Pace of Change Increases


We had hoped the MEES (Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard) consultation would be launched in time for this months newsletter, but while it is imminent, it is not out yet.

What we can say is that the pace of change is increasing. In our heading block above, we talk about EPC C or better by 2030, yet over the past month we have heard government suggest that this may be brought forward to 2028 and we have also heard suggestions that gas boilers will need to be phased out completely in a similar timeframe.

What Do We Know? 

Short answer - at the moment - is nothing.

Until the consultation is published and all of the affected groups  have their say, this is all speculation but the direction of travel is clear - all that needs to be defined is the speed with which these changes will arrive, and based on recent experience targets will get more aggressive as time passes.

It is like electric car adoption or Smartphones - one day no one has one and the next, you are the only one that doesn't  (on the electric car front, 40% of PDPLA directors have made the switch, have you?). So what should you be doing?

As we said last month, we need a 'whole house' approach based on a full energy audit but there are some obvious considerations if you are doing any work on your properties:

- Insulation : Having significant loft insulation (think 12-18 inches not crushed under whatever you stored up there) is a minimum, but soon we need to be thinking of moving to external cladding coupled with warm roof implementations.  With our old terraced houses, we may need a coordinated solution as whole terraces are clad at the same time (and we don't envy local councils with coordinating that task) but if you are having any roof work done or building works on semi or fully detached properties, it is worth talking to your surveyor about options to minimise repeating any of the work in 5 or 10 years time.

- Heating : We all know gas boilers have had their day. The big question is whether now is the time to switch to a heat pump or other source of heating. This year, you are probably safe to replace old gas boilers (and if they are older than 7-8 years they are probably not condensing boilers so it is worth making the change as the new ones are so much more efficient), but with a life expectancy of 7-10 years, rest assured these will probably be the last gas boilers you ever buy - so if you are having electrical work done, make sure you have a spare circuit of at least 32 amp capability running to the site of your boiler, ready for its replacement whatever that may be,

- Windows & Doors : Many of us have properties with 40 year old double glazing. The hinges and fittings, especially those which are 'tilt and turn' are often the source of draughts and poor insulation, but is it worth replacing the units with modern triple glazed, argon filled units which have larger gaps between the panes and possibly thicker panes?  The usual answer is no!  The replacements may be 10% more efficient, but in terms of cost or total carbon it is a false efficiency and for the moment, getting dodgy units repaired and avoiding draughts and leaks is the best you should aim for.  Doors are different - an old wooden front door with daylight around the edges may look nice, but in terms of energy efficiency it probably throws away the benefits of most of your other energy efficiency investments and a properly fitted composite door (always use a FENSA registered installer else faults can be expensive to remedy) will pay for itself in a comparatively short time.

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