More and more consumers are now looking for better ways to increase their energy efficiency, and here at ElectricalDirect we’ve certainly seen a rise in the number of requests for products that meet current EU guidelines on energy efficiency (for example, Lot 20 compliant heaters, LED lighting and solar lighting). Here we’re focussing on the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) – this came into effect from 1 April 2018, but it seems many contractors are not fully aware of this and what it means. Let’s take a look at the legislation and how it will affect you and your customers.
The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) Regulations 2015 are designed to tackle the least energy-efficient properties in England and Wales, or those rated F or G on their Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). From 1 April 2018, all rented property (domestic and non-domestic) which is to have a new tenancy must have an EPC rating of at least E. From 1 April 2020, all domestic property (including existing tenancies) must have the minimum E rating and landlords will not legally be allowed to let a property without this EPC rating, even if it is already occupied – which will potentially have huge repercussions on the rental market. Non-compliance of the regulations could see penalties of over £2,000, so it’s important to get ahead on the regulations and what they will mean for your customers.
The good news for landlords is that the current regulations are based on a principle of ‘no cost to the landlord’, which means that landlords of F or G rated homes will only be required to make improvements where they can do so entirely using third party finance from one or more sources. The Green Deal Finance option, which was introduced in 2013, can be used to cover some or all the costs of compliance, so there’s really no excuse for ignoring the legislation.
So, what does this mean for landlords and contractors? Examples of improvement recommendations would be draught proofing, roof insulation and low energy lighting. Simple measures like replacing all the old incandescent or halogen lamps with more energy efficient LED lamps could save around £35 per year, plus they’re longer lasting too (up to 20 years per lamp). Installing motion sensors or timer switches can save even more money, and means customers don’t have to remember to switch them off. Even better, smart lighting offers control from a smartphone so customers can turn the lights on or off from wherever they are. Smart sockets are simple to retrofit and easy to use, and are becoming more and more popular with consumers looking for energy efficient solutions.
Small upgrades to an existing heating system can make a big difference to energy costs and ratings. Installing TRVs on radiators means more control over which rooms are being heated and minimises heat wastage in unoccupied rooms. Smart thermostats offer even more flexibility and enable the user to control their heating from a smartphone wherever they are. They are easy to set up and could provide big savings on energy bills in the long term.
Electric heaters have come a long way in recent years, and many now include energy efficient features such as timers, Adaptative Start and Open Window Detection, which makes them compliant to the Lot 20 legislation that came into effect from January 2018. These heaters include smart features which mean that the heater, rather than the user, decides when to turn on to ensure the target temperature is reached at exactly the right time. They will also adjust their temperature automatically if they detect a window or door has been opened, to conserve energy. For homes where panel heaters are the main source of heating, these are a fantastic option that will save customers money in the long term, and many are even suitable for use in bathrooms.
Given that the legislation comes into effect for all rental properties in April 2020, now is a great time to get a head start and make sure your customers are up to date - landlords who have already made steps to improve the energy efficiency of their properties will gain a distinct advantage over those who haven’t. For more information on the MLEE Legislation, visit the Government website here.