Energy-Efficient Ways to Improve an Older Home’s Appeal




Properties with historical character often go for large sums of money but it can feel like a high price to pay for a home that’s difficult to keep warm. Insulation and heating techniques have improved significantly in recent decades, meaning that nobody should settle for a freezing cold home.


Approximately 25% of heat loss in the home is through poorly insulated windows or doors while a further 35% is lost through the walls. As homebuyers become savvier about energy efficiency, many won’t accept a property that rattles when the wind blows. Fortunately, there are several energy-efficient ways to improve an older home’s appeal and reduce its time on the market.


Home energy assessment


A home energy assessment is an ideal place to start to understand where any major improvements can be made. Naturally, if you are thinking about selling your home then you don’t want to invest too much time and money into making improvements.


Thanks to a home energy assessment you can identify which areas can be improved quickly and easily and which are the larger projects that require more investment. For instance, the average new heating system costs about £5,500, according to Checkatrade, which is a reasonable amount of money to put into a home you aren’t going to live in.


It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that some larger projects will make your older home considerably more appealing to potential buyers versus small improvements. Historic buildings can have unusual layouts too, sometimes patching together various building styles depending on when any upgrades have been made. That makes it hard to improve energy-wise without an initial assessment.


Many of the energy-efficient deficiencies in an old home come from wear and tear or maintenance that has been neglected for too long. A home energy audit can also inform you about which upgrades are possible given the structure of the building.


Renewable central heating systems


Many older homes may have outdated central heating systems, while some might not have one at all, so it’s something to consider improving before looking to sell. Given today’s focus on sustainability and energy efficiency, it’s worth considering replacing your existing boiler with renewable heating solutions.


For instance, the property you are looking to sell could be a period home that requires it to be kept as close to the original as possible. That could make installing a green energy system, such as solar panels, tricky but not impossible.


Developers of protected buildings, such as Grade II listed buildings in the UK, must consider reversibility when seeking permission for green energy installations. If solar panels can be removed so that it looks like they were never there then it’s possible to install them. However, this will likely require careful planning.


The benefit of using renewable central heating systems is the futureproofing of the property by switching away from fossil fuels. Research also indicates that solar panels can add as much as 4.1% to a home’s value. Given that solar panel installation only takes as much as a couple of days to complete, it’s a quick way of adding some instant value to an old property.


Insulating outbuildings


Working from home measures, due to the pandemic, have created a much greater need for people to have office space on their property. During the first Coronavirus lockdown, 60% of the UK’s adult population worked from home with 26% of Brits planning to continue to work from home permanently or occasionally after lockdown.


Be that in a quiet corner of a room or a dedicated office in an outbuilding, people’s needs have changed since 2020. Outbuildings make great work retreats as they allow you to cut off your home office from the rest of your living space. Once your day is done you can simply shut the door behind you and forget about it all until the next day.


However, many outbuildings in older homes are not insulated, perhaps because they were initially intended to be used as garages or storage and not particularly for living in. Insulating these outbuildings can help sway someone to invest in your property as they picture themselves using the space.


If it is cold and damp they may decide it needs too much work and look elsewhere for a home that is closer to the finished article. Insulation projects for outbuildings range from installing insulated garage doors that retain heat from the inside to insulating wall cavities and floors.


Replacing windows and doors


Trying to keep heat in an older home is a bit like trying to catch lightning in a bottle. The moment you add heat to a room in a poorly insulated building it’s going to escape through the windows, doors and walls. Replacing the windows and doors offers an immediate upgrade on energy efficiency as homes retain the heat better.


New windows don’t have to look out of place and many glazing installers supply their windows with period character. Retrofitting inefficient insulation like windows and doors instantly boosts a home’s energy rating. Homes with a higher energy rating receive a considerable boost to their price, jumping as much as 14%.


Update electrical fixtures and fittings


Perhaps you don’t want to make any major investments in your old home but you are conscious about it being unappealing to potential buyers. Smart heating solutions are a low-cost investment, often costing just a few hundred pounds to install but can act as a selling point. Couple your smart heating system with energy-efficient LED lights or modern outlets that feature USB ports to appeal to more eco-conscious buyers.


Energy-efficient upgrades with a view to selling


Selling an older home can sometimes take a bit of extra work when compared to modern properties with contemporary features. Older homes are often bought as ‘fixer-uppers’ but not everyone wants to dedicate their time and energy to that. Fortunately, there are a few energy-efficient upgrades that can be employed to make homes more appealing.


Kick your project off with a home energy assessment, as this will give you a direction to head in. Alternative energy solutions like solar panels is a big project, but there are smaller changes that still tick the energy efficiency box. Windows and door replacement is relatively straightforward and won’t require major works done to complete.

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