For all Landlords, in particular when lets are to students, all inclusive ASTs, or Flat Shares it is very important to try keep the costs down for pure profiteering reasons as well as doing our bit to be green. Being environmentally friendly in the long run really pays off financially and you can use being green as a marketing tool also. Being green can be expensive but there are a few cheap alternatives that can really have a big impact.
Here are our Top Tips…
- Give your property an energy-efficiency audit. Answer a quick questionnaire on the Energy Saving Trust’s site:energysavingtrust.org.uk/home_ improvements . This has easy steps and can help you to search for grants.
- Switch to energy-saving bulbs. They cost £2-3, but last eight times longer than ordinary bulbs. The Energy Saving Trust says that replacing an old 100W bulb with a 20W green bulb should save you £7 a year: not much, until you add up the number of bulbs in your property.
- Insulate the easy way. Installing the recommended 270mm of loft insulation alone can save you £110 a year. It costs an average of £250 if you lay it yourself, and you should get your money back within a couple of years. If your house was built after 1920, a third of heating is lost through the walls. Cavity wall insulation can save you £90 a year: and costs about £500 for a three-bedroom semi.
- DIY with a difference. Cut the cost of going green by taking advantage of some of the special offers through the bank holiday and summer. Homebase regularly does 10% off days and B&Q has lots of half price deals this bank holiday weekend.
- Draught-proof those gaps. Another easy DIY task is blocking the cold air that passes around doors and windows. You can use self-adhesive foam strips, rubber strips, brush strips, which are useful on patio doors, and silicone rubber sealant, great for irregular gaps. Kits for sash windows are available fromwww.heritagesashwindow.co.uk orwww.alphasash.co.uk for about £85. However, good ventilation is important to prevent humidity from building up and essential if you have a gas fire in a room.
- Think soft furnishings. Gauzy curtains and carpeted floor are back, which will help to retain heat. If you must have bare wood, timber floors can be insulated by laying mineral wool under the floorboards.
- Double glazing. This can cut heat loss by half, but fitting it is best left to the professionals. The most efficient windows carry the Energy Saving Recommended logo.
- Save Water. About 40 per cent of water used daily in the home goes down the pan. A low flow toilet reduces this, and recycling systems for rainwater can cut mains water usage by half, according to Freerain.co.uk . However, the cost for a three-bed semi is about £2,245 plus VAT, fitting it a further £2,500. A garden water butt costs from £20 at Homebase.
- Combi-boilers that heat water as and when used, saves on wasted heated water.
- Strict guidelines in your AST contracts banning the use of electric heaters, and other high wattage appliances.
- Install fire safety door closers, this may be a requirement for fire regulations but also keeps heat in individual rooms and prevents draughts and hence heat loss.
- Trap the sun. Solar panels will heat up your water, but photovoltaic (PV) panels can convert the sun’s energy directly into electricity. Solar water heating systems cost from £3,200 to £4,500 to install, although DIY kits are available online from about £2,500 (see Solartwin.com ). PV systems can cost between £7,500 and £24,000 to install. Although this seems as bit much to spend on an investment property, unless you want to have a very eco-friendly, almost self powered property.
Being green is a growing theme in the media in recent times, there is a great deal of positive action one can take to make our lives and businesses more environmentally friendly. Be careful though, there is a lot of gimmicks in the market place and many are starting to make a lot of money using being green as a marketing tool.
Overall top tip is move in a green direction, in the long run you can save money and also make money if you market it the right way. Your property can be a more attractive proposal to young eco conscious professionals and student, there is even a possibility to charge a small premium.
Go Get Green.