A country cottage in need of restoration

CONSTRUCTION: Detached solid stone and brick cottage. No gas to property.

KEY FEATURES: loft, floor and internal wall insulation, efficient storage heaters, double glazing.

NUMBER OF BEDROOMS: 3

We are helping landlords to improve the energy efficiency of their rental properties in advance of new energy efficiency legislation due in April 2018, which sets a minimum standard of grade E for Energy Performance Certificates in the private rented sector.

We were approached by a landlord with an unmodernised country cottage, where the former tenant had lived for 57 years. This gave us a “blank canvas” and the opportunity to advise on refurbishing the property from scratch.

Energy Performance Certificate

We surveyed the property and produced a draft EPC which formed a starting point for tackling the issues which compromised its energy efficiency. Whilst the software used in EPCs generates recommendations, it will not recommend improvements which involve “major” building works such as installing a loft hatch and insulating the roof space above. This is where a comprehensive site visit is essential because the combination of EPC generated recommendations and an understanding of the type of work the landlord is willing and able to do, is essential. We provided three options for improvement and the client chose the option which provided the highest rating.

A before and after EPC showed that the improvements had vastly improved the energy rating from 8 (G ) to 48 (E).

Loft insulation

There was no access to the roof space, therefore no loft insulation. It was easy to create a loft hatch and to insulate between and above the ceiling joists with 250mm rockwool insulation. The sloping ceiling in the rear bedroom was insulated with 100mm insulation.

Floor insulation

As the cottage was being completely renovated, it was an opportunity to insulate the floors to the lounge, hall and study with 100mm phenolic board (Celotex or similar)

Wall insulation

Again an easy job when the building is being modernised and needs re-plastering anyway, the walls were dry-lined with insulated plasterboard and additional insulation.

Heating and hot water

The only fixed heating in the cottage had been an old log burner, with hot water provided by an immersion heater. With no gas to the property, the easiest effective heating improvement was to fit efficient high heat retention Quantum storage heaters with sophisticated self-learning controls, along with a dual electric meter to take advantage of a low night-time tariff. Additional electric room heaters with programmers and appliance thermostats were also provided. The hot water cylinder was also insulated.

Double glazing

The old windows were replaced with double glazed units.

Lighting

All the fixed lighting outlets were fitted with low energy lamps.

“I now have a property which is not only economical to run but is also highly desirable and commands a high value rental income”