What renters can do to improve their energy efficiency
There are many positives and negatives that come with renting a house, and each rental agreement differs from another. When it comes to energy bills, in some cases they’re included at a fixed price, and in other cases it’s up to the tenant to pay their bills.
The climate crisis
It’s becoming less popular for landlords to include the energy in the rent because as we all know the cost of energy is increasing! If you do pay an all-inclusive rent you may be less motivated to improve your energy efficiency as it’s not saving you any money, but reducing energy usage also reduces impact on the environment. Did you know that our energy consumption and production is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and so, also to the climate emergency! Although you may not be immediately saving money if you improve your energy efficiency and your landlord covers the energy bills, you may be able to agree to a rebate linked to using less energy than expected - it can’t hurt to ask!
If you’re a tenant paying energy bills on top of your rent, there are more obvious motivations for you to improve your energy efficiency. It’s a great time to improve your energy efficiency as wasting energy is only going to get more expensive for the time being, and reducing environmental impact is an aim we should all have.
The big energy savers
Although there are many ways tenants can improve their energy efficiency, some of the bigger, more invasive changes - like solar panels, home battery, wall insulation and a heat pump - aren’t options. That said, there’s no harm in suggesting them to your landlord as they may not be aware of the potential benefits or indeed their responsibility to make their property more energy efficient. By 2025 rental properties must have an EPC rating of C or above, so all landlords should be already looking for ways to improve the energy efficiency of their properties.
Free energy savers
Big changes aside, there are many changes that a tenant can adopt to improve their energy efficiency. Here are some energy saving tips that cost you nothing:
- Scrutinise your EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating before moving in. An EPC measures the energy performance of a property on a scale of A-G, if your rating is below a C it means your house is not very energy efficient and you may be paying more than you should for your bills. If your preferred property does have a low rating then you could ask your landlord to consider some energy efficiency measures before you move in. Also, ask your landlord how old the house appliances are - old, inefficient appliances will cost you more. Choosing A-rated appliances or advising the landlord to choose A-rated appliances when replacing. These appliances are energy-efficient and you will see how much energy they use on their energy label.
- If you measure it, you can control it. Install a smart meter - this allows you to use a free app like Loop to track your energy usage. It’s also free to install so just ask your energy supplier!
- Get familiar with your ‘Phantom Load’, measure it and reduce it, it’s an easy save! Phantom Load is the name for the 'always on' appliances which account for around 30% of an average energy bill. These aren't only things that are left on stand-by, but also appliances that are just left on in the background - like extra fridges, home computers and laptops, underfloor heating, smart home devices, set top boxes, games consoles and heated towel rails. If you're not careful it's all too easy for the cost of these hidden extras to add up.
- The energy markets aren’t normal at the moment - there are no cheap, fixed tariffs available and all variable tariffs are at the maximum price cap level. We’re all hoping this situation improves over the next 12 months. As and when it does, it will be worth shopping around to find a tariff and a supplier that suits your needs best. This may be a fixed price tariff offering lower unit costs or a new, smart tariff that reflects your lifestyle choices, for example, an Electric Vehicle (EV) tariff that offers cheaper charging for EV owners.
Small lifestyle changes that save you loads
And here are some other top tips that could also help you save energy:
- If you have a free-standing fridge/fridge-freezer, make sure there is adequate space behind it and keep it dust-free. This allows air to circulate around it and ensures it can run efficiently.
- Sticking with the cold theme, keep your freezer and fridge sufficiently full - this allows it to retain the cold better, meaning less energy is needed to maintain the temperature. The appliance has to work much harder to cool an empty space.
- Use the correct hob when cooking on the stove, a small pot only needs a small hob, using a large hob will waste gas.
- In the winter, dust your radiators and try not to put furniture in front of it. This way the heat can circulate in the room and the radiator won’t have to be on for as long.
- You should also bleed your radiators - this gets rid of any air, which will limit their heating capacity.
- And lastly, the obvious good housekeeping advice…Turn appliances off when they’re not being used, avoid leaving windows open when your heating is on, only boil as much water as you need, and do your washing at 30 degrees.
Also, did you know that legally, the energy usage data is yours, because you use it, not the landlord, regardless of who pays the bills. Therefore you have access to all the tools you need to double down on energy use. As we said at the start - if you measure it, you can control it.
• • •
With Loop, you can find out how you use electricity, then make smart decisions about using less.
Got a smart meter? Great news! Link the Loop app and enjoy full access to all Loop benefits for free, no purchase required.