Will 2021 be the year of green housing and property improvements?
Posted on Wednesday, February 3, 2021
With the Green Homes Grant in place and interest in green housing increasing, there are many benefits for landlords investing in eco-friendly properties.
Near the end of 2020, the government announced an extension to the Green Homes Grant. This scheme allows property owners to apply for a grant to make energy efficiency improvements to their properties. The scheme funds up to two thirds of the improvement costs, up to the value of £5,000 per household.
Homeowners and landlords have until 31st March 2022 to get their upgrades completed. The renovations undertaken under this scheme must increase the energy efficiency of the property. For example, a few qualifying green home improvements include insulation, heating, draught-proofing and double and triple glazing. In addition, renewable energy features, like heat pumps and solar panels, are also eligible upgrades.
“If you are looking to improve the energy efficiency of your home, a good first step would be to review your property’s heating system. Old-fashioned heating systems will send utility bills rocketing and have a high carbon footprint. To reduce both, consider installing an Air Source or Ground Source Heat Pump.”
Making energy efficiency improvements more accessible
On 4th January, the government made welcomed changes to the Green Homes Grant to help landlords and homeowners struggling to find installers. All installers must have TrustMark status.
However, subcontractors are no longer required to be PAS or MCS certified and TrustMark registered. Although, any subcontracted work needs to still follow relevant MCS and PAS requirements.
Meera Chindooroy, deputy director of campaigns at NRLA, comments: “We have had an incredible amount of interest from our members following the Green Homes Grant announcement. However, we heard from a large proportion of members who said they were having huge problems finding local installers with capacity to carry out the work and this was causing a backlog.
Green property improvements to reduce energy bills
The Green Homes Grant scheme provides a unique opportunity to invest in green home improvements. Over the next 12 months, almost 84% of homeowners in Britain plan to make energy efficiency improvements to their property, according to research by City Plumbing.
Nearly 53% of households plan to invest in green measures specifically to reduce energy bills. And the most preferred home improvements include upgrades to cavity wall, loft and underfloor insulation.
Evan Maindonald explains: “Improving insulation can have a significant impact on your property’s energy use. There is a wide variety of insulation materials available, each of which offers different benefits and suits different budgets.
“If you’re looking for something affordable that, at the same time, is environmentally friendly, you might want to consider cellulose insulation. This material is particularly well suited to insulation of floors, walls and roofs.”
Why should landlords invest in ‘green’ rental properties?
There are many benefits for landlords to invest in green housing. For a limited time, landlords can apply for the Green Homes Grant to help them save money on energy efficiency improvements. This will help landlords make their buy-to-lets more appealing and add value to their properties. This could also in turn help improve the standards of the private rented sector.
As tenants are staying in their rental homes for longer, tenants are expecting more from their rental properties. Landlords who invest more in their properties and offer space that caters for their target tenant are seeing the most success. With environmental issues at the top of many people’s mind, green housing is appealing to a wide range of tenants.
Additionally, most of us have spent more time in our homes due to the successive COVID-19 lockdowns. Because of that, many of our household bills have increased. Landlords can now use eco-properties and energy efficiency improvements as selling points for tenants. This is likely to be especially appealing for tenants who will continue working from home post-Covid.
On top of that, green mortgages are growing in popularity and offering savings. The mortgages give borrowers special rates linked directly to the energy performance of their properties. This provides an added financial incentive for landlords and investors to focus on green credentials.
The benefits of new-build properties
Most new-build homes have the top EPC ratings of A or B. For people living in a home with the highest rating, annual energy bills are substantially cheaper. Additionally, running the property is much more environmentally friendly, and the property often needs less upkeep.
As a whole, the UK’s carbon footprint could be reduced significantly through better housing. With a target of getting to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, Britain plans to build backgreener in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Focusing on the development of new-builds with high energy efficiency standards could even play an important part in the UK’s economic recovery from coronavirus. On top of that, improving the UK’s green credentials will boost the housing market and private rented sector.
“We welcome the Green Homes Grant scheme and would like to see it extended as it allows current and future homeowners to make their homes more environmentally friendly.”