Easy steps towards energy efficiency

Energy efficiency measures play an important role in reducing carbon dioxide emissions produced in the home. Even derelict and dilapidated properties can become energy efficient through sympathetic renovation.

Unlike some lenders, we also consider back-to-back properties as being suitable for upgrading, since the nature of their design gives them a head start in the energy efficiency stakes.

So next time you are approached with renovation projects, there are a number of issues you should discuss with your clients. Here are a few of the features that will make properties more efficient and cheaper to run:

• Replacing old boilers with more efficient condensing boilers.

• Upgrading the controls for boilers and hot water cylinders and fit thermostatic valves on radiators.

• Insulating hot water cylinders and pipework, especially between boilers and cylinders.

• Installing reflective foil behind radiators on external walls.

• Draught-proofing doors, windows and unsealed openings such as chimneys and ensure controlled ventilation is introduced to prevent condensation.

• Upgrading loft insulation to a depth of 200mm using natural materials such as recycled newspaper or sheep’s wool.

• Insulating external walls where possible, not forgetting that grants may be available for cavity wall insulation.

• Fitting timber framed double-glazed windows with low E glass, or install secondary glazing.

• Using low-energy light bulbs.

• Buying A-rated appliances, such as washing machines and fridge freezers.

And it doesn’t stop there. Britons use an average of 150 litres of water per person per day, and demand is increasing. So there are measures that can be included in renovations to reduce water usage. Your clients should consider:

• Fitting low-flush or dual-flush WCs when replacing existing toilets.

• Fitting water saving devices into existing WC cisterns.

• Fitting aerated heads on basin taps and shower heads.

• Collecting as much rainwater as possible for use in the garden and create gardens that require less water by using drought-resistant plants.

Used individually, any of these measures could have a positive impact, but combined they will significantly in-crease energy efficiency and deliver savings. Providers of truly green mortgages are likely to provide rate-based incentives to clients who incorporate such measures into their plans, so doing your research can yield benefits.