In the last year, energy prices have soared. As a result, you may be thinking about how you can reduce your usage or improve how efficient your home is.

The conflict in Ukraine has had a knock-on effect on energy prices around the world.

While the energy price cap limits the amount your supplier can charge if you’re on a default tariff, it has recently increased significantly. In April 2022 the cap increased by 54%, to around £1,970 a year for a typical household.

Energy regulator Ofgem expects the price cap to rise by a further 65% in October. This would make the price cap around £3,244. Unsurprisingly, the rise has led to more families taking a closer look at their household budget.

22% of homeowners plan to make green improvements in the next 12 months

One response to rising energy prices is more homeowners reviewing the steps they can take to make their homes greener.

According to a tracker from NatWest, 22% of homeowners said they plan to make green home improvements to their property in the first quarter of 2022. This is an increase from 16% in the previous quarter. Some 63% are also planning to make home improvements to boost energy efficiency in the next decade.

Energy efficiency is a priority among aspiring buyers, too. More than a third of people said a property’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating was a very important factor when choosing a home.

So, making energy-efficient changes to your home could reduce your bills and make it more attractive to buyers if you sell it.

How to assess how energy-efficient your home is now

If you’re not sure how efficient your home is or what steps you can take to improve it, an EPC report or thermal imaging camera is a good place to start.

  • EPC report: An EPC tells you how energy efficient a building is and gives it a rating between A (very efficient) to G (inefficient). It will also tell you how much your energy bills are likely to be and what rating the property could reach if you made the recommended improvements. You must have an EPC if you want to sell or rent out your home. You will need to arrange a property assessment if you want a new EPC.
  • Thermal imaging camera: A thermal imaging camera is a great tool for visualising how and where your property is losing heat. It will produce a multicoloured image that will show you heat loss, whether it’s through the roof or your windows. You may be able to rent out the equipment from a local organisation, and some are free to use, or you can pay for a survey that includes one.

It’s not uncommon to find that properties, particularly older ones, are inefficient. According to the Office for National Statistics, the median energy efficiency for dwellings in England was 66. This is equivalent to an EPC rating of D. Just 1 in 10 local authorities have more than half of their dwellings rated C or above.

Once you understand how your property is performing now, you can make improvements based on an EPC report or thermal imaging camera, allowing you to target areas that will have the largest effect.

If you use a thermal imaging camera, you can pinpoint which areas of your home could benefit from improved insulation or where upgrades to doors and windows will be useful. An EPC report may also highlight how adding renewable energy sources, like solar panels or a ground source heat pump, upgrading your boiler or switching to low-energy lightbulbs could improve energy efficiency.

While steps like these can improve your home’s energy efficiency, it often requires investing in your home to save money in the long run.

Funding your energy-efficient plans

While you may want to take on home improvement projects to reduce your outgoings, the initial cost can be high.

The NatWest research found that 72% of households that currently have no plan about how to pay for the improvements said that cost was a barrier. As a homeowner, you may have several options for borrowing the money you need to carry out the work. This could be through a home improvement loan or increasing your mortgage.

You should think carefully before increasing your debt level and keep in mind that you will have to pass affordability checks. However, it could provide you with a way to boost your home’s energy efficiency sooner.

Please note: This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

Think carefully before securing other debts against your home.

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