How to save energy in a rented property

If you live in a rented property that’s anything like mine, it’s energy efficiency leaves a lot to be desired. Happily, the Energy Act 2011 means that from 2016 onwards if you ask your landlord for an efficiency improvement and it’s reasonable they can’t refuse you, and from 2018 onwards they won’t be able to let their property if it’s rated ‘E’ or lower on it’s EPC. But what can you do to improve your home’s efficiency now? There are a number of options depending on how much hassle you want to go to and how forward thinking your landlord is.

1)      The Landlord’s Energy Saving Allowance

Otherwise known as the LESA, this is a government fund that gives landlords up to £1,500 per property to fund energy saving improvements. The improvements that are eligible for the fund are:

  • Cavity wall insulation
  • Loft insulation
  • Solid wall insulation
  • Floor insulation
  • Hot water pipe and tank insulation
  • Draught proofing materials

Your landlord can apply for this funding when they complete their tax return – more information on the scheme is available on the Government’s LESA page.

2)      The Green Deal

This is the scheme that’s just been launched. It gives loans to homeowners who want to get energy efficiency or renewable energy improvements installed but who don’t want to pay for the installation upfront. Your landlord will be eligible for this scheme too. The scheme gives loans for a very wide range of energy saving improvements, including pretty much anything you could think of. The loan is paid back on the house’s electricity bills, which means that you as a tenant will be paying the loan back, but the amount you pay back shouldn’t be more than what you save on electricity from using the improvement. You also only pay back the loan while you’re renting the property – the loan’s attached to the property and is the landlord’s responsibility when you’re not renting the property anymore. You can read more about the scheme as well as how to apply on our Green Deal pages.

3)      Secondary glazing

If you can’t get your landlord to sign up to the Green Deal and you need to improve the efficiency of your single glazed windows, you can fit secondary glazing to your windows relatively cheaply. Secondary glazing is a pane of glass that is fitted in front of your existing singled paned window – it’s not quite as effective as double glazing but is significantly cheaper, with prices starting at £40 per window.

4)      Thermal blinds

There are a number of different thermal blinds on the market now, which behave and look like standard blinds but contain a layer (or several) of insulating material. This can reduce the heat loss from your rooms by as much as 20% – Tuiss and The Thermal Blind Co. are good places to start.

5)      Draught proofing

You can draught proof various parts of your house really cheaply and easily – for the majority, such as draughty doors and window frames, you can either fit adhesive strips or special metal and rubber or brush strips that fit your doors and windows well and effectively keep the heat in. Everything you (or your maintenance person) needs is available from most hardware shops. We’ve discussed draught proofing solutions for other features in your house in an article we wrote for Real Homes a while ago.


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