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How much does it cost to make a home more energy efficient?

Sponsored feature | Rachel Sackel, Mortgage Advice Bureau

Rachel Sackel, Mortgage Advice Bureau
Rachel Sackel, Mortgage Advice Bureau

With winter here and energy prices increasing, it may be time to consider making your home more energy efficient.

According to recent research, eight out of 10 people in the UK say the energy efficiency of their next home purchase is more important than ever. Some of this comes from concerns over the cost of energy, while others are more conscious of climate change because of associated high-profile events, such as COP26.

No matter the reason, it’s important to understand the financial implications of making improvements to your home.

What’s involved in making your home more energy efficient?

One of the first things you need to look at is the roof, your walls and your doors. You’ll need to ensure these are properly insulated, with the most cost-effective way to approach the problem being the ‘fabric first’ method.

You may also need to look at upgrading or improving heating systems, window glazing and lighting.

It can feel overwhelming trying to understand what needs to happen in your home to make it more efficient, but you should have a handy guide already available.

Using your EPC as a guide

Your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is useful for more than just telling you how energy efficient your home is. It’s also helpful to tell you what you can do to improve it.

Of course, numbers on a piece of paper mean nothing unless you can take steps to change them, which is why all EPC reports must come with a recommendations section. These will be listed in order of importance and an indicative cost.

These figures will be based on averages (as will the numbers below), but it’s still an excellent tool for planning and budgeting your energy efficiency improvements.

With winter here and energy prices increasing, it may be time to consider making your home more energy efficient.
With winter here and energy prices increasing, it may be time to consider making your home more energy efficient.

The cost of making your home more energy efficient

It’s difficult to place an exact figure as everyone’s homes and needs are different. There will also be some variation based on the area you’re in, so it’s important to factor this in when you’re doing your calculations.

The below figures are based on information gathered from various trade sites and are as up-to-date as possible, although with the changes in inflation and interest, there may be differences in what you’re quoted.

Wall insulation: Wall insulation may include both interior and exterior, or just one of the two, and the cost will vary depending on what you need and the size of your home. The average costs for external wall insulation are:

  • Detached homes - £17,500
  • Semi-detached - £9,000
  • Mid-terrace - £7,000

According to Checkatrade, the average cost for solid-wall insulation is around £5,000-£10,400.

Floor insulation: Like most things home associated, floor insulation comes with varying costs, depending not only on the size of your home but the type of flooring you already have installed. The average cost is around £8000, though that could go down to around £500 based on the materials you choose.

Roof and loft insulation: Roof and loft insulation could set you back anywhere from £9 per sq m up to £600 for the whole loft, depending on the level of insulation you need. If you’re looking for a quick and easy win, soft insulation is your best bet, as it’s only a loose fill fabric. However, if you want to see a notable difference, then you’ll likely need to look at quilt insulation, which is on the upper end of cost (although that includes labour).

Improve windows and doors: Replacing or upgrading your doors and windows has a few benefits - namely, it means your home is warmer and will have fewer cold spots. They also help to keep your home quieter, as they insulate against external noise, while energy-efficient glazing helps reduce the build-up of condensation on the inside of your windows.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, the average cost for a set of A-rated windows is around £7,500 for a semi-detached house. This could save you up to £195 and reduce your carbon footprint by about 330kg each year.

Replacing your boiler: When you’re looking at a new boiler, you can expect to pay £600-£2,500, depending on the heating requirements of your home and the type of boiler. With eco-friendly boilers, remember to look out for A-rated products or higher.

A new combi boiler, which heats your home and provides hot water, is far more energy efficient than other boiler types. They are a bit more expensive, and could cost anywhere from £1,500 to £3,500.

Draught proofing: Draught proofing is definitely one of the more affordable options for improving energy efficiency. As a quick win, it’s worth having it done - you will probably be able to turn your thermostat down a little, saving you extra money over the cooler seasons.

Professional draught proofing could cost around £2,250 for the entire house. It is something you can DIY and will be cheaper that way, but some homes, especially ones with single-glazed windows, will be more challenging to draught-proof.

Energy-efficient lighting: One of the primary reasons people choose to replace bulbs with LED options is to save money - they are inherently more energy efficient. They last longer and are cheaper to run, so it’s a win-win.

Costs vary but you can find affordable bulbs in packs of varying sizes. Make sure you’re getting the right fittings and wattage for your light fixtures. To work out a cost, simply take the cost of a bulb and multiply it by the number of lights you want to change in your home.

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Grants and schemes available

While draught proofing and LED bulbs may be affordable options for many, the rest of the cost to make a home more energy-efficient can be a burden. The Green Homes grant was an example of how the government aimed to help home owners retrofit their homes, but that unfortunately closed in 2021.

Other examples of green grants and schemes available to the public include:

  • Help to Heat - delivered through installers, local authorities and energy companies
  • The Boiler Upgrade Scheme - running until 2025
  • The Home Upgrade Grant - available to low-income households living in the worst performing homes
  • The Energy Company Obligation - a way for energy suppliers to help households reduce the costs of their heating with energy-saving measures.

Hopefully, there will be more grants and schemes available as public interest in green living increases. There are calls out for the government to replace the Green Homes scheme, so we may need to just watch this space.

Find further guidance

There are several ways you can invest in a more energy efficient property. The first is buying a home that’s already geared for efficiency, but in most cases this isn’t strictly realistic.

One of the best things you can do is invest in the property you have and find ways to make your home more eco-friendly and efficient. This may involve saving for a while to make the improvements, or remortgaging to release equity to carry out renovations.

It’s worth speaking to an expert before you make any major decisions. Get in touch with one of our advisers today - they can help you make the right decisions for your home and circumstances. Call 07375 886347 or visit our website at mortgageadvicebureau.com/cambridge.

Because we play by the book we want to tell you that your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up with repayments on your mortgage. There may be a fee for mortgage advice. The actual amount you pay will depend upon your circumstances, but a typical fee is up to 1 per cent of the amount borrowed.

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