Energy-saving home improvements for your holiday let

Energy-saving home improvements for your holiday let

Back to Owner advice

 When designing your holiday let, energy efficiency should be a key consideration, not only because it’s good for the environment, but it makes financial sense too. 

There are various factors that influence your property’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and therefore the cost to run the property from an energy viewpoint.* 

If you're looking for how to make buildings more energy-efficient, these tips, provided by UP Energy, will help you maximise the efficiency of your holiday let, and could help save you money. 


What is an EPC rating?

An EPC is an energy performance certificate; it rates how energy-efficient a building is on a sliding scale. A is the best and means the building is very energy efficient, whereas, at the opposite end, G is inefficient. 

An EPC can be determined after an assessment by a qualified energy assessor, who can also include tips on the best and most cost-effective ways to improve your building's energy efficiency. 

In April 2018, a new Government standard made it unlawful to rent out a property with an EPC rating of F or G (unless an exemption is in place). 

Before carrying out any improvements, contact a qualified energy assessor to discuss the impact any refurbishment work will have on the EPC rating.

How to improve the EPC rating of your holiday let

As well as making smaller improvements to save money on your energy bill, there are many larger energy-efficient home improvements than you can make to your holiday let if you're looking for ways to make your home more eco-friendly. 

Not only are these great ways to improve energy efficiency at home, and therefore reduce your EPC rating, but they could also save you money and help the planet too.

Insulate your roof

Insulate your roof

If the property has a pitched roof with a flat ceiling, it should be possible to lay insulation between and over the joists to reduce heat escaping upwards. Mineral wool insulation can be sourced from hardware stores, is inexpensive and, in most instances, would not require a professional installer. Look to include 250mm of insulation, though if that is not achievable, a little bit of insulation is definitely better than none!

Insulate your walls

Once you've looked at heat escaping through the roof, it's time to look at the other culprit - walls. Properties built before the mid-1980s are unlikely to have cavity wall insulation unless already retrofitted. Adding insulation could significantly reduce heat loss from the building. This would need to be done professionally and advice should be sought before undertaking works to ensure the building will not be unduly affected. Alternative wall options are internal or external insulation; these are likely to be costlier and more disruptive but could be considered during a refurbishment and can be applied to solid walls or cavity walls.

Double glazing

Look at glazing and doors

With the roof and the walls suitably insulated, you'll want to prevent heat loss from draughty doors and windows. Double glazing is not only better insulated to help retain heat, but will also be better draught proofed and will block out external noise more. If double glazing is not an option, installing secondary glazing will help. Metallic strips can even be applied around the frame internally and temporary perspex sheets ‘stuck’ on to help retain heat during the winter. Draught proofing of single glazed windows and doors is another good option to consider.

Overhaul your heating system

A high efficiency, modern gas boiler and radiator or underfloor heating system is one of the most cost-effective heating solutions for a domestic property. For properties that are not on the mains gas grid, LPG and oil are alternative solutions, however, they are typically more expensive fuels. They also create more carbon dioxide emissions during combustion and will give a worse EPC rating, when compared to mains gas. For new installations, consider an air source heat pump, which runs off electricity but is highly efficient. Grants/tariffs may also be available when using this type of system. Modern electric panel heaters can be controlled reasonably well and are efficient but are costly to run, due to the kWh price of electricity. Modern combination heaters (instant and night storage) are cheaper to run, so long as the correct tariff is used.

Install heating controls 

As well as overhauling your heating system, adding the ability to easily control the heating system - and only heat rooms you're using - is important in reducing energy consumption and bills. For typical wet radiator systems, ensure there is a modern programmer, ideally with a room thermostat and TRVs (thermostatic radiator valves) on the radiators. For even better control, add an additional programmer that could, for example, mean the upstairs and downstairs are independently controlled, perhaps delaying the heating of the upstairs rooms, typically bedrooms, until later in the evening and at a slightly cooler temperature.

Hot water

Change how you get hot water

As part of looking at your heating system, you will inevitably be analysing how you heat the water in your holiday let. Combination boilers reduce heat loss from hot water storage, but in larger or older properties where a hot water cylinder may be present, or where an immersion heater is currently installed, ensure the cylinder is well insulated. If the cylinder is old with a loose jacket around it, consider replacing it with a modern unit that has factory-applied foam insulation within the casing. Add a thermostat to the cylinder, if not already in place, to ensure the water is not being heated excessively and unnecessarily.

Choose low-energy lighting

LED lighting is very popular now and the cost of the lamps has come down significantly compared to a few years ago. A typical, tungsten lamp in the home would be between 40W – 60W, whereas the LED equivalent is 6W – 10W, making LEDs typically 75% – 90% more efficient.

Solar panels

Introduce renewable energy systems

After looking at how you're heating your home, you may decide you want to switch to more sustainable methods. Solar PV to generate electricity or solar thermal to generate hot water are good options to reduce energy consumption. Typically, panels are situated on a roof, but ground-mounted arrays are possible. Currently, there is still a feed-in tariff for both solar PV and wind turbines, whereby a small payment is received per kWh of electricity generated - but you will need to use a certified installer. 

* Some measures will have more impact than others, and payback periods will vary on the upgrade and also the property itself.

This article was supplied by UP Energy and The Travel Chapter cannot accept any liability for the content.

Up Energy 12 Seaward Park, Clyst St George,
Exeter, Devon, EX3 0FA
[email protected]

To get your free comprehensive owner's guide or to talk to one of our local experts