Sustainable landlord renovations: 6 features worth replacing and how to do it

As a landlord, you have ultimate responsibility for your property, and for the comfort of your tenants within it. With the cost of living rising, and becoming net zero carbon neutral high on everyone’s agenda, making small sustainable renovations could make a big positive impact.

You don’t even need to make any major changes to have a significant outcome, keeping your costs down but still doing what is required to make your property more energy efficient and using sustainable materials to do so.

Lighting

One of the easiest wins is to change all the light bulbs and light fittings to be LED. These consume far less energy than standard light bulbs, whilst maintaining bright, intense illumination. Depending on the age of the property, you may have old strip lights in the ceiling. Swap these out for LED strip light or spotlights for a more modern and appealing feel, and to considerably decrease energy consumption.

When fitting spotlights upstairs, you will likely need to go up into the loft, so you may decide to strip out all the other lighting in the property and replace it all with spotlights in one fell swoop, saving on money, time and labour.

Wall lights are often less effective than down lights or ceiling lights, which can be positioned in the most useful place to disperse as much light as possible, or focus on a specific area such as a dining table. It is worth designing your lighting scheme with these in mind, for maximum effect and to save it from needing changing again further down the line.

Draught-proofing windows

Most homes already have double glazing nowadays. But, that isn’t the end of it. Over time, window frames can warp and glass can blow, meaning they are far less effective than when they were first fitted. If you have had your double glazing for over 10 years, it is worth checking it for draughts and other defects.

Research suggests that 20% of the heating in a home is lost through the windows, but actively draught-proofing your windows can reduce heat loss by up to 86%. This means that you won’t necessarily need to replace them if they are still in generally good condition. But, you can still make a difference. The same can be done with your doors, for things like letterboxes and keyholes.

Wall and loft insulation

Removing cavity wall insulation and replacing it with new material is a surprisingly quick and easy job. The old insulation can often be sucked out of the wall just by taking away a couple of outside bricks and inserting a tube. Then the new insulation can be fitted through the same entry method.

Because some old insulation could be made of harmful materials, it is important to get it disposed of carefully by a professional service. They may also be able to recycle some of the insulation to avoid it going to landfill.

With loft insulation, you generally won’t need to remove what is already there and can just fit new insulation on top, giving you double the insulation and being more effective. Sheep’s wool and hemp are particularly eco-friendly options to consider.

Bathroom fixtures and fittings

Not something that many people think about, but flushing the toilet accounts for 30% of the water usage in a property. Changing a toilet from a standard flush to a dual flush (two buttons, one for liquid and one for solids) or a low-flow model will reduce water consumption considerably.

You can do the same with your shower, particularly in areas of high water pressure. A low-flow shower head will reduce the water flowing down the plughole, but without compromising on performance.

Kitchen Appliances

Modern kitchen appliances are now much more energy efficient than their older counterparts. Landlords need to provide an Energy Performance Certificate when letting their property, and so changing appliances for ones in the A+-C rating benefits everyone.

Energy bills are increasing, so cutting down on the energy that is consumed by appliances around the home is vital – as well as being kinder to the environment. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the kitchen, where fridges, freezers, washing machines, dishwashers and even kettles all contribute to energy use.

Flooring

This can be a tricky balancing act. Carpets are the most effective flooring for insulation purposes, but are the least eco-friendly option. Solid wood is the most eco-friendly, but will likely need to be topped with some form of rug to provide the heat, which rather negates the purpose. Laminate, vinyl and tiles are good compromises, being fairly sustainable but also helping to keep the heat in.

With a rented property, you want to make sure the flooring is hardwearing and durable, as tenants are unlikely to look after it as well as you might if it were your own house. Therefore, opting for something that is easy to keep clean and can withstand spills and heavy foot traffic is probably the best choice for your renovation.

Final thoughts

Although you won’t be living in the property yourself, making sustainable adaptations will be of benefit in the long-run, as you won’t need to carry on doing work, perhaps when you have tenants in situ. Long-term planning and using eco-friendly materials in your renovations will ensure that your property works for everyone, helping to save time, money and the planet.

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Transparent data promise

Where does the raw data come from?

Property listings seen on rightmove.co.uk, zoopla.co.uk and onthemarket.com.

How often is the data updated?

The data is updated in near real-time.

What time period does the data cover?

This is a real-time market snapshot - the data covers currently listed properties. Once properties are removed from the portal, they are soon removed from this tab.

How is the raw data processed?

Duplicates from multiple sources are matched and reconciled as far as possible. Listings with obvious errors, where price or number or bedrooms appear out of range, are discarded.

What are the statistics used?

Averages shown are the interquartile mean, a type of average that is insensitive to outliers while being its own distinct parameter. The 80% range means that 80% of the listed properties fall inside this range.

Where does the raw data come from?

Property listings seen on rightmove.co.uk, zoopla.co.uk and onthemarket.com.

How do you know the square footage of properties?

We use proprietary technology to read the square footage of properties from agent floorplans. Although we cannot determine the square footage for all properties, we can usually get sufficient coverage. Agents are sometimes known to inflate square footage, and this should be borne in mind as a weakness of this data.

How often is the data updated?

The data is updated in near real-time.

What time period does the data cover?

This is a real-time market snapshot - the data covers currently listed properties. Once properties are removed from the portal, they are soon removed from this tab.

How is the raw data processed?

Duplicates from multiple sources are matched and reconciled as far as possible. Listings with obvious errors, where price or number or bedrooms appear out of range, are discarded.

What are the statistics used?

The average shown is the interquartile mean, a type of average that is insensitive to outliers while being its own distinct parameter. The 80% range means that 80% of the listed properties fall inside this range.

Where does the raw data come from?

Property "price paid" data provided by the Land Registry.

How often is the data updated?

Once per month when released by the Land Registry, typically towards the end of each calendar month covering up to the end of the previous calendar month.

What time period does the data cover?

You can customise the time period using the filter at the top of the view. The default time period is up to 9 months back from today's date. The latest data covers the period up to 2024-03-01, although some sales that took place before this date may still be added in the coming months.

How is the raw data processed?

No additional processes are applied to this data.

What are the statistics used?

Averages shown are the interquartile mean, a type of average that is insensitive to outliers while being its own distinct parameter. The 80% range means that 80% of the listed properties fall inside this range.

Where does the raw data come from?

Property "price paid" data provided by the Land Registry, and Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) data provided by Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities.

How do you know the square footage of properties?

We match the Land Registry data to EPC data provided by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities. Due to the fact that not all properties sold have had an EPC and vagaries of addressing in the UK, we are not able to determine the square footage of all properties, but we can usually get sufficient coverage.

How often is the data updated?

The private paid data is updated once per month when released by the Land Registry, typically towards the end of each calendar month covering up to the end of the previous calendar month. The energy performance certificate database is updated monthly.

What time period does the data cover?

You can customise the time period using the filter at the top of the view. The default time period is up to 9 months back from today's date. The latest data covers the period up to 2024-03-01, although some sales that took place before this date may still be added in the coming months.

How is the raw data processed?

No additional processes are applied to this data.

What are the statistics used?

The average shown is the interquartile mean, a type of average that is insensitive to outliers while being its own distinct parameter. The 80% range means that 80% of the listed properties fall inside this range.

Where does the raw data come from?

Property listings seen on rightmove.co.uk, zoopla.co.uk and onthemarket.com.

How often is the data updated?

The data is updated in near real-time.

What time period does the data cover?

This is a real-time market snapshot - the data covers currently listed properties. Once properties are removed from the portal, they are soon removed from this tab.

How is the raw data processed?

Duplicates from multiple sources are matched and reconciled as far as possible. Listings with obvious errors, where price or number or bedrooms appear out of range, are discarded.

What are the statistics used?

The average shown is the interquartile mean, a type of average that is insensitive to outliers while being its own distinct parameter. The 80% range means that 80% of the listed properties fall inside this range.

Where does the raw data come from?

Room let listings on SpareRoom, the UK's biggest room letting website.

How often is the data updated?

The data is updated in near real-time.

What time period does the data cover?

This is a real-time market snapshot - the data covers currently listed properties. Once properties are removed from SpareRoom, they are soon removed from this tab.

How is the raw data processed?

Listings with obvious errors, where price or number or bedrooms appear out of range, are discarded.

What are the statistics used?

The average shown is the interquartile mean, a type of average that is insensitive to outliers while being its own distinct parameter. The 80% range means that 80% of the listed properties fall inside this range.

Where does the raw data come from?

Property listings seen on rightmove.co.uk, zoopla.co.uk and onthemarket.com.

How often is the data updated?

The data is updated in near real-time.

What time period does the data cover?

This is a real-time market snapshot - the data covers currently listed properties. Once properties are removed from the portal, they are soon removed from this tab.

How is the raw data processed?

Duplicates from multiple sources are matched and reconciled as far as possible. Listings with obvious errors, where price or number or bedrooms appear out of range, are discarded. Yields are calculated by comparing only properties with the same number of bedrooms, e.g. 3-bedroom properties for rent with 3-bedroom properties for sale.

What is the yield calculation used?

The calculation used is (average_weekly_asking_rent * 52 / average_asking_price), expressed as a percentage. It is a top-line gross yield, meaning no expenses are considered.

What are the statistics used?

The average shown is the interquartile mean, a type of average that is insensitive to outliers while being its own distinct parameter. The 80% range means that 80% of the listed properties fall inside this range.

Where does the raw data come from?

Property listings seen on rightmove.co.uk, zoopla.co.uk and onthemarket.com.

How often is the data updated?

The data is updated in near real-time.

What time period does the data cover?

This is a real-time market snapshot - the data covers currently listed properties. Once properties are removed from Zoopla, Rightmove or Spareroom, they are soon removed from this tab.

How is the raw data processed?

Duplicates from multiple sources are matched and reconciled as far as possible. Yields are calculated by comparing only properties with the same number of bedrooms, e.g. 3-bedroom properties for rent with 3-bedroom properties for sale. For the SpareRoom data, hypothetical properties consisting of two to six average double rooms with shared bathrooms are used to derived average rent. For all sources, listings with obvious errors, where price or number or bedrooms appear out of range, are discarded.

What is the yield calculation used?

The calculation used is (average_weekly_asking_rent * 52 / average_asking_price), expressed as a percentage. It is a top-line gross yield, meaning no expenses are considered.

What are the statistics used?

The average shown is the interquartile mean, a type of average that is insensitive to outliers while being its own distinct parameter. The 80% range means that 80% of the listed properties fall inside this range.

Where does the raw data come from?

Property "price paid" data provided by the Land Registry.

How often is the data updated?

Once per month when released by the Land Registry, typically towards the end of each calendar month covering up to the end of the previous calendar month.

Zoopla Zed-index

What time period does the data cover?

The data covers transactions in the last six years

How is the raw data processed?

No additional processes are applied to this data.

What are the statistics used?

The average shown is the interquartile mean, a type of average that is insensitive to outliers while being its own distinct parameter. The 80% range means that 80% of the listed properties fall inside this range.

Where does the raw data come from?

Property listings seen on rightmove.co.uk, zoopla.co.uk and onthemarket.com.

How often is the data updated?

The listings data is updated in near real-time. The Land Registry data is updated once per month when released, typically towards the end of each calendar month covering up to the end of the previous calendar month.

What time period does the data cover?

The price paid data shown goes back to January 2015. The listings data is a real-time market snapshot - the data covers currently listed properties. Once properties are removed from the portal, they are soon removed from this tab.

How is the raw data processed?

Duplicates from multiple sources are matched and reconciled as far as possible. Listings with obvious errors, where price or number or bedrooms appear out of range, are discarded.

What are the calculations used?

Average sales per month are for the last 3 finalised months. Turnover is average sales per month divided by total for sale. Inventory is 100 divided by turnover.

Where does the raw data come from?

Property listings seen on rightmove.co.uk, zoopla.co.uk and onthemarket.com.

How often is the data updated?

The listings data is updated in near real-time. The Land Registry data is updated once per month when released, typically towards the end of each calendar month covering up to the end of the previous calendar month.

What time period does the data cover?

This is a real-time market snapshot - the data covers currently listed properties. Once properties are removed from the portal, they are soon removed from this tab.

How is the raw data processed?

Duplicates from multiple sources are matched and reconciled as far as possible. Listings with obvious errors, where price or number or bedrooms appear out of range, are discarded.

Where does the raw data come from?

We receive data on the extent and corporate ownership of all land titles in England & Wales from the Land Registry.

How often is the data updated?

The data is updated once per month when released, typically in the first few days of each calendar month.

What time period does the data cover?

This is an ownership snapshot - the data represents ownership as recorded by the Land Registry at the last monthly export.

How is the raw data processed?

No additional processes are applied to this data.

Where does the raw data come from?

We source different expert forecasts Savills, Knight Frank, OBR

How often is the data updated?

The data is updated annually when new forecasts are released, typically towards the beginning of the year.

How is the raw data processed?

We calculate a consensus forecast using a simple mean average.