Therefore, we cannot emphasise enough how important it is to check that any storage heater you consider is included in the database before purchase or installation.  To check the PCBD list of high heat retention storage heaters click here.

Fitting these heaters

Fitting storage heaters requires professional assistance from a competent person.  They require connecting to your mains electricity supply and circuit loads must be properly calculated otherwise a fire can result.  Additionally, installation of storage heaters for the first time or in new positions often requires extension rewiring including the addition of new circuits.

Fan assisted storage heaters

Priority for Completion: Very Low

From the point of view of Domestic Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) electric heating should be a last resort.  This is due to it having a high running cost and therefore generating a poor rating.  Additionally, it is unlikely to be beneficial from an environmental point of view as alternative technologies have a much lower carbon footprint, even when renewable electricity is used.  Therefore, we would always advise clients considering using or upgrading electric heating to consider alternative technologies and fuel types.  This should include heat pumps and radiant heating technologies.

Where electric space heating is the only practicable solution, only high heat retention storage heaters from the Product Characteristics Database (PCBD) should be used.  Considering this, we have rated this recommendation as very low priority for completion.

To check the PCBD list of high heat retention storage heaters click here.

What are storage heaters?

There are a large number of electric heaters available on the market.  It can also be difficult to work out exactly which technology you are getting.  We have found advertising materials for some systems to be somewhat misleading adding to the confusion.

Storage heaters all have the same principle in common.  They allow the use of cheaper electricity available at specific times to heat your home rather than using more expensive peak electricity.

The concept is quite simple.  Cheaper electricity (usually available overnight on an Economy 7 tariff) is used to heat up a reservoir within the radiator.  In older storage heaters this was as simple as clay bricks but most modern heaters use specialist ceramics.  This heat is then released when it is needed to heat the room.  Sometimes storage heaters are combined with standard electric heaters to provide an additional "boost" of heat.

The operation of a storage heater can be improved by adding a fan to help distribute the heat from the reservoir when it is required.  This gave a second generation of storage heaters known as fan assisted storage heaters.

The current generation of high efficiency storage heaters are known as high heat retention storage heaters.  These combine a fan to distribute heat when it is required with high efficiency insulation.  In addition, these often use more advance and even smart controls to ensure that heat is only distributed when it is required and to minimise any electricity waste.

To be considered energy efficient for EPC purposes any high heat retention storage heater must undergo thorough testing.  Heaters that have been approved are included in the Product Characteristics Database (PCBD).  Without this approval the heater cannot be included as such in an EPC assessment and will usually be included as a standard electric heater.  This will have a significant detrimental impact on the rating which is usually also reflected in real world heating costs.  Therefore, we cannot emphasise enough how important it is to check that any storage heater you consider is included in the database before purchase or installation.  To check the PCBD list of high heat retention storage heaters click here.

Fitting these heaters

Fitting storage heaters requires professional assistance from a competent person.  They require connecting to your mains electricity supply and circuit loads must be properly calculated otherwise a fire can result.  Additionally, installation of storage heaters for the first time or in new positions often requires extension rewiring including the addition of new circuits.

Flat roof or sloping ceiling insulation

Priority for Completion: Medium

This recommendation is triggered when a flat or sloping roof is present and there is no evidence of it having been insulated.  The exact benefit will depend upon a wide range of factors including the heating system, the cost of the fuel and the occupancy of the home together with the room's size and shape.  Generally, insulating a flat or sloping roof can prevent a significant amount of heat loss from a property so the savings can be substantial.  However, installing the insulation usually requires significant investment and works.  There are also other factors to be considered so expert advice should be sought.  As such we have rated this as being a recommendation of medium priority for completion.

However, where appropriate, we would strongly recommend that insulation is installed as part of any major home refurbishment.

What is flat or sloping roof insulation?

Flat or sloping roof insulation can usually be applied to the internal or external surface of the current roof.  Once applied it will be covered over, usually with plasterboard and plaster internally or with a suitable waterproof membrane or covering material externally.

Obviously fitting internal insulation usually requires redecorating and may reduce the room height depending upon the type and quantity of insulation installed.  The impact of this reduction is most significant in small rooms but is not likely to be a major consideration in larger spaces.  It will also require the removal and refitting of anything fitted to the ceiling.

Installing flat or sloping roof insulation

Insulating flat or sloping roofs should not normally be attempted without obtaining professional expert advice.  Depending on the work undertaken it may be possible for someone with very good DIY skills to complete this task.

Other considerations

Depending upon the exact details of the work undertaken Building Control approval may be required.

Flat roof or sloping ceiling insulation

Priority for Completion: Medium

This recommendation is triggered when a flat or sloping roof is present and there is no evidence of it having been insulated.  The exact benefit will depend upon a wide range of factors including the heating system, the cost of the fuel and the occupancy of the home together with the room's size and shape.  Generally, insulating a flat or sloping roof can prevent a significant amount of heat loss from a property so the savings can be substantial.  However, installing the insulation usually requires significant investment and works.  There are also other factors to be considered so expert advice should be sought.  As such we have rated this as being a recommendation of medium priority for completion.

However, where appropriate, we would strongly recommend that insulation is installed as part of any major home refurbishment.

What is flat or sloping roof insulation?

Flat or sloping roof insulation can usually be applied to the internal or external surface of the current roof.  Once applied it will be covered over, usually with plasterboard and plaster internally or with a suitable waterproof membrane or covering material externally.

Obviously fitting internal insulation usually requires redecorating and may reduce the room height depending upon the type and quantity of insulation installed.  The impact of this reduction is most significant in small rooms but is not likely to be a major consideration in larger spaces.  It will also require the removal and refitting of anything fitted to the ceiling.

Installing flat or sloping roof insulation

Insulating flat or sloping roofs should not normally be attempted without obtaining professional expert advice.  Depending on the work undertaken it may be possible for someone with very good DIY skills to complete this task.

Other considerations

Depending upon the exact details of the work undertaken Building Control approval may be required.

Floor insulation (solid floor)

Priority for Completion: Very Low

This recommendation is triggered if the property has solid external floors and it is not expected that they have been insulated.  The exact benefit will depend upon a wide range of factors including the heating systems, the cost of the fuel used, the occupancy of the home and the size of the floor area.  Generally, the more the home is occupied and the larger the floor, the bigger the savings will be.  However, changes to your home's solid floors are very difficult to implement, often require substantial financial investment and are likely to need professional tradesmen.  This type of work is usually only worth undertaking on empty properties or when substantial alterations are being carried out.  As a result we have rated this as being very low priority.

What is solid floor insulation?

People are often surprised by the amount of heat that can be lost through a building's floors.  Modern homes have well insulated floors but older homes rarely do.

In the case of solid floors, insulation is usually fitted as a layer are the floor is laid.  Some form of solid insulation board is used, the thickness of which depends greatly of the floor thickness.

Fitting solid floor insulation

Fitting solid floor insulation usually involves major works.  The floor level generally needs to be maintained resulting in the need to break up and remove the current floor before replacing it with a new one.  This will involve obtaining Building Control approval and you never know exactly what you might find under the floor which could complicate the project.  We would only normally suggest actually implementing this recommendation if the floors concerned were being replaced for some other reason.

Floor insulation (solid floor)

Priority for Completion: Very Low

This recommendation is triggered if the property has solid external floors and it is not expected that they have been insulated.  The exact benefit will depend upon a wide range of factors including the heating systems, the cost of the fuel used, the occupancy of the home and the size of the floor area.  Generally, the more the home is occupied and the larger the floor, the bigger the savings will be.  However, changes to your home's solid floors are very difficult to implement, often require substantial financial investment and are likely to need professional tradesmen.  This type of work is usually only worth undertaking on empty properties or when substantial alterations are being carried out.  As a result we have rated this as being very low priority.

What is solid floor insulation?

People are often surprised by the amount of heat that can be lost through a building's floors.  Modern homes have well insulated floors but older homes rarely do.

In the case of solid floors, insulation is usually fitted as a layer are the floor is laid.  Some form of solid insulation board is used, the thickness of which depends greatly of the floor thickness.

Fitting solid floor insulation

Fitting solid floor insulation usually involves major works.  The floor level generally needs to be maintained resulting in the need to break up and remove the current floor before replacing it with a new one.  This will involve obtaining Building Control approval and you never know exactly what you might find under the floor which could complicate the project.  We would only normally suggest actually implementing this recommendation if the floors concerned were being replaced for some other reason.

Floor insulation (suspended floor)

Priority for Completion: Low

This recommendation is triggered if the property has suspended external floors and it is not expected that they have been insulated.  The exact benefit will depend upon a wide range of factors including the heating systems, the cost of the fuel used, the occupancy of the home and the size of the floor area.  Generally, the more the home is occupied and the larger the floor, the bigger the savings will be.  However, changes to your home's floors are difficult to implement, often require substantial financial investment and are likely to need professional tradesmen.  This type of work is usually only worth undertaking on empty properties or when substantial alterations are being carried out.  As a result we have rated this as being low priority.

What is suspended floor insulation?

Suspended floors have a space between them and the ground below.  This may be large like a first floor overhang or room over a garage, or small like a traditionally built ground floor with floor boards.  Heat from the home can easily escape through the floor to the outside world.

Suspended floor insulation is fitted under these floors to help trap heat and to keep the home warmer.

Fitting suspended floor insulation

Whilst the actual fitting of suspended floor insulation is not that complex, it does usually involve lifting the entire floor.

Where the underside of the floor can be accessed without lifting the floor, insulation can be fitted relatively easily.  The process has a lot in common with insulating a loft and can be a DIY task but the insulation should be protected from damage by birds, animals or weather.

However, in most cases the floor will need to be entirely lifted to enable the insulation to be fitted.  This is a major task and very difficult to complete if the home is occupied.

When fitting insulation of any form care should be taken to ensure that it is fitted properly.  Gaps, uneven or improper fitting can cause problems with damp and  condensation.   Whilst some insulation materials are naturally fire retardant, others can present a fire hazard and are designed for use behind suitable protective layers.

Floor insulation (suspended floor)

Priority for Completion: Low

This recommendation is triggered if the property has suspended external floors and it is not expected that they have been insulated.  The exact benefit will depend upon a wide range of factors including the heating systems, the cost of the fuel used, the occupancy of the home and the size of the floor area.  Generally, the more the home is occupied and the larger the floor, the bigger the savings will be.  However, changes to your home's floors are difficult to implement, often require substantial financial investment and are likely to need professional tradesmen.  This type of work is usually only worth undertaking on empty properties or when substantial alterations are being carried out.  As a result we have rated this as being low priority.

What is suspended floor insulation?

Suspended floors have a space between them and the ground below.  This may be large like a first floor overhang or room over a garage, or small like a traditionally built ground floor with floor boards.  Heat from the home can easily escape through the floor to the outside world.

Suspended floor insulation is fitted under these floors to help trap heat and to keep the home warmer.

Fitting suspended floor insulation

Whilst the actual fitting of suspended floor insulation is not that complex, it does usually involve lifting the entire floor.

Where the underside of the floor can be accessed without lifting the floor, insulation can be fitted relatively easily.  The process has a lot in common with insulating a loft and can be a DIY task but the insulation should be protected from damage by birds, animals or weather.

However, in most cases the floor will need to be entirely lifted to enable the insulation to be fitted.  This is a major task and very difficult to complete if the home is occupied.

When fitting insulation of any form care should be taken to ensure that it is fitted properly.  Gaps, uneven or improper fitting can cause problems with damp and  condensation.   Whilst some insulation materials are naturally fire retardant, others can present a fire hazard and are designed for use behind suitable protective layers.

Flue gas heat recovery

Priority for Completion: Low

This type of innovative technology will no doubt have a role to play in carbon neutral homes of the future.  However, at this stage it is often expensive to retrofit in relation to the savings made.  As a result we have rated this as being low priority and suggest it is only considered once other higher priority improvements have already been made.

If you are considering having a new boiler fitted then you should consider this technology as part of the system design.

What is flue gas heat recovery?

When your boiler burns fuel it creates heat and waste gases.  We need this heat to warm the water you use but some gets wasted with the exhaust gases.  Modern condensing boilers go some way to recover this heat making your boiler more efficient but some heat will always escape.

Flue gas heat recover helps to use more of this heat.  Less heat is wasted so your boiler becomes even more efficient and costs less to run.  The video below explains how the principles work.

NB: We do not endorse this particular product or manufacturer.
Fitting flue gas heat recovery

Fitting this specialist technology requires expertise.  It must only be undertaken by suitably qualified professionals registered with an appropriate scheme.

Flue gas heat recovery can be fitted as a separate unit on the boiler flue.  However, some modern boilers now incorporate the technology within a single unit.

Other considerations

Plumbing work to household water systems is subject to additional controls.  This is important to protect safe water supplies.  Additionally, ensuring boiler flues are properly sealed is necessary to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.  This work will to be subject to Building Control.

Flue gas heat recovery

Priority for Completion: Low

This type of innovative technology will no doubt have a role to play in carbon neutral homes of the future.  However, at this stage it is often expensive to retrofit in relation to the savings made.  As a result we have rated this as being low priority and suggest it is only considered once other higher priority improvements have already been made.

If you are considering having a new boiler fitted then you should consider this technology as part of the system design.

What is flue gas heat recovery?

When your boiler burns fuel it creates heat and waste gases.  We need this heat to warm the water you use but some gets wasted with the exhaust gases.  Modern condensing boilers go some way to recover this heat making your boiler more efficient but some heat will always escape.

Flue gas heat recover helps to use more of this heat.  Less heat is wasted so your boiler becomes even more efficient and costs less to run.  The video below explains how the principles work.

NB: We do not endorse this particular product or manufacturer.
Fitting flue gas heat recovery

Fitting this specialist technology requires expertise.  It must only be undertaken by suitably qualified professionals registered with an appropriate scheme.

Flue gas heat recovery can be fitted as a separate unit on the boiler flue.  However, some modern boilers now incorporate the technology within a single unit.

Other considerations

Plumbing work to household water systems is subject to additional controls.  This is important to protect safe water supplies.  Additionally, ensuring boiler flues are properly sealed is necessary to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.  This work will to be subject to Building Control.

Heat recovery system for mixer showers

Priority for Completion: Very Low

This recommendation is triggered if the property has a mixer shower and the technology is not already fitted.

This type of innovative technology will no doubt have a role to play in carbon neutral homes of the future.  However, at this stage it is often expensive to retrofit in relation to the savings made.  As a result we have rated this as being very low priority and suggest it is only considered once other higher priority improvements have already been made.

If you are considering having a new shower / bath / bathroom fitted then this is worth considering as part of the design process.

What is mixer shower heat recovery?

When you have a shower, the hot water used typically runs straight down the drain.  As it goes it takes the valuable heat with it, wasting the money you have invested in it.  Mixer shower heat recovery uses this waste heat to prewarm the water being supplied to the shower saving you energy.

At the moment this technology is only available for mixer showers not electric showers.  The video below explains how the principles work.

NB: We do not endorse this particular product or manufacturer.
Fitting mixer shower heat recovery

Fitting this specialist technology requires expertise.  It should only be undertaken by suitably qualified professionals registered with an appropriate scheme.

Other considerations

Plumbing work to household water systems is subject to additional controls.  This is important to protect safe water supplies.  The work is likely to be subject to Building Control.

Heat recovery system for mixer showers

Priority for Completion: Very Low

This recommendation is triggered if the property has a mixer shower and the technology is not already fitted.

This type of innovative technology will no doubt have a role to play in carbon neutral homes of the future.  However, at this stage it is often expensive to retrofit in relation to the savings made.  As a result we have rated this as being very low priority and suggest it is only considered once other higher priority improvements have already been made.

If you are considering having a new shower / bath / bathroom fitted then this is worth considering as part of the design process.

What is mixer shower heat recovery?

When you have a shower, the hot water used typically runs straight down the drain.  As it goes it takes the valuable heat with it, wasting the money you have invested in it.  Mixer shower heat recovery uses this waste heat to prewarm the water being supplied to the shower saving you energy.

At the moment this technology is only available for mixer showers not electric showers.  The video below explains how the principles work.

NB: We do not endorse this particular product or manufacturer.
Fitting mixer shower heat recovery

Fitting this specialist technology requires expertise.  It should only be undertaken by suitably qualified professionals registered with an appropriate scheme.

Other considerations

Plumbing work to household water systems is subject to additional controls.  This is important to protect safe water supplies.  The work is likely to be subject to Building Control.

Heating controls (programmer and TRVs)

Priority for Completion: High

This recommendation is triggered if the property has not got a boiler programmer and TRVs installed.  The exact benefit will depend upon a wide range of factors including the age and model of the boiler, the cost of the fuel used and the occupancy of the home.  Generally, it is always beneficial to have a programmer as part of your system and, when one is not present, it should be fitted.  However, changes to your home's heating system should be undertaken by a competent installer and may require some financial investment.  We have rated this as being high priority for completion.  This work may also have to be undertaken as part of other changes if required by the current Building Regulations.

What do these controls do?

A system programmer helps to control the temperature of your home making sure it is warm when you need it.  Additionally, most systems now also have programmer controls for the hot water so you do not waste energy when your home is unoccupied or hot water is not required.

Modern programmers often have smart capabilities allowing you to save even more energy.  As well as allowing you to change your setting from a computer or your phone, these systems can also include weather compensation to automatically adjust your heating system according to the weather.

Thermostatic Radiator Valves (better known as TRVs) help to control the temperature of different parts of your home.  They are adjusted to select the required temperature and will switch off the radiators they control when this temperature is reached.  Having TRVs allows you to select different temperatures in different rooms and avoid heating rooms you do not use.

There is a common misunderstanding that TRVs will slow down your home warming up.  This is simply not true.  Your home will only warm up as quickly as your heating system can produce the heat necessary.  These controls just shut your heating off once your home has reached the required temperature so it is more comfortable and you don't waste energy overheating areas of your home.

Fitting these controls

It is generally not difficult to install a programmer but, for safety, it will require a suitable professional.  This is due to it requiring electrical work to connect it to your boiler.  Many modern digital controls allow you to select different temperatures at different times of day to match your occupancy patterns.  Additionally, some have smart learning capabilities and / or internet connectivity to allow remote adjustment.

Building Regulations now require that alterations to heating systems  are subject to Building Control.  The easiest way to comply is to make sure all work is carried out by a suitably qualified professional who is registered with an appropriate industry scheme.  It can be very dangerous to attempt this work if you are not fully competent and, if you are unable to prove the work was completed properly, it could affect your ability to sell your home in future.

TRVs are also easy to install but do require some plumbing knowledge.   Getting it wrong can result in leaks and damage to your home.

Heating controls (programmer and TRVs)

Priority for Completion: High

This recommendation is triggered if the property has not got a boiler programmer and TRVs installed.  The exact benefit will depend upon a wide range of factors including the age and model of the boiler, the cost of the fuel used and the occupancy of the home.  Generally, it is always beneficial to have a programmer as part of your system and, when one is not present, it should be fitted.  However, changes to your home's heating system should be undertaken by a competent installer and may require some financial investment.  We have rated this as being high priority for completion.  This work may also have to be undertaken as part of other changes if required by the current Building Regulations.

What do these controls do?

A system programmer helps to control the temperature of your home making sure it is warm when you need it.  Additionally, most systems now also have programmer controls for the hot water so you do not waste energy when your home is unoccupied or hot water is not required.

Modern programmers often have smart capabilities allowing you to save even more energy.  As well as allowing you to change your setting from a computer or your phone, these systems can also include weather compensation to automatically adjust your heating system according to the weather.

Thermostatic Radiator Valves (better known as TRVs) help to control the temperature of different parts of your home.  They are adjusted to select the required temperature and will switch off the radiators they control when this temperature is reached.  Having TRVs allows you to select different temperatures in different rooms and avoid heating rooms you do not use.

There is a common misunderstanding that TRVs will slow down your home warming up.  This is simply not true.  Your home will only warm up as quickly as your heating system can produce the heat necessary.  These controls just shut your heating off once your home has reached the required temperature so it is more comfortable and you don't waste energy overheating areas of your home.

Fitting these controls

It is generally not difficult to install a programmer but, for safety, it will require a suitable professional.  This is due to it requiring electrical work to connect it to your boiler.  Many modern digital controls allow you to select different temperatures at different times of day to match your occupancy patterns.  Additionally, some have smart learning capabilities and / or internet connectivity to allow remote adjustment.

Building Regulations now require that alterations to heating systems  are subject to Building Control.  The easiest way to comply is to make sure all work is carried out by a suitably qualified professional who is registered with an appropriate industry scheme.  It can be very dangerous to attempt this work if you are not fully competent and, if you are unable to prove the work was completed properly, it could affect your ability to sell your home in future.

TRVs are also easy to install but do require some plumbing knowledge.   Getting it wrong can result in leaks and damage to your home.

Heating controls (room thermostat and TRVs)

Priority for Completion: Medium

This recommendation is triggered if the property has not got a room thermostat and TRVs installed.  The exact benefit will depend upon a wide range of factors including the age and model of the boiler, the cost of the fuel used and the occupancy of the home.  Generally, the more the home is occupied and the older the boiler, the bigger the savings will be.  However, changes to your home's heating system should be undertaken by a competent installer and may require some financial investment so we have rated this as being medium priority.  This work may also have to be undertaken as part of other changes if required by the current Building Regulations.

What do these controls do?

A room thermostat helps to control the temperature of your home.  You can easily select the temperature you would like your home to reach and the thermostat will automatically switch off the heating when this temperature is reached.

Thermostatic Radiator Valves (better known as TRVs) help to control the temperature of different parts of your home.  They are adjusted to select the required temperature and will switch off the radiators they control when this temperature is reached.  Having TRVs allows you to select different temperatures in different rooms and avoid heating rooms you do not use.

In both cases, there is a common misunderstanding that they will slow down your home warming up.  This is simply not true.  Your home will only warm up as quickly as your heating system can produce heat.  These controls just shut your heating off once your home has reached the required temperature so it is more comfortable and you don't waste energy overheating areas of your home.

Fitting these controls

It is generally not difficult to install a room thermostat but, for safety, it will require a suitable professional.  This is due to it requiring electrical work to connect it to your boiler.  Many modern digital controls allow you to select different temperatures at different times of day to match your occupancy patterns.  Additionally, some have smart learning capabilities and / or internet connectivity to allow remote adjustment.

Building Regulations now require that alterations to heating systems  are subject to Building Control.  The easiest way to comply is to make sure all work is carried out by a suitably qualified professional who is registered with an appropriate industry scheme.  It can be very dangerous to attempt this work if you are not fully competent and, if you are unable to prove the work was completed properly, it could affect your ability to sell your home in future.

TRVs are also easy to install but do require some plumbing knowledge.   Getting it wrong can result in leaks and damage to your home.

Heating controls (room thermostat and TRVs)

Priority for Completion: Medium

This recommendation is triggered if the property has not got a room thermostat and TRVs installed.  The exact benefit will depend upon a wide range of factors including the age and model of the boiler, the cost of the fuel used and the occupancy of the home.  Generally, the more the home is occupied and the older the boiler, the bigger the savings will be.  However, changes to your home's heating system should be undertaken by a competent installer and may require some financial investment so we have rated this as being medium priority.  This work may also have to be undertaken as part of other changes if required by the current Building Regulations.

What do these controls do?

A room thermostat helps to control the temperature of your home.  You can easily select the temperature you would like your home to reach and the thermostat will automatically switch off the heating when this temperature is reached.

Thermostatic Radiator Valves (better known as TRVs) help to control the temperature of different parts of your home.  They are adjusted to select the required temperature and will switch off the radiators they control when this temperature is reached.  Having TRVs allows you to select different temperatures in different rooms and avoid heating rooms you do not use.

In both cases, there is a common misunderstanding that they will slow down your home warming up.  This is simply not true.  Your home will only warm up as quickly as your heating system can produce heat.  These controls just shut your heating off once your home has reached the required temperature so it is more comfortable and you don't waste energy overheating areas of your home.

Fitting these controls

It is generally not difficult to install a room thermostat but, for safety, it will require a suitable professional.  This is due to it requiring electrical work to connect it to your boiler.  Many modern digital controls allow you to select different temperatures at different times of day to match your occupancy patterns.  Additionally, some have smart learning capabilities and / or internet connectivity to allow remote adjustment.

Building Regulations now require that alterations to heating systems  are subject to Building Control.  The easiest way to comply is to make sure all work is carried out by a suitably qualified professional who is registered with an appropriate industry scheme.  It can be very dangerous to attempt this work if you are not fully competent and, if you are unable to prove the work was completed properly, it could affect your ability to sell your home in future.

TRVs are also easy to install but do require some plumbing knowledge.   Getting it wrong can result in leaks and damage to your home.

Heating controls (room thermostat)

Priority for Completion: Medium

This recommendation is triggered if the property has not got a room thermostat installed.  The exact benefit will depend upon a wide range of factors including the age and model of the boiler, the cost of the fuel used and the occupancy of the home.  Generally, the more the home is occupied and the older the boiler, the bigger the savings will be.  However, changes to your home's heating system should be undertaken by a competent installer and may require some financial investment so we have rated this as being medium priority.  This work may also have to be undertaken as part of other changes if required by the current Building Regulations.

What do these controls do?

A room thermostat helps to control the temperature of your home.  You can easily select the temperature you would like your home to reach and the thermostat will automatically switch off the heating when this temperature is reached.  Many modern digital controls allow you to select different temperatures at different times of day to match your occupancy patterns.  Additionally, some have smart learning capabilities and / or internet connectivity to allow remote adjustment.

There is a common misunderstanding that having a room thermostat will slow down your home warming up.  This is simply not true.  Your home will only warm up as quickly as your heating system can produce heat.  A room thermostat just shuts your heating off once your home has reached the required temperature so it is more comfortable and you don't waste energy overheating areas of your home.

Fitting these controls

It is generally not difficult to install a room thermostat but, for safety, it will require a suitable professional.  This is due to it requiring electrical work to connect it to your boiler.

Building Regulations now require that alterations to heating systems  are subject to Building Control.  The easiest way to comply is to make sure all work is carried out by a suitably qualified professional who is registered with an appropriate industry scheme.  It can be very dangerous to attempt this work if you are not fully competent and, if you are unable to prove the work was completed properly, it could affect your ability to sell your home in future.

TRVs are also easy to install but do require some plumbing knowledge.   Getting it wrong can result in leaks and damage to your home.

Heating controls (room thermostat)

Priority for Completion: Medium

This recommendation is triggered if the property has not got a room thermostat installed.  The exact benefit will depend upon a wide range of factors including the age and model of the boiler, the cost of the fuel used and the occupancy of the home.  Generally, the more the home is occupied and the older the boiler, the bigger the savings will be.  However, changes to your home's heating system should be undertaken by a competent installer and may require some financial investment so we have rated this as being medium priority.  This work may also have to be undertaken as part of other changes if required by the current Building Regulations.

What do these controls do?

A room thermostat helps to control the temperature of your home.  You can easily select the temperature you would like your home to reach and the thermostat will automatically switch off the heating when this temperature is reached.  Many modern digital controls allow you to select different temperatures at different times of day to match your occupancy patterns.  Additionally, some have smart learning capabilities and / or internet connectivity to allow remote adjustment.

There is a common misunderstanding that having a room thermostat will slow down your home warming up.  This is simply not true.  Your home will only warm up as quickly as your heating system can produce heat.  A room thermostat just shuts your heating off once your home has reached the required temperature so it is more comfortable and you don't waste energy overheating areas of your home.

Fitting these controls

It is generally not difficult to install a room thermostat but, for safety, it will require a suitable professional.  This is due to it requiring electrical work to connect it to your boiler.

Building Regulations now require that alterations to heating systems  are subject to Building Control.  The easiest way to comply is to make sure all work is carried out by a suitably qualified professional who is registered with an appropriate industry scheme.  It can be very dangerous to attempt this work if you are not fully competent and, if you are unable to prove the work was completed properly, it could affect your ability to sell your home in future.

TRVs are also easy to install but do require some plumbing knowledge.   Getting it wrong can result in leaks and damage to your home.

Heating controls (TRVs)

Priority for Completion: Medium

This recommendation is triggered if the property has wet radiators without TRVs installed.  The exact benefit will depend upon a wide range of factors including the age and model of the boiler, the cost of the fuel used and the occupancy of the home.  Generally, the more the home is occupied and the older the boiler, the bigger the savings will be.  However, changes to your home's heating system should be undertaken by a competent installer and may require some financial investment so we have rated this as being medium priority.  This work may also have to be undertaken as part of other changes if required by the current Building Regulations.

What do these controls do?

Thermostatic Radiator Valves (better known as TRVs) help to control the temperature of different parts of your home.  They are adjusted to select the required temperature and will switch off the radiators they control when this temperature is reached.  Having TRVs allows you to select different temperatures in different rooms and avoid heating rooms you do not use.

Older TRVs designs used to often get stuck resulting in cold radiators.  They also had to be fitted the correct way round or they would prevent water flowing through the radiator circuit.  Most modern TRVs can be fitted with the flow in either direction and improvements in design mean they are much less likely to stick.  Smart technologies can also be incorporated into newer TRVs to allow remote and timed control.

There is a common misunderstanding that TRVs slow down your home warming up.  This is simply not true.  Your home will only warm up as quickly as your heating system can produce heat.  These controls just shut your heating off once your home has reached the required temperature so it is more comfortable and you don't waste energy overheating areas of your home.

Fitting these controls

TRVs are generally easy to install but do require some plumbing knowledge.   Getting it wrong can result in leaks and damage to your home.  If you are at all unsure get them professionally fitted.

You will also need to ensure that at least one radiator is left without a TRV unless an alternative form of bypass is fitted within the system.  This is a very important safety feature.

Heating controls (TRVs)

Priority for Completion: Medium

This recommendation is triggered if the property has wet radiators without TRVs installed.  The exact benefit will depend upon a wide range of factors including the age and model of the boiler, the cost of the fuel used and the occupancy of the home.  Generally, the more the home is occupied and the older the boiler, the bigger the savings will be.  However, changes to your home's heating system should be undertaken by a competent installer and may require some financial investment so we have rated this as being medium priority.  This work may also have to be undertaken as part of other changes if required by the current Building Regulations.

What do these controls do?

Thermostatic Radiator Valves (better known as TRVs) help to control the temperature of different parts of your home.  They are adjusted to select the required temperature and will switch off the radiators they control when this temperature is reached.  Having TRVs allows you to select different temperatures in different rooms and avoid heating rooms you do not use.

Older TRVs designs used to often get stuck resulting in cold radiators.  They also had to be fitted the correct way round or they would prevent water flowing through the radiator circuit.  Most modern TRVs can be fitted with the flow in either direction and improvements in design mean they are much less likely to stick.  Smart technologies can also be incorporated into newer TRVs to allow remote and timed control.

There is a common misunderstanding that TRVs slow down your home warming up.  This is simply not true.  Your home will only warm up as quickly as your heating system can produce heat.  These controls just shut your heating off once your home has reached the required temperature so it is more comfortable and you don't waste energy overheating areas of your home.

Fitting these controls

TRVs are generally easy to install but do require some plumbing knowledge.   Getting it wrong can result in leaks and damage to your home.  If you are at all unsure get them professionally fitted.

You will also need to ensure that at least one radiator is left without a TRV unless an alternative form of bypass is fitted within the system.  This is a very important safety feature.

High heat retention storage heaters

Priority for Completion: Low

From the point of view of Domestic Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) electric heating should be a last resort.  This is due to it having a high running cost and therefore generating a poor rating.  Additionally, it is unlikely to be beneficial from an environmental point of view as alternative technologies have a much lower carbon footprint, even when renewable electricity is used.  Therefore, we would always advise clients considering using or upgrading electric heating to consider alternative technologies and fuel types.  This should include heat pumps and radiant heating technologies.

Where electric space heating is the only practicable solution, only high heat retention storage heaters from the Product Characteristics Database (PCBD) should be used.  Considering this, we have rated this recommendation as low priority for completion.

To check the PCBD list of high heat retention storage heaters click here.

What are storage heaters?

There are a large number of electric heaters available on the market.  It can also be difficult to work out exactly which technology you are getting.  We have found advertising materials for some systems to be somewhat misleading adding to the confusion.

Storage heaters all have the same principle in common.  They allow the use of cheaper electricity available at specific times to heat your home rather than using more expensive peak electricity.

The concept is quite simple.  Cheaper electricity (usually available overnight on an Economy 7 tariff) is used to heat up a reservoir within the radiator.  In older storage heaters this was as simple as clay bricks but most modern heaters use specialist ceramics.  This heat is then released when it is needed to heat the room.  Sometimes storage heaters are combined with standard electric heaters to provide an additional "boost" of heat.

The operation of a storage heater can be improved by adding a fan to help distribute the heat from the reservoir when it is required.  This gave a second generation of storage heaters known as fan assisted storage heaters.

The current generation of high efficiency storage heaters are known as high heat retention storage heaters.  These combine a fan to distribute heat when it is required with high efficiency insulation.  In addition, these often use more advance and even smart controls to ensure that heat is only distributed when it is required and to minimise any electricity waste.

To be considered energy efficient for EPC purposes any high heat retention storage heater must undergo thorough testing.  Heaters that have been approved are included in the Product Characteristics Database (PCBD).  Without this approval the heater cannot be included as such in an EPC assessment and will usually be included as a standard electric heater.  This will have a significant detrimental impact on the rating which is usually also reflected in real world heating costs.  Therefore, we cannot emphasise enough how important it is to check that any storage heater you consider is included in the database before purchase or installation.  To check the PCBD list of high heat retention storage heaters click here.

Fitting these heaters

Fitting storage heaters requires professional assistance from a competent person.  They require connecting to your mains electricity supply and circuit loads must be properly calculated otherwise a fire can result.  Additionally, installation of storage heaters for the first time or in new positions often requires extension rewiring including the addition of new circuits.

High heat retention storage heaters

Priority for Completion: Low

From the point of view of Domestic Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) electric heating should be a last resort.  This is due to it having a high running cost and therefore generating a poor rating.  Additionally, it is unlikely to be beneficial from an environmental point of view as alternative technologies have a much lower carbon footprint, even when renewable electricity is used.  Therefore, we would always advise clients considering using or upgrading electric heating to consider alternative technologies and fuel types.  This should include heat pumps and radiant heating technologies.

Where electric space heating is the only practicable solution, only high heat retention storage heaters from the Product Characteristics Database (PCBD) should be used.  Considering this, we have rated this recommendation as low priority for completion.

To check the PCBD list of high heat retention storage heaters click here.

What are storage heaters?

There are a large number of electric heaters available on the market.  It can also be difficult to work out exactly which technology you are getting.  We have found advertising materials for some systems to be somewhat misleading adding to the confusion.

Storage heaters all have the same principle in common.  They allow the use of cheaper electricity available at specific times to heat your home rather than using more expensive peak electricity.

The concept is quite simple.  Cheaper electricity (usually available overnight on an Economy 7 tariff) is used to heat up a reservoir within the radiator.  In older storage heaters this was as simple as clay bricks but most modern heaters use specialist ceramics.  This heat is then released when it is needed to heat the room.  Sometimes storage heaters are combined with standard electric heaters to provide an additional "boost" of heat.

The operation of a storage heater can be improved by adding a fan to help distribute the heat from the reservoir when it is required.  This gave a second generation of storage heaters known as fan assisted storage heaters.

The current generation of high efficiency storage heaters are known as high heat retention storage heaters.  These combine a fan to distribute heat when it is required with high efficiency insulation.  In addition, these often use more advance and even smart controls to ensure that heat is only distributed when it is required and to minimise any electricity waste.

To be considered energy efficient for EPC purposes any high heat retention storage heater must undergo thorough testing.  Heaters that have been approved are included in the Product Characteristics Database (PCBD).  Without this approval the heater cannot be included as such in an EPC assessment and will usually be included as a standard electric heater.  This will have a significant detrimental impact on the rating which is usually also reflected in real world heating costs.  Therefore, we cannot emphasise enough how important it is to check that any storage heater you consider is included in the database before purchase or installation.  To check the PCBD list of high heat retention storage heaters click here.

Fitting these heaters

Fitting storage heaters requires professional assistance from a competent person.  They require connecting to your mains electricity supply and circuit loads must be properly calculated otherwise a fire can result.  Additionally, installation of storage heaters for the first time or in new positions often requires extension rewiring including the addition of new circuits.

High performance external doors

Priority for Completion: Low

Recommendations to install high performance external doors are normally only shown on Domestic Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) when the current external doors have very poor thermal efficiency.

Generally doors only account for a very small part of the heat loss area of a home.  As such, the impact against heat loss through conduction is limited.

Upgrading the doors in a building is generally expensive and requires specialist contractors.  In some cases, particularly in Listed Buildings, additional consents will also be required.  However, there are benefits which extend beyond energy efficiency to include improved security and property value.  In balance, we have rated this improvement as generally being a low priority for completion.

What glazing should I choose?

Changing the doors in your home is no simple matter.  There are many different types available and they all have benefits and drawbacks.  There are also a wide range of factors which should be considered including energy efficiency, security, ventilation, means of escape, appearance, sound proofing, privacy and many others.  We would always recommend finding a competent person to explain your options and help plan your project.  It is always worth speaking to a number of different companies to obtain a range of quotes and options.

In general terms, the following are some key points for consideration:

  • Security - We all want to keep our homes secure.  Choosing an appropriate level of security for your doors is very important.  However, this will always have to balanced with other factors.
  • Glazing - Triple glazing provides good energy efficiency and sound proofing so is a good starting point for your considerations.  However, it is typically thicker, heavier and more expensive than double glazing so may not always be suitable.
  • Frames - A variety of frame colours, styles and materials are available to suit your property and tastes.  Most of these can be insulated to a high degree.  It is now possible to make high performance glazing that matches most historical styles and would only be identifiable close up.  This has allowed upgrades to be carried out that are sympathetic to the character of most listed buildings so protected status should no longer be an arbitrary barrier to double and triple glazing.
  • Ventilation - An assessment should be undertaken to ensure that ventilation of your home is maintained.  This can include the use of trickle vents as part of your new window frames.
  • Coatings - Modern glass is available with a variety of coatings to improve thermal efficiency and prevent unwanted solar gain.  All new glazing should have coatings suitable to the property, low-e is the standard.
  • Maintenance - Changing the windows in your property is a significant investment and you will want them to last.  Well maintained doors and windows will last a long time.  However, failure to maintain them properly will result in deteriorating performance.  Some materials and windows styles require much more maintenance than others so this is worth considering at the outset.
Fitting new doors

Fitting new doors usually requires professional assistance from a competent person.  The door units may need to be custom made and will need to take the structure and construction of the building into account.  Consideration must be given to maintaining a suitable means of escape from the property in the event of an emergency.

High performance external doors

Priority for Completion: Low

Recommendations to install high performance external doors are normally only shown on Domestic Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) when the current external doors have very poor thermal efficiency.

Generally doors only account for a very small part of the heat loss area of a home.  As such, the impact against heat loss through conduction is limited.

Upgrading the doors in a building is generally expensive and requires specialist contractors.  In some cases, particularly in Listed Buildings, additional consents will also be required.  However, there are benefits which extend beyond energy efficiency to include improved security and property value.  In balance, we have rated this improvement as generally being a low priority for completion.

What glazing should I choose?

Changing the doors in your home is no simple matter.  There are many different types available and they all have benefits and drawbacks.  There are also a wide range of factors which should be considered including energy efficiency, security, ventilation, means of escape, appearance, sound proofing, privacy and many others.  We would always recommend finding a competent person to explain your options and help plan your project.  It is always worth speaking to a number of different companies to obtain a range of quotes and options.

In general terms, the following are some key points for consideration:

  • Security - We all want to keep our homes secure.  Choosing an appropriate level of security for your doors is very important.  However, this will always have to balanced with other factors.
  • Glazing - Triple glazing provides good energy efficiency and sound proofing so is a good starting point for your considerations.  However, it is typically thicker, heavier and more expensive than double glazing so may not always be suitable.
  • Frames - A variety of frame colours, styles and materials are available to suit your property and tastes.  Most of these can be insulated to a high degree.  It is now possible to make high performance glazing that matches most historical styles and would only be identifiable close up.  This has allowed upgrades to be carried out that are sympathetic to the character of most listed buildings so protected status should no longer be an arbitrary barrier to double and triple glazing.
  • Ventilation - An assessment should be undertaken to ensure that ventilation of your home is maintained.  This can include the use of trickle vents as part of your new window frames.
  • Coatings - Modern glass is available with a variety of coatings to improve thermal efficiency and prevent unwanted solar gain.  All new glazing should have coatings suitable to the property, low-e is the standard.
  • Maintenance - Changing the windows in your property is a significant investment and you will want them to last.  Well maintained doors and windows will last a long time.  However, failure to maintain them properly will result in deteriorating performance.  Some materials and windows styles require much more maintenance than others so this is worth considering at the outset.
Fitting new doors

Fitting new doors usually requires professional assistance from a competent person.  The door units may need to be custom made and will need to take the structure and construction of the building into account.  Consideration must be given to maintaining a suitable means of escape from the property in the event of an emergency.

Hot water cylinder thermostat

Priority for Completion: Medium

This recommendation is triggered if the property has a hot water tank without a thermostat.  The exact benefit will depend upon a wide range of factors including the age and model of the boiler, the cost of the fuel used and the amount of hot water used in the home.  Generally, the less hot water is used and the older the boiler, the bigger the savings will be.  However, changes to your home's heating system should be undertaken by professional installer and may require some financial investment so we have rated this as being medium priority.  This work may also have to be undertaken as part of other changes if required by the current Building Regulations.

What does a hot water cylinder thermostat do?

If you have a tank for your hot water you will need to heat up the water it contains to have hot water to use in your home.  Usually this is achieved by setting a time control to heat it up at certain times of day.

A hot water cylinder thermostat measures the temperature of the water in the cylinder and only heats it if it is too cold.  When the water reaches the required temperature (usually set to between 65 and 70 °C) it stops it being heated any hotter.  This save you energy and money as less heat is wasted.

Fitting a hot water cylinder thermostat

It is generally not difficult to install a hot water cylinder thermostat but, for safety, it will require a suitable professional.

Building Regulations now require that alterations to heating systems  are subject to Building Control.  The easiest way to comply is to make sure all work is carried out by a suitably qualified professional who is registered with an appropriate industry scheme.  It can be very dangerous to attempt this work if you are not fully competent and, if you are unable to prove the work was completed properly, it could affect your ability to sell your home in future.

Hot water cylinder thermostat

Priority for Completion: Medium

This recommendation is triggered if the property has a hot water tank without a thermostat.  The exact benefit will depend upon a wide range of factors including the age and model of the boiler, the cost of the fuel used and the amount of hot water used in the home.  Generally, the less hot water is used and the older the boiler, the bigger the savings will be.  However, changes to your home's heating system should be undertaken by professional installer and may require some financial investment so we have rated this as being medium priority.  This work may also have to be undertaken as part of other changes if required by the current Building Regulations.

What does a hot water cylinder thermostat do?

If you have a tank for your hot water you will need to heat up the water it contains to have hot water to use in your home.  Usually this is achieved by setting a time control to heat it up at certain times of day.

A hot water cylinder thermostat measures the temperature of the water in the cylinder and only heats it if it is too cold.  When the water reaches the required temperature (usually set to between 65 and 70 °C) it stops it being heated any hotter.  This save you energy and money as less heat is wasted.

Fitting a hot water cylinder thermostat

It is generally not difficult to install a hot water cylinder thermostat but, for safety, it will require a suitable professional.

Building Regulations now require that alterations to heating systems  are subject to Building Control.  The easiest way to comply is to make sure all work is carried out by a suitably qualified professional who is registered with an appropriate industry scheme.  It can be very dangerous to attempt this work if you are not fully competent and, if you are unable to prove the work was completed properly, it could affect your ability to sell your home in future.

Improve draught proofing

Priority for Completion: Very High

This recommendation is made when a home's door and/or windows don't meet current standards for draught proofing.  This means you are likely to have uncomfortable cold draughts wasting heat from your home.

Improving the air tightness of a property can significantly reduce heat loss and improve energy efficiency.  It is easy to do, even for people with limited DIY skills.  Installation generally does not take long and the materials are relatively cheap.  As a result, it usually pays back quickly.

In some circumstances, increasing the air tightness of a property too much can result in issues with damp and condensation.  However, it is unlikely that simple measures will cause this problem in most cases.  Additionally, simple measures can be taken to ensure controlled ventilation occurs to prevent these complications.

In balance, we have rated this improvement as one of very high priority for completion as it will both improve the energy efficiency and comfort of your home at low cost.

What do you mean by draught proofing?

In simple terms, draught proofing is any measure to stop air moving in or out of the building in an uncontrolled way.  In a domestic EPC it mainly refers to the potential gaps between doors and windows and their frames.  However, gaps can occur at any construction junction.  Other particular issues can be loft hatches, ceiling and wall joins or poorly fitting door and window frames.

You may have noticed the brushes or spongey strips on modern doors and windows that make sure they seal properly to stop draughts.  Effective draught proofing does not need to be any more complicated than this.  Self adhesive strips are available from many hardware and DIY stores which work very well.  Additionally many other products including nail on seals for wooden frames are available.

When you are adding draught proofing, don't forget any loft hatches you have.  Cool air naturally drops down to lower levels as warm air rises.  Poorly fitting loft hatches can allow heat from your home to easily escape through your roof.

Modern rubber draught seal
The black strip is a plastic draught seal on a modern uPVC door.
Modern brush draught seal
The grey strip is a brush draught seal on a modern uPVC sliding door.
Modern plastic draught seal
The white strip is a plastic draught seal on a modern wooden loft access hatch.
Self-adhesive plastic draught seal
An example of self-adhesive draught seal for retrofit draught proofing.
What about ventilation?

Making sure your property has adequate ventilation is very important.  Good ventilation prevents some problems with damp, mould and condensation.  It can also help keep your family healthy and prevent disease transmission.

Most homes rely on natural ventilation to provide regular air change although rarely mechanical ventilation is used.

Condensation and mould can normally be controlled by reducing activities that release water vapour into the home like drying clothes on radiators (something which is also a fire hazard).  Proper extraction from kitchens, bathrooms, toilets and showers also has a large impact.  Additionally, you should always make the most of good weather and open windows to help ventilate your home.

Further information about good ventilation in dwellings can be found in Building Regulations (Part F for England).  Approved Document F and the Domestic Ventilation Compliance Guide have more extensive guidance.

An open trickle vent
Trickle vents on modern windows help to prevent mould and condensation. Open vents allow controlled air movement.
A closed trickle vent
Closing trickle vents helps to prevent cold draughts in windy conditions.
Other considerations

Whilst you are considering the energy efficiency of your loft hatch, consider making sure it is suitably insulated to prevent heat loss into your loft space.  Again, it is generally easy to fit insulation to the back of the hatch and it can prevent heat being lost into your loft.

If you want to ensure you really stop draughts around your home you can consider sealing any gaps between walls and window or door frames.  Also check around any pipes or cables coming in or out of your home for gaps and fill these.  This is best done on both the inside and outside.  It will also help prevent pests and vermin gaining access to your home.  A variety of sealants and expanding foam fillers are available that are suitable for these purposes.  Similarly you can use suitable calking to fill any gaps between walls, ceilings, floors and skirting boards in your home.

Improve draught proofing

Priority for Completion: Very High

This recommendation is made when a home's door and/or windows don't meet current standards for draught proofing.  This means you are likely to have uncomfortable cold draughts wasting heat from your home.

Improving the air tightness of a property can significantly reduce heat loss and improve energy efficiency.  It is easy to do, even for people with limited DIY skills.  Installation generally does not take long and the materials are relatively cheap.  As a result, it usually pays back quickly.

In some circumstances, increasing the air tightness of a property too much can result in issues with damp and condensation.  However, it is unlikely that simple measures will cause this problem in most cases.  Additionally, simple measures can be taken to ensure controlled ventilation occurs to prevent these complications.

In balance, we have rated this improvement as one of very high priority for completion as it will both improve the energy efficiency and comfort of your home at low cost.

What do you mean by draught proofing?

In simple terms, draught proofing is any measure to stop air moving in or out of the building in an uncontrolled way.  In a domestic EPC it mainly refers to the potential gaps between doors and windows and their frames.  However, gaps can occur at any construction junction.  Other particular issues can be loft hatches, ceiling and wall joins or poorly fitting door and window frames.

You may have noticed the brushes or spongey strips on modern doors and windows that make sure they seal properly to stop draughts.  Effective draught proofing does not need to be any more complicated than this.  Self adhesive strips are available from many hardware and DIY stores which work very well.  Additionally many other products including nail on seals for wooden frames are available.

When you are adding draught proofing, don't forget any loft hatches you have.  Cool air naturally drops down to lower levels as warm air rises.  Poorly fitting loft hatches can allow heat from your home to easily escape through your roof.

Modern rubber draught seal
The black strip is a plastic draught seal on a modern uPVC door.
Modern brush draught seal
The grey strip is a brush draught seal on a modern uPVC sliding door.
Modern plastic draught seal
The white strip is a plastic draught seal on a modern wooden loft access hatch.
Self-adhesive plastic draught seal
An example of self-adhesive draught seal for retrofit draught proofing.
What about ventilation?

Making sure your property has adequate ventilation is very important.  Good ventilation prevents some problems with damp, mould and condensation.  It can also help keep your family healthy and prevent disease transmission.

Most homes rely on natural ventilation to provide regular air change although rarely mechanical ventilation is used.

Condensation and mould can normally be controlled by reducing activities that release water vapour into the home like drying clothes on radiators (something which is also a fire hazard).  Proper extraction from kitchens, bathrooms, toilets and showers also has a large impact.  Additionally, you should always make the most of good weather and open windows to help ventilate your home.

Further information about good ventilation in dwellings can be found in Building Regulations (Part F for England).  Approved Document F and the Domestic Ventilation Compliance Guide have more extensive guidance.

An open trickle vent
Trickle vents on modern windows help to prevent mould and condensation. Open vents allow controlled air movement.
A closed trickle vent
Closing trickle vents helps to prevent cold draughts in windy conditions.
Other considerations

Whilst you are considering the energy efficiency of your loft hatch, consider making sure it is suitably insulated to prevent heat loss into your loft space.  Again, it is generally easy to fit insulation to the back of the hatch and it can prevent heat being lost into your loft.

If you want to ensure you really stop draughts around your home you can consider sealing any gaps between walls and window or door frames.  Also check around any pipes or cables coming in or out of your home for gaps and fill these.  This is best done on both the inside and outside.  It will also help prevent pests and vermin gaining access to your home.  A variety of sealants and expanding foam fillers are available that are suitable for these purposes.  Similarly you can use suitable calking to fill any gaps between walls, ceilings, floors and skirting boards in your home.

Improve loft insulation

Priority for Completion: Very High

This recommendation is triggered if the property has accessible loft spaces and there is not evidence of them being insulated to current standards.  The exact benefit will depend upon a wide range of factors including the heating system, the cost of the fuel , how much (if any) insulation is already present and the occupancy of the home together with its shape and layout.  Generally, a poorly insulated roof is responsible for up to 25% (a quarter) of heat lost from a home.  These works are generally easy to carry out, are low cost and can often be grant funded from a variety of different sources.  As such we have rated this as being a recommendation of very high priority for completion.

What is loft insulation?

Loft insulation prevents heat loss through the roof of your home.  It is available in many forms and can be fitted either at the eves or the rafters (or in some cases both).

Typically most insulation materials fall into four groups:

  • Loose roll - These are the easiest to install and laid across the ceiling at eves level.  Readily available from most DIY stores and cheap, these are normally the preferred method.  Typically, this insulation should be at least 270mm thick.  If your loft just has insulation to the top of the joists, it probably needs topping up with an extra layer.
  • Loose fill - These materials are poured into the space to be insulated.  They are useful for filling awkward spaces that would otherwise be difficult to fill.  Particular care should be taken when disturbing this form of insulation as older materials may contain asbestos.
  • Solid board - These products come as foam boards, usually with foil coatings.  They are easier to fit to the underside of the roof and don't need to be as thick as loose roll insulation since they are better at keeping the heat in as they have higher thermal resistance.  However, they can also be a serious hazard in a fire and usually need covering with a protective layer like plasterboard.
  • Spray foams - These products usually require professional installation and can present similar hazards to foam boards.  As a result this is generally the least preferred option.

 

Installing loft insulation

Exact installation methods depend upon the type of insulation being installed.  Loose roll insulation is generally the easiest to install and the work can normally be completed by anyone with good mobility.

Loose roll insulation is available in many forms.  A lot of modern insulation comes prewrapped to make it easier to lay.  It should be fitted evenly between ceiling joists with at least one additional layer running over the first across the joists (i.e. perpendicular to the first).  Rolls should be touching and not compressed (the trapped air is what makes the insulation effective).  Uneven insulation or gaps between rolls can lead to cold spots resulting in damp and condensation on ceilings below.

Spacers are now readily available if you wish to board your loft for storage to prevent compression of the insulation.  To make sure you receive credit for your insulation in your EPC, make sure you keep suitable evidence of the insulation fitted.  It is great to keep dated photos showing the insulation and its thickness in your loft.  Photograph a ruler next to it to show the thickness.  Make sure the photos also show clearly it is your loft so get the context and key features into the shots.  Additionally keep receipts and particularly delivery notes showing the address of your property together with any insulation certificates you are given.  You cannot have too much evidence!

 

Other considerations

Make sure you seek advice if you are unsure how to safely install insulation and the PPE you should use.  Most DIY stores will be able to give you good advice.

Take care when working in loft spaces to make sure you do not damage the ceilings below.  Care must also be taken around pipework and electrical cables.  Some light fittings also penetrate ceilings and appropriate fire prevention measures will need to be considered before insulating near them.

Homes built before 2000 may have asbestos containing materials present which should not be disturbed.  Surprisingly, the use of asbestos was only outlawed in 1999 in homes in the UK despite its hazards being known for many years before.  If you are unsure seek expert advice before beginning any works as even low levels of exposure can be hazardous to you and those around you.

Whilst you are carrying out insulation work in lofts, check that all you pipework is suitably protected and insulated.  It is also a good time to check for any corrosion or minor leaks that you may not have noticed before they become more serious problems.

It is often difficult to find suitable measures that can be implemented in historic and listed buildings to improve energy efficiency without damaging the nature or appearance of the building.  Fitting suitable loose roll loft insulation is usually both possible and beneficial.  Improving the energy efficiency can help to keep the building in use, widely recognised as the best way to protect it for the future.  Fitting the insulation shouldn't normally involve any structural damage or alterations.  Additionally, choosing the correct insulation material can improve protection in the event of a fire helping to control its spread whilst still allowing the construction materials to breath to prevent rot and decay.

Improve loft insulation

Priority for Completion: Very High

This recommendation is triggered if the property has accessible loft spaces and there is not evidence of them being insulated to current standards.  The exact benefit will depend upon a wide range of factors including the heating system, the cost of the fuel , how much (if any) insulation is already present and the occupancy of the home together with its shape and layout.  Generally, a poorly insulated roof is responsible for up to 25% (a quarter) of heat lost from a home.  These works are generally easy to carry out, are low cost and can often be grant funded from a variety of different sources.  As such we have rated this as being a recommendation of very high priority for completion.

What is loft insulation?

Loft insulation prevents heat loss through the roof of your home.  It is available in many forms and can be fitted either at the eves or the rafters (or in some cases both).

Typically most insulation materials fall into four groups:

  • Loose roll - These are the easiest to install and laid across the ceiling at eves level.  Readily available from most DIY stores and cheap, these are normally the preferred method.  Typically, this insulation should be at least 270mm thick.  If your loft just has insulation to the top of the joists, it probably needs topping up with an extra layer.
  • Loose fill - These materials are poured into the space to be insulated.  They are useful for filling awkward spaces that would otherwise be difficult to fill.  Particular care should be taken when disturbing this form of insulation as older materials may contain asbestos.
  • Solid board - These products come as foam boards, usually with foil coatings.  They are easier to fit to the underside of the roof and don't need to be as thick as loose roll insulation since they are better at keeping the heat in as they have higher thermal resistance.  However, they can also be a serious hazard in a fire and usually need covering with a protective layer like plasterboard.
  • Spray foams - These products usually require professional installation and can present similar hazards to foam boards.  As a result this is generally the least preferred option.

 

Installing loft insulation

Exact installation methods depend upon the type of insulation being installed.  Loose roll insulation is generally the easiest to install and the work can normally be completed by anyone with good mobility.

Loose roll insulation is available in many forms.  A lot of modern insulation comes prewrapped to make it easier to lay.  It should be fitted evenly between ceiling joists with at least one additional layer running over the first across the joists (i.e. perpendicular to the first).  Rolls should be touching and not compressed (the trapped air is what makes the insulation effective).  Uneven insulation or gaps between rolls can lead to cold spots resulting in damp and condensation on ceilings below.

Spacers are now readily available if you wish to board your loft for storage to prevent compression of the insulation.  To make sure you receive credit for your insulation in your EPC, make sure you keep suitable evidence of the insulation fitted.  It is great to keep dated photos showing the insulation and its thickness in your loft.  Photograph a ruler next to it to show the thickness.  Make sure the photos also show clearly it is your loft so get the context and key features into the shots.  Additionally keep receipts and particularly delivery notes showing the address of your property together with any insulation certificates you are given.  You cannot have too much evidence!

 

Other considerations

Make sure you seek advice if you are unsure how to safely install insulation and the PPE you should use.  Most DIY stores will be able to give you good advice.

Take care when working in loft spaces to make sure you do not damage the ceilings below.  Care must also be taken around pipework and electrical cables.  Some light fittings also penetrate ceilings and appropriate fire prevention measures will need to be considered before insulating near them.

Homes built before 2000 may have asbestos containing materials present which should not be disturbed.  Surprisingly, the use of asbestos was only outlawed in 1999 in homes in the UK despite its hazards being known for many years before.  If you are unsure seek expert advice before beginning any works as even low levels of exposure can be hazardous to you and those around you.

Whilst you are carrying out insulation work in lofts, check that all you pipework is suitably protected and insulated.  It is also a good time to check for any corrosion or minor leaks that you may not have noticed before they become more serious problems.

It is often difficult to find suitable measures that can be implemented in historic and listed buildings to improve energy efficiency without damaging the nature or appearance of the building.  Fitting suitable loose roll loft insulation is usually both possible and beneficial.  Improving the energy efficiency can help to keep the building in use, widely recognised as the best way to protect it for the future.  Fitting the insulation shouldn't normally involve any structural damage or alterations.  Additionally, choosing the correct insulation material can improve protection in the event of a fire helping to control its spread whilst still allowing the construction materials to breath to prevent rot and decay.

Improved glazing

Priority for Completion: Medium

Recommendations to improve glazing are normally only shown on Domestic Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) when the glazing currently in the home has very poor thermal efficiency.  Commonly, this means single glazed windows are still present but some very old double glazing may also meet this specification.

Generally glazing only accounts for a relatively small part of the heat loss area of a home but this can differ considerably.  Properties with a greater proportion of glazing will obviously benefit more from improvements.

Upgrading the glazing in a building is generally expensive and requires specialist contractors.  In some cases, particularly in Listed Buildings, additional consents will also be required.  However, the benefits often extend beyond energy efficiency to include improved comfort and property value.  As such, we have rated this improvement as generally being a medium priority for completion.

What glazing should I choose?

Changing the windows and potentially doors in your home is no simple matter.  There are many different types available and they all have benefits and drawbacks.  There are also a wide range of factors which should be considered including energy efficiency, security, ventilation, means of escape, appearance, sound proofing, privacy and many others.  We would always recommend finding a competent person to explain your options and help plan your project.  It is always worth speaking to a number of different companies to obtain a range of quotes and options.

In general terms, the following are some key points for consideration:

  • Glazing - Triple glazing provides good energy efficiency and sound proofing so is a good starting point for your considerations.  However, it is typically thicker, heavier and more expensive than double glazing so may not always be suitable.
  • Frames - A variety of frame colours, styles and materials are available to suit your property and tastes.  Most of these can be insulated to a high degree.  It is now possible to make high performance glazing that matches most historical styles and would only be identifiable close up.  This has allowed upgrades to be carried out that are sympathetic to the character of most listed buildings so protected status should no longer be an arbitrary barrier to double and triple glazing.
  • Ventilation - An assessment should be undertaken to ensure that ventilation of your home is maintained.  This can include the use of trickle vents as part of your new window frames.
  • Coatings - Modern glass is available with a variety of coatings to improve thermal efficiency and prevent unwanted solar gain.  All new glazing should have coatings suitable to the property, low-e is the standard.
  • Maintenance - Changing the windows in your property is a significant investment and you will want them to last.  Well maintained doors and windows will last a long time.  However, failure to maintain them properly will result in deteriorating performance.  Some materials and windows styles require much more maintenance than others so this is worth considering at the outset.
Fitting new glazing

Fitting new glazing usually requires professional assistance from a competent person.  The window units may need to custom made and will need to take the structure and construction of the building into account.  Consideration must be given to maintaining a suitable means of escape from the property in the event of an emergency.  The ventilation arrangements will also have to be taken into account to ensure problems are not created condensation and damp.

Improved glazing

Priority for Completion: Medium

Recommendations to improve glazing are normally only shown on Domestic Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) when the glazing currently in the home has very poor thermal efficiency.  Commonly, this means single glazed windows are still present but some very old double glazing may also meet this specification.

Generally glazing only accounts for a relatively small part of the heat loss area of a home but this can differ considerably.  Properties with a greater proportion of glazing will obviously benefit more from improvements.

Upgrading the glazing in a building is generally expensive and requires specialist contractors.  In some cases, particularly in Listed Buildings, additional consents will also be required.  However, the benefits often extend beyond energy efficiency to include improved comfort and property value.  As such, we have rated this improvement as generally being a medium priority for completion.

What glazing should I choose?

Changing the windows and potentially doors in your home is no simple matter.  There are many different types available and they all have benefits and drawbacks.  There are also a wide range of factors which should be considered including energy efficiency, security, ventilation, means of escape, appearance, sound proofing, privacy and many others.  We would always recommend finding a competent person to explain your options and help plan your project.  It is always worth speaking to a number of different companies to obtain a range of quotes and options.

In general terms, the following are some key points for consideration:

  • Glazing - Triple glazing provides good energy efficiency and sound proofing so is a good starting point for your considerations.  However, it is typically thicker, heavier and more expensive than double glazing so may not always be suitable.
  • Frames - A variety of frame colours, styles and materials are available to suit your property and tastes.  Most of these can be insulated to a high degree.  It is now possible to make high performance glazing that matches most historical styles and would only be identifiable close up.  This has allowed upgrades to be carried out that are sympathetic to the character of most listed buildings so protected status should no longer be an arbitrary barrier to double and triple glazing.
  • Ventilation - An assessment should be undertaken to ensure that ventilation of your home is maintained.  This can include the use of trickle vents as part of your new window frames.
  • Coatings - Modern glass is available with a variety of coatings to improve thermal efficiency and prevent unwanted solar gain.  All new glazing should have coatings suitable to the property, low-e is the standard.
  • Maintenance - Changing the windows in your property is a significant investment and you will want them to last.  Well maintained doors and windows will last a long time.  However, failure to maintain them properly will result in deteriorating performance.  Some materials and windows styles require much more maintenance than others so this is worth considering at the outset.
Fitting new glazing

Fitting new glazing usually requires professional assistance from a competent person.  The window units may need to custom made and will need to take the structure and construction of the building into account.  Consideration must be given to maintaining a suitable means of escape from the property in the event of an emergency.  The ventilation arrangements will also have to be taken into account to ensure problems are not created condensation and damp.

Increase hot water cylinder insulation

Priority for Completion: Very High

This recommendation is made when a hot water tank is present in the property and  it is not insulated to meet current minimum standards.  This means that energy used to heat water is wasted as the hot water stands in the tank.  In technical terms, this is known as the standing loss of the tank.

You use hot water all year round so insulating your tank will will save you money even in summer.  It can even help keep your home cooler during hot weather.  If you use electricity to heat your water the savings are even greater.  It is easy to do, even for people with limited DIY skills.  Installation will not take long and the materials are relatively cheap.  As a result, it usually pays back quickly.

My cylinder is already insulated. Is that enough?

Modern tanks generally have insulation already installed at the factory.  If you have a brand new cylinder this is usually enough.  However, many older tanks can still benefit from an additional jacket.

The insulation requirements have increased substantially over recent years.  The current standard is a minimum of 50mm of factory foam or 80mm of loose jacket insulation.  Adding an additional layer of insulation could save a significant amount of money if your tank is not up to these standards.

How much can I save with a hot water cylinder jacket?

Going from a completely uninsulated tank to a well insulated one (by simply adding a jacket) can save you around £150 a year or more, so it is an absolute must if you can see your face reflecting off the shinny cooper hot water tank!

Many hot water tank jackets are available for under £15.  At this price, the payback is just a couple of months.

For most of us however, our tanks do have some form of insulation, so the savings won’t be as staggering – but that doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile! Let’s take a few examples:

Current Insulation Top up Savings per year Payback
(Assuming cost of £5)
None £100-150 under 2 months
25mm Loose Jacket £25 8 months
38mm Loose Jacket £18 10 months
50mm Loose Jacket £10 1.5 years
25mm Spray Foam £15 1 year
38mm Spray Foam £8 23 months
Savings information provided by www.thegreenage.co.uk

As you can see, there are significant benefits from some extra insulation.  Take a look in your airing cupboard now and see how thick your insulation is. Remember, if you can see bare metal exposed, you could be wasting a lot of money!

Shouldn't I get a combi boiler instead?

A combi boiler produces both heating and hot water on demand.  In many cases they are more convenient than regular boilers since you can do away with the hot water tank.  They can also be more efficient as you don't heat water when you don't need it.  However, one issue with combi boilers is that, if the water pressure is low in your property then your shower or taps might just trickle.

A modern Regular or System boiler with a well insulated hot water tank can be just as efficient as a combi boiler.  This is particularly true if you use a lot of hot water in your home and it is used at consistent times.  It is also important to make sure your hot water tank is an appropriate size.

In summary, you may wish to consider changing your boiler but you should seek expert advice first.  It is also certainly worth considering insulating your hot water tank whilst you arrange any system change.

Should I also insulate my pipes?

Yes. The hot water pipes that run between your cylinder and your boiler can give off a lot of heat if they are not insulated. In most cases it is really easy to buy some pipe insulation from the DIY store and slip it around the exposed pipes.

Insulating cold water pipes can also be beneficial.  This can help reduce the risk of harmful legionella bacteria building up in water standing in these pipes.  It also stops these pipes taking heat out of your home and prevent condensation forming on them.

In both cases, insulating water pipes well can also help prevent them freezing in winter.  Water expands when it freezes so can cause expensive damage.  This is perhaps one of the biggest benefits of good insulation.

Again, you should also check that there are not gaps in your insulation where bare pipes are visible.  Birds and small animals also love to use pipe insulation for nesting material.  If you have any exposed insulation check to make sure it is not damaged.

Remember to check your programmer

Even the most insulated tank will be wasting you money if you are heating water when you don’t need it.  Take a look at your programmer and make sure that it is coming on at the right time and for the right duration.  Try reducing the amount of time you heat the water for and see if you notice any difference.  If you have a cylinder thermostat, make sure you set it to the right temperature (usually between 65-70 °C).  These sorts of things can save you even more money that would otherwise go to heating water you will never use.

Increase hot water cylinder insulation

Priority for Completion: Very High

This recommendation is made when a hot water tank is present in the property and  it is not insulated to meet current minimum standards.  This means that energy used to heat water is wasted as the hot water stands in the tank.  In technical terms, this is known as the standing loss of the tank.

You use hot water all year round so insulating your tank will will save you money even in summer.  It can even help keep your home cooler during hot weather.  If you use electricity to heat your water the savings are even greater.  It is easy to do, even for people with limited DIY skills.  Installation will not take long and the materials are relatively cheap.  As a result, it usually pays back quickly.

My cylinder is already insulated. Is that enough?

Modern tanks generally have insulation already installed at the factory.  If you have a brand new cylinder this is usually enough.  However, many older tanks can still benefit from an additional jacket.

The insulation requirements have increased substantially over recent years.  The current standard is a minimum of 50mm of factory foam or 80mm of loose jacket insulation.  Adding an additional layer of insulation could save a significant amount of money if your tank is not up to these standards.

How much can I save with a hot water cylinder jacket?

Going from a completely uninsulated tank to a well insulated one (by simply adding a jacket) can save you around £150 a year or more, so it is an absolute must if you can see your face reflecting off the shinny cooper hot water tank!

Many hot water tank jackets are available for under £15.  At this price, the payback is just a couple of months.

For most of us however, our tanks do have some form of insulation, so the savings won’t be as staggering – but that doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile! Let’s take a few examples:

Current Insulation Top up Savings per year Payback
(Assuming cost of £5)
None £100-150 under 2 months
25mm Loose Jacket £25 8 months
38mm Loose Jacket £18 10 months
50mm Loose Jacket £10 1.5 years
25mm Spray Foam £15 1 year
38mm Spray Foam £8 23 months
Savings information provided by www.thegreenage.co.uk

As you can see, there are significant benefits from some extra insulation.  Take a look in your airing cupboard now and see how thick your insulation is. Remember, if you can see bare metal exposed, you could be wasting a lot of money!

Shouldn't I get a combi boiler instead?

A combi boiler produces both heating and hot water on demand.  In many cases they are more convenient than regular boilers since you can do away with the hot water tank.  They can also be more efficient as you don't heat water when you don't need it.  However, one issue with combi boilers is that, if the water pressure is low in your property then your shower or taps might just trickle.

A modern Regular or System boiler with a well insulated hot water tank can be just as efficient as a combi boiler.  This is particularly true if you use a lot of hot water in your home and it is used at consistent times.  It is also important to make sure your hot water tank is an appropriate size.

In summary, you may wish to consider changing your boiler but you should seek expert advice first.  It is also certainly worth considering insulating your hot water tank whilst you arrange any system change.

Should I also insulate my pipes?

Yes. The hot water pipes that run between your cylinder and your boiler can give off a lot of heat if they are not insulated. In most cases it is really easy to buy some pipe insulation from the DIY store and slip it around the exposed pipes.

Insulating cold water pipes can also be beneficial.  This can help reduce the risk of harmful legionella bacteria building up in water standing in these pipes.  It also stops these pipes taking heat out of your home and prevent condensation forming on them.

In both cases, insulating water pipes well can also help prevent them freezing in winter.  Water expands when it freezes so can cause expensive damage.  This is perhaps one of the biggest benefits of good insulation.

Again, you should also check that there are not gaps in your insulation where bare pipes are visible.  Birds and small animals also love to use pipe insulation for nesting material.  If you have any exposed insulation check to make sure it is not damaged.

Remember to check your programmer

Even the most insulated tank will be wasting you money if you are heating water when you don’t need it.  Take a look at your programmer and make sure that it is coming on at the right time and for the right duration.  Try reducing the amount of time you heat the water for and see if you notice any difference.  If you have a cylinder thermostat, make sure you set it to the right temperature (usually between 65-70 °C).  These sorts of things can save you even more money that would otherwise go to heating water you will never use.

Internal or external wall insulation

Priority for Completion: Medium

This recommendation is triggered if the property has solid external walls and there is no evidence of them having been insulated.  The exact benefit will depend upon a wide range of factors including the heating system, the cost of the fuel and the occupancy of the home together with its shape and layout.  Generally, external walls account for a significant amount of heat lost from a property so the savings can be substantial.  However, installing internal or external wall insulation usually requires significant investment and works.  There are also other factors to be considered so expert advice should be sought.  As such we have rated this as being a recommendation of medium priority for completion.

However, where appropriate we would strongly recommend that insulating solid walls is considered as part of any major home refurbishment.

What is external wall insulation?

External wall insulation is applied to the external surface of a structure.  Generally it is fitted as part of an external layered system and will ultimately be covered with render or cladding.

External insulation systems can reduce heat loss from your home through the walls, particularly if they are solid.  They can also improve the appearance of the property and reduce damp (only if properly fitted).  However, thought may need to be given as to how other features of your home, including windows, will be accommodated.

What is internal wall insulation?

Internal wall insulation is applied to the internal surfaces of a structure.  Once applied it will be covered over, usually with plasterboard and plaster.  Many plasterboard panels are now available which come ready insulated on the reverse.

Obviously fitting internal insulation usually requires redecorating and will reduce room sizes.  The impact of this reduction is most significant in small rooms but is not likely to be a major consideration in larger spaces.  It will also require the removal and refitting of anything fitted to the walls being insulated which can be a particular consideration in rooms like kitchens.

In addition to reducing heat loss, internal insulation systems also typically reduce the thermal mass of the building.  This can be beneficial in allowing your home to warm up quicker using less energy but may be an issue in hotter weather if the home often overheats.

Installing wall insulation

Insulating walls should not normally be attempted without obtaining professional expert advice.  Depending on the nature of the work undertaken it may be possible for someone with very good DIY skills to complete this task.

Other considerations

Depending upon the exact nature of the work undertaken Building Control approval may be required.  Changing the external appearance of your property is also likely to require planning permission.

Internal or external wall insulation

Priority for Completion: Medium

This recommendation is triggered if the property has solid external walls and there is no evidence of them having been insulated.  The exact benefit will depend upon a wide range of factors including the heating system, the cost of the fuel and the occupancy of the home together with its shape and layout.  Generally, external walls account for a significant amount of heat lost from a property so the savings can be substantial.  However, installing internal or external wall insulation usually requires significant investment and works.  There are also other factors to be considered so expert advice should be sought.  As such we have rated this as being a recommendation of medium priority for completion.

However, where appropriate we would strongly recommend that insulating solid walls is considered as part of any major home refurbishment.

What is external wall insulation?

External wall insulation is applied to the external surface of a structure.  Generally it is fitted as part of an external layered system and will ultimately be covered with render or cladding.

External insulation systems can reduce heat loss from your home through the walls, particularly if they are solid.  They can also improve the appearance of the property and reduce damp (only if properly fitted).  However, thought may need to be given as to how other features of your home, including windows, will be accommodated.

What is internal wall insulation?

Internal wall insulation is applied to the internal surfaces of a structure.  Once applied it will be covered over, usually with plasterboard and plaster.  Many plasterboard panels are now available which come ready insulated on the reverse.

Obviously fitting internal insulation usually requires redecorating and will reduce room sizes.  The impact of this reduction is most significant in small rooms but is not likely to be a major consideration in larger spaces.  It will also require the removal and refitting of anything fitted to the walls being insulated which can be a particular consideration in rooms like kitchens.

In addition to reducing heat loss, internal insulation systems also typically reduce the thermal mass of the building.  This can be beneficial in allowing your home to warm up quicker using less energy but may be an issue in hotter weather if the home often overheats.

Installing wall insulation

Insulating walls should not normally be attempted without obtaining professional expert advice.  Depending on the nature of the work undertaken it may be possible for someone with very good DIY skills to complete this task.

Other considerations

Depending upon the exact nature of the work undertaken Building Control approval may be required.  Changing the external appearance of your property is also likely to require planning permission.

Upgrade to low energy lighting

Priority for Completion: Very High

This recommendation is made when the assessment finds significant amounts of tungsten or halogen lighting.  In domestic Energy Performance Certificates all types of LED and fluorescent lighting count as low energy.  As a result this recommendation is often not triggered when it ought to be.  We believe that this recommendation should be updated to recommend LED lighting.

This recommendation is usually cheap and easy to complete.  In fact, you will find it difficult not to carry it out as light bulbs are replaced.  Using modern LED lights has various other benefits and they usually pay for themselves quickly. As a result, we have rated this as very high priority for completion.

What is low energy lighting?

There are various forms of lighting that are considered to be low energy however these vary greatly in performance.  All of them save considerable amounts of energy over tungsten and halogen lights.  However, technology has advanced greatly in the last few years.  As a result, we would now suggest LED lighting is the way forward.

A wide range of LED lights are available.  They have different appearances, colour profiles and intensity (brightness).  They also now vary considerably in efficiency.  Choosing the right light is important so don't be afraid to ask for help.  Nearly all bulb types, shapes and sizes are now available in LED forms.  This includes specialist lights for fridges, freezers, cooker hoods and the like.  You may also find that you need less light fittings to achieve the same effect.

LED lights are also available with other smart controls including timers, dimmers and colour changers.  Stair and hallway lights can also be fitted with automatic dawn to dusk nightlight functions to help young children and to improve fire safety.

LED bulbs normally operate at much lower temperatures than tungsten and halogen bulbs.  This makes them less likely to burn if touched and can also reduce fire risks.

Most LED lights have a very long lifespan and will typically last many years in normal use.

Other considerations

Don't just think about changing your indoor lighting and fixed fittings.  LED lighting is available for nearly all purposes.  Changing all your lighting can offer bigger savings.

Changing to LED Christmas lights can reduce the risk of fires and save you energy.  Keeping your electricity bill under control at Christmas is one less thing to worry about.

Upgrade to low energy lighting

Priority for Completion: Very High

This recommendation is made when the assessment finds significant amounts of tungsten or halogen lighting.  In domestic Energy Performance Certificates all types of LED and fluorescent lighting count as low energy.  As a result this recommendation is often not triggered when it ought to be.  We believe that this recommendation should be updated to recommend LED lighting.

This recommendation is usually cheap and easy to complete.  In fact, you will find it difficult not to carry it out as light bulbs are replaced.  Using modern LED lights has various other benefits and they usually pay for themselves quickly. As a result, we have rated this as very high priority for completion.

What is low energy lighting?

There are various forms of lighting that are considered to be low energy however these vary greatly in performance.  All of them save considerable amounts of energy over tungsten and halogen lights.  However, technology has advanced greatly in the last few years.  As a result, we would now suggest LED lighting is the way forward.

A wide range of LED lights are available.  They have different appearances, colour profiles and intensity (brightness).  They also now vary considerably in efficiency.  Choosing the right light is important so don't be afraid to ask for help.  Nearly all bulb types, shapes and sizes are now available in LED forms.  This includes specialist lights for fridges, freezers, cooker hoods and the like.  You may also find that you need less light fittings to achieve the same effect.

LED lights are also available with other smart controls including timers, dimmers and colour changers.  Stair and hallway lights can also be fitted with automatic dawn to dusk nightlight functions to help young children and to improve fire safety.

LED bulbs normally operate at much lower temperatures than tungsten and halogen bulbs.  This makes them less likely to burn if touched and can also reduce fire risks.

Most LED lights have a very long lifespan and will typically last many years in normal use.

Other considerations

Don't just think about changing your indoor lighting and fixed fittings.  LED lighting is available for nearly all purposes.  Changing all your lighting can offer bigger savings.

Changing to LED Christmas lights can reduce the risk of fires and save you energy.  Keeping your electricity bill under control at Christmas is one less thing to worry about.

Replace boiler with new condensing boiler

Priority for Completion: Medium

This recommendation is triggered if the property has an old inefficient boiler.  The exact benefit will depend upon a wide range of factors including the age and model of the boiler being replaced, the model of the new boiler, the cost of the fuel and the occupancy of the home.  Generally, the more the heating system is used and the older the boiler being replaced, the bigger the savings will be.  However, boilers should always be professionally installed and may require a significant financial investment so we have rated this recommendation as being medium priority.  It is usually worth completing if it can be afforded and if the boiler being replaced is over ten years old.

Condensing boilers are modern highly efficient boilers.  The Energy Saving Trust estimate replacing an old G-rated non-condensing boiler with a new condensing boiler could save you as much as £310 a year.  You must also ensure that appropriate controls are installed to meet the current Building Regulations.

How do condensing boilers work?

Almost all new boilers are condensing.  You are probably wondering what is special about a condensing boiler.  You may also be wondering what is different between condensing boilers and older non-condensing boilers.

Condensing boilers are high-efficiency boilers.  They are a good choice if you are looking for a greener and more efficient boiler.   They should also be cheaper to run as you will use less fuel.

Condensing boilers are able to make better use of the heat they generate from burning fuels.  It doesn't matter what sort of fuel you are burning (whether its is gas, oil or even biomass).  In a non-condensing heat-only boiler, some heat is wasted in the form of hot gases released from the flue.  This is mainly in the form of steam released from the combustion process.  A condensing boiler captures some of the heat from these gases and uses it to heat water returning from your central heating system.  For the scientifically minded, the latent heat of vaporisation is captured from the steam by condensing it back into liquid water before it exits the exhaust.

Therefore, a condensing boiler requires less heat from the burner to provide the same heating effect in the property, making it more efficient.  A condensing boiler is typically at least 25% more efficient than a non-condensing model.

A non-condensing boiler will typically take air in from inside the room, whereas a condensing boiler will be fully sealed and takes in air directly from the outside.  Condensing boilers are also safer than non-condensing boilers, as there is a much lower risk of anything being sucked into the boiler.  They are also less likely to emit carbon monoxide into your home but must still be properly inspected and maintained to prevent this.

Replacing your boiler

If you are thinking of replacing an old boiler with a new one, you will be buying a new condensing boiler and gaining all of the efficiency savings that come with it.  Both combi and heat-only boilers can be either condensing or non-condensing.

Building Regulations now state that all new boilers installed in a domestic home should be high-efficiency condensing boilers, although exceptions do apply in very rare cases.  It is also a requirement that they are installed by a suitably qualified professional who should be registered with an appropriate industry scheme.  It is very dangerous to attempt this work if you are not fully competent and, if you are unable to prove the work was completed properly, it could affect your ability to sell your home in future.  Anyone carrying out work or maintenance of a gas system must be accredited with the Gas Safe Register throughout the UK.

Other considerations

If you decide to change your boiler, the work will be subject to Building Control.  Don't let this put you off, but it does mean it will have to be done properly.

In addition to changing your boiler, you may also have to make other improvements to your system at the same time.  This can include upgrading the controls you installed, which might mean adding programmers, thermostats, TRVs, weather compensators, smart controls, etc.  Your local authority or an expert installer will be able to provide specialist advice on this.

We also give all our clients this top tip:  Make sure you don't get given old stock!  A new boiler is a big investment so make sure you check the make and model of boiler that is being installed.  Make sure that it is a current model and meets the current efficiency standards.  we have found that unfortunately even some large installers will "use up" old stock which no longer meets the current standards if they think they can get away with it.  Always get at least three quotes before you have the work carried out as prices can vary significantly between different installers for the same work.

Replace boiler with new condensing boiler

Priority for Completion: Medium

This recommendation is triggered if the property has an old inefficient boiler.  The exact benefit will depend upon a wide range of factors including the age and model of the boiler being replaced, the model of the new boiler, the cost of the fuel and the occupancy of the home.  Generally, the more the heating system is used and the older the boiler being replaced, the bigger the savings will be.  However, boilers should always be professionally installed and may require a significant financial investment so we have rated this recommendation as being medium priority.  It is usually worth completing if it can be afforded and if the boiler being replaced is over ten years old.

Condensing boilers are modern highly efficient boilers.  The Energy Saving Trust estimate replacing an old G-rated non-condensing boiler with a new condensing boiler could save you as much as £310 a year.  You must also ensure that appropriate controls are installed to meet the current Building Regulations.

How do condensing boilers work?

Almost all new boilers are condensing.  You are probably wondering what is special about a condensing boiler.  You may also be wondering what is different between condensing boilers and older non-condensing boilers.

Condensing boilers are high-efficiency boilers.  They are a good choice if you are looking for a greener and more efficient boiler.   They should also be cheaper to run as you will use less fuel.

Condensing boilers are able to make better use of the heat they generate from burning fuels.  It doesn't matter what sort of fuel you are burning (whether its is gas, oil or even biomass).  In a non-condensing heat-only boiler, some heat is wasted in the form of hot gases released from the flue.  This is mainly in the form of steam released from the combustion process.  A condensing boiler captures some of the heat from these gases and uses it to heat water returning from your central heating system.  For the scientifically minded, the latent heat of vaporisation is captured from the steam by condensing it back into liquid water before it exits the exhaust.

Therefore, a condensing boiler requires less heat from the burner to provide the same heating effect in the property, making it more efficient.  A condensing boiler is typically at least 25% more efficient than a non-condensing model.

A non-condensing boiler will typically take air in from inside the room, whereas a condensing boiler will be fully sealed and takes in air directly from the outside.  Condensing boilers are also safer than non-condensing boilers, as there is a much lower risk of anything being sucked into the boiler.  They are also less likely to emit carbon monoxide into your home but must still be properly inspected and maintained to prevent this.

Replacing your boiler

If you are thinking of replacing an old boiler with a new one, you will be buying a new condensing boiler and gaining all of the efficiency savings that come with it.  Both combi and heat-only boilers can be either condensing or non-condensing.

Building Regulations now state that all new boilers installed in a domestic home should be high-efficiency condensing boilers, although exceptions do apply in very rare cases.  It is also a requirement that they are installed by a suitably qualified professional who should be registered with an appropriate industry scheme.  It is very dangerous to attempt this work if you are not fully competent and, if you are unable to prove the work was completed properly, it could affect your ability to sell your home in future.  Anyone carrying out work or maintenance of a gas system must be accredited with the Gas Safe Register throughout the UK.

Other considerations

If you decide to change your boiler, the work will be subject to Building Control.  Don't let this put you off, but it does mean it will have to be done properly.

In addition to changing your boiler, you may also have to make other improvements to your system at the same time.  This can include upgrading the controls you installed, which might mean adding programmers, thermostats, TRVs, weather compensators, smart controls, etc.  Your local authority or an expert installer will be able to provide specialist advice on this.

We also give all our clients this top tip:  Make sure you don't get given old stock!  A new boiler is a big investment so make sure you check the make and model of boiler that is being installed.  Make sure that it is a current model and meets the current efficiency standards.  we have found that unfortunately even some large installers will "use up" old stock which no longer meets the current standards if they think they can get away with it.  Always get at least three quotes before you have the work carried out as prices can vary significantly between different installers for the same work.

Room-in-roof insulation

Priority for Completion: Low

This recommendation is triggered when a room-in-roof style construction is present and there is no evidence of it having been insulated.  The exact benefit will depend upon a wide range of factors including the heating system, the cost of the fuel and the occupancy of the home together with the room's size and shape.  Generally, insulating a room-in-roof constructions can prevent a significant amount of heat lose from a property so the savings can be substantial.  Additionally, good design and insulation is likely to make the room more useable reducing the temperature during the summer.  However, installing room-in-roof insulation usually requires significant investment and works.  Typically, ceilings will have to be removed to fit new insulation.  There are also other factors to be considered so expert advice should be sought.  As such we have rated this as being a recommendation of low priority for completion.

However, where appropriate, we would strongly recommend that insulation is installed as part of any major home refurbishment.

What is internal wall insulation?

Room-in-roof insulation is usually applied to the internal surfaces of the structure.  Once applied it will be covered over, usually with plasterboard and plaster.  Many plasterboard panels are now available which come ready insulated on the reverse.

Obviously fitting internal insulation usually requires redecorating and may reduce room sizes depending upon the type and quantity of insulation installed.  The impact of this reduction is most significant in small rooms but is not likely to be a major consideration in larger spaces.  It will also require the removal and refitting of anything fitted to the walls being insulated which can be a particular consideration in rooms like kitchens.

Installing wall insulation

Insulating walls should not normally be attempted without obtaining professional expert advice.  Depending on the work undertaken it may be possible for someone with very good DIY skills to complete this task.

Other considerations

Depending upon the exact details of the work undertaken Building Control approval may be required.

Room-in-roof insulation

Priority for Completion: Low

This recommendation is triggered when a room-in-roof style construction is present and there is no evidence of it having been insulated.  The exact benefit will depend upon a wide range of factors including the heating system, the cost of the fuel and the occupancy of the home together with the room's size and shape.  Generally, insulating a room-in-roof constructions can prevent a significant amount of heat lose from a property so the savings can be substantial.  Additionally, good design and insulation is likely to make the room more useable reducing the temperature during the summer.  However, installing room-in-roof insulation usually requires significant investment and works.  Typically, ceilings will have to be removed to fit new insulation.  There are also other factors to be considered so expert advice should be sought.  As such we have rated this as being a recommendation of low priority for completion.

However, where appropriate, we would strongly recommend that insulation is installed as part of any major home refurbishment.

What is internal wall insulation?

Room-in-roof insulation is usually applied to the internal surfaces of the structure.  Once applied it will be covered over, usually with plasterboard and plaster.  Many plasterboard panels are now available which come ready insulated on the reverse.

Obviously fitting internal insulation usually requires redecorating and may reduce room sizes depending upon the type and quantity of insulation installed.  The impact of this reduction is most significant in small rooms but is not likely to be a major consideration in larger spaces.  It will also require the removal and refitting of anything fitted to the walls being insulated which can be a particular consideration in rooms like kitchens.

Installing wall insulation

Insulating walls should not normally be attempted without obtaining professional expert advice.  Depending on the work undertaken it may be possible for someone with very good DIY skills to complete this task.

Other considerations

Depending upon the exact details of the work undertaken Building Control approval may be required.

Solar photovoltaic panels

Priority for Completion: Low

This recommendation is triggered if the property potentially has appropriate roof space and photovoltaic panels are not already fitted.

Strictly speaking this is not an energy efficiency measure as it does not reduce the amount of energy your home uses.  Instead it produces electricity with a smaller carbon footprint than fossil fuel power stations.   As such, practicable energy efficiency improvements should be completed before solar panels are considered.  As a result we have rated this as being low priority and suggest it is only considered once other higher priority improvements have already been made.

What are photovoltaic panels?

Photovoltaic panels, often called solar panels or PV, use the energy from the sun to generate electricity.  This can be used within the property or fed back into the electricity grid.

Fitting photovoltaic panels

Installing this technology usually requires appropriate roof space.  You may also need planning and other consents.

Fitting this specialist technology requires expertise.  It must only be undertaken by suitably qualified professionals registered with an appropriate scheme.  All work undertaken will also be subject to Building Control and must meet the current Building regulations.

If you are considering installing solar water heating you will need to obtain specialist advice from an expert.

Other considerations

Renewable technologies like photovoltaic (PV) panels should generally only be fitted after fabric and service improvements have been completed.  It is best practice to reduce the energy demand first before producing energy with a smaller carbon footprint.

Previously this technology was heavily subsidised by government funding schemes.  However, the cost of this technology has reduced considerably in recent years and most of these schemes have now stopped.  Even so, where they are fitted appropriately photovoltaic panels are usually a cost effective sustainability measure.

Most of the cost benefits from PV panels now come from the electricity generated and used within the building.  It is therefore worthwhile considering battery storage systems as part of your system.

Solar photovoltaic panels

Priority for Completion: Low

This recommendation is triggered if the property potentially has appropriate roof space and photovoltaic panels are not already fitted.

Strictly speaking this is not an energy efficiency measure as it does not reduce the amount of energy your home uses.  Instead it produces electricity with a smaller carbon footprint than fossil fuel power stations.   As such, practicable energy efficiency improvements should be completed before solar panels are considered.  As a result we have rated this as being low priority and suggest it is only considered once other higher priority improvements have already been made.

What are photovoltaic panels?

Photovoltaic panels, often called solar panels or PV, use the energy from the sun to generate electricity.  This can be used within the property or fed back into the electricity grid.

Fitting photovoltaic panels

Installing this technology usually requires appropriate roof space.  You may also need planning and other consents.

Fitting this specialist technology requires expertise.  It must only be undertaken by suitably qualified professionals registered with an appropriate scheme.  All work undertaken will also be subject to Building Control and must meet the current Building regulations.

If you are considering installing solar water heating you will need to obtain specialist advice from an expert.

Other considerations

Renewable technologies like photovoltaic (PV) panels should generally only be fitted after fabric and service improvements have been completed.  It is best practice to reduce the energy demand first before producing energy with a smaller carbon footprint.

Previously this technology was heavily subsidised by government funding schemes.  However, the cost of this technology has reduced considerably in recent years and most of these schemes have now stopped.  Even so, where they are fitted appropriately photovoltaic panels are usually a cost effective sustainability measure.

Most of the cost benefits from PV panels now come from the electricity generated and used within the building.  It is therefore worthwhile considering battery storage systems as part of your system.

Solar water heating

Priority for Completion: Very Low

This recommendation is triggered if the property potentially has appropriate roof space and the technology is not already fitted.  The exact benefit will depend upon a wide range of factors including the heating systems, the cost of the fuel used, the occupancy of the home and the amount of hot water used.  Generally, the benefits are limited in relation to those offered by alternative technologies and the costs involved.  As a result we have rated this as being very low priority and suggest it is only considered once other higher priority improvements have already been made.

What is solar water heating?

Solar water heating, sometimes called solar thermal, uses the energy from the sun to pre-warm water.  This results in it requiring less energy from other sources to bring it up to the desired temperature.

Installing this technology requires a suitable storage tank and usually appropriate roof space.  You may also need planning and other consents.

Fitting solar water heating

Fitting this specialist technology requires expertise.  It should only be undertaken by suitably qualified professionals registered with an appropriate scheme.

If you are considering installing solar water heating you will need to obtain specialist advice from an expert.

Other considerations

If you are considering solar water heating you should also consider other alternative technologies.  This includes use of an air source heat pump which may be more effective and efficient.

Solar water heating

Priority for Completion: Very Low

This recommendation is triggered if the property potentially has appropriate roof space and the technology is not already fitted.  The exact benefit will depend upon a wide range of factors including the heating systems, the cost of the fuel used, the occupancy of the home and the amount of hot water used.  Generally, the benefits are limited in relation to those offered by alternative technologies and the costs involved.  As a result we have rated this as being very low priority and suggest it is only considered once other higher priority improvements have already been made.

What is solar water heating?

Solar water heating, sometimes called solar thermal, uses the energy from the sun to pre-warm water.  This results in it requiring less energy from other sources to bring it up to the desired temperature.

Installing this technology requires a suitable storage tank and usually appropriate roof space.  You may also need planning and other consents.

Fitting solar water heating

Fitting this specialist technology requires expertise.  It should only be undertaken by suitably qualified professionals registered with an appropriate scheme.

If you are considering installing solar water heating you will need to obtain specialist advice from an expert.

Other considerations

If you are considering solar water heating you should also consider other alternative technologies.  This includes use of an air source heat pump which may be more effective and efficient.

Wind turbine

Priority for Completion: Low

This recommendation is triggered if the assessment software considers it may be appropriate and a wind turbine is not already fitted to the building.

Strictly speaking this is not an energy efficiency measure as it does not reduce the amount of energy your home uses.  Instead it produces electricity with a smaller carbon footprint than fossil fuel power stations.   As such, practicable energy efficiency improvements should be completed before solar panels are considered.  As a result we have rated this as being low priority and suggest it is only considered once other higher priority improvements have already been made.

What is a wind turbine?

Wind turbines use the wind to generate electricity.  This can be used within the property or fed back into the electricity grid.

Fitting photovoltaic panels

Installing this technology usually requires appropriate space.  You are also likely to need planning and other consents.

Fitting this specialist technology requires expertise.  It must only be undertaken by suitably qualified professionals registered with an appropriate scheme.  All work undertaken will also be subject to Building Control and must meet the current Building regulations.

Other considerations

Renewable technologies like wind turbines should generally only be fitted after fabric and service improvements have been completed.  It is best practice to reduce the energy demand first before producing energy with a smaller carbon footprint.

The cost of wind turbines has reduced considerably in recent years and the potential of this technology is growing.  Most of the cost benefits now come from the electricity generated and used within the building.  It is therefore worthwhile considering battery storage systems as part of your system.

Wind turbine

Priority for Completion: Low

This recommendation is triggered if the assessment software considers it may be appropriate and a wind turbine is not already fitted to the building.

Strictly speaking this is not an energy efficiency measure as it does not reduce the amount of energy your home uses.  Instead it produces electricity with a smaller carbon footprint than fossil fuel power stations.   As such, practicable energy efficiency improvements should be completed before solar panels are considered.  As a result we have rated this as being low priority and suggest it is only considered once other higher priority improvements have already been made.

What is a wind turbine?

Wind turbines use the wind to generate electricity.  This can be used within the property or fed back into the electricity grid.

Fitting photovoltaic panels

Installing this technology usually requires appropriate space.  You are also likely to need planning and other consents.

Fitting this specialist technology requires expertise.  It must only be undertaken by suitably qualified professionals registered with an appropriate scheme.  All work undertaken will also be subject to Building Control and must meet the current Building regulations.

Other considerations

Renewable technologies like wind turbines should generally only be fitted after fabric and service improvements have been completed.  It is best practice to reduce the energy demand first before producing energy with a smaller carbon footprint.

The cost of wind turbines has reduced considerably in recent years and the potential of this technology is growing.  Most of the cost benefits now come from the electricity generated and used within the building.  It is therefore worthwhile considering battery storage systems as part of your system.