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Topic Title: The impact of private renting and energy consumption
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Created On: 12 October 2013 11:15 AM
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 12 October 2013 11:15 AM
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jencam

Posts: 608
Joined: 06 May 2007

In a world where energy bills are rising, fossil fuel reserves dwindling, and the obsession with climate change persisting, then has any serious research into the impact of private renting and energy consumption taken place?

The private rented sector has historically been known for its cold and draughty houses with antiquated and inefficient heating systems but it is also an area where it is notoriously difficult to implement energy saving measures unless they are cheap and simple - like low energy bulbs. Mechanisms exist to install energy saving measures in council housing. Grants and the natural incentive to save energy are available to homeowners. Landlords have little incentive to install energy saving measures in their houses they rent out because they aren't living there and paying the bills. Short tenancy agreements act as a disincentive for tenants to spend serious money on things like new boilers or thicker insulation - not to mention solar panels - because they might not be able to live in the house this time next year.

Private renting has increased significantly since the late 1990s, particularly amongst the younger generation, and is probably set to increase even further in the foreseeable future unless legislation is imposed to counteract it.
 12 October 2013 02:32 PM
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westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

Originally posted by: jencam
Private renting has increased significantly since the late 1990s, particularly amongst the younger generation, and is probably set to increase even further in the foreseeable future unless legislation is imposed to counteract it.

Then it will increase because no government will address it, they have a vested interest in not doing so. Of course we will hear the usual political posturing. But let's not discuss politics else the IET will remind us it's not within the IET's scope!

You raise a good point about the rental sector but in reality energy use is going down overall, it's just the prices increasing because of the 'Green' requirements the governments are placing upon our bills and the energy companies and because of the way they have allowed the markets to be structured. I can assure you that if every person in the UK cut their energy by 75% tomorrow then we would still see our energy costs increased.

If you look today then there are many more flats with electric heating and for my degree I completed an extensive engineering investigation into the control of that heating. It made sense because my house had it. I looked at the manufacturers energy saving claims and found them to be false and based upon no proper evidence. However I did find a way to save 3 times what the manufacturers claimed they could save by using a different methodology of control. To prove it I modified my heating and installed the control and compiled the data. Interestingly however I also found out some of my heaters were undersized!! I actually received an IET award for the project!

I think there are a lot of areas where energy use can be reduced, but nowadays costs are being influenced more by Green tariffs and how the markets operate than they are the energy saving measures we put in place.

But it's an interesting point you make. I think however if landlords were required to do more the tennant would end up paying for it.

Regards.
 12 October 2013 08:47 PM
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AndyTaylor

Posts: 164
Joined: 24 November 2002

Landlords are required to provide EPCs and tenants can install energy saving measures such as loft insulation (subject to landlord approval I believe) so there is incentive for landlords to improve the energy efficiency of their property.

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Andy Taylor CEng MIET
 12 October 2013 11:36 PM
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ectophile

Posts: 544
Joined: 17 September 2001

Being able to put a "C" instead of a "D" on a bit of paper when you're renting out a property isn't much of an incentive when you're faced with a potential bill of thousands of pounds to upgrade a property.

The Green Deal should have been a way forward on this, but the government's expensive and bureaucratic mess of a system means that nobody is interested.

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S P Barker BSc PhD MIET
 13 October 2013 12:47 PM
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westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

Originally posted by: ectophile
The Green Deal should have been a way forward on this, but the government's expensive and bureaucratic mess of a system means that nobody is interested.

Why do you think governments have expensive and bureaucratic messy systems?

I tend to think governments tend to try and stop abuse of their systems and to that end they become over complicated. I do however think that within government there is a lack of good management and/or sanctions for getting things wrong and this is part of the problem.

Regards.
 13 October 2013 11:54 PM
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AndyTaylor

Posts: 164
Joined: 24 November 2002

When a property is poorly insulated, the tenant can call the EHO, and the landlord can be made to take measures to improve the property. There is also indication that the government are thinking of enforcing minimum standards for rented accommodation;

http://www.scottfraser.co.uk/n...c-ratings-to-be-banned

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Andy Taylor CEng MIET
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