Do you own a holiday let property? Providing a comfortable haven for your guests is important – but so is having low running costs. Our independent heating consultants can help you improve your property’s heating arrangements while at the same time improving your property’s profitability.
Our clients – a busy professional couple from Edinburgh – owned a cottage near Oban on the West coast of Scotland. The property was enjoyed occasionally as a holiday home, but its main purpose was as an investment in the luxury holiday rental market.
The cottage had three double bedrooms, with an en-suite to the master bedroom. The rural location of the cottage meant that there was no mains gas, so it was heated by a mixture of fairly old storage heaters and wall mounted electric radiators, with hot water provided via a large water tank that was heated via electricity overnight. The heating control system was also very basic, meaning that the property was often being heated when it was empty. All of this resulted in their running costs being extremely high – eating into their profits by an average of £100 per weekly rental..
Our clients wanted to find a way to reduce their carbon footprint, cut their utility bills and allow them to have better control over the heating and water in the cottage. They were already planning to refurbish the cottage and wanted to make improvements to the heating system at the same time.
Our role was to look at the cottage’s construction and to suggest any possible improvements that could be made to boost the energy performance of the building envelope. We would then move on to review the property’s existing heating arrangements and suggest how our clients could make improvements to meet their needs within their budget.
Although the cottage was almost 500 miles away, we were able to carry out all of our work remotely. Our client sent us plans and photos, and was able to answer all the initial questions Rob, our heating expert asked via email and phone.
We began by carrying out a survey of the property. This involved reviewing the information our clients sent to us, before calling them to talk through our initial thoughts. Once a general heating system approach was agreed with them, Rob then sent more detailed recommendations.
Before we consider the heating arrangements for a property, we always look at any potential thermal improvements that can be made to its structure. In this case the property was very poorly insulated – well below current building regulations. So we suggested how and where extra insulation could be added, as well as some additional draught-proofing measures to the double-glazed windows. We suggested that all of this could all be achieved as part of the refurbishment works.
Due to there being no natural gas, as well as the location and nature of the construction of the building, the heating options were rather limited. Often when there is no gas, an air source heat pump is a viable option as it can be fitted to heat underfloor heating or low temperature water filled radiators. But in this case the works would be too disruptive, and the installation costs would be very high. Also, the Renewable Heat Incentive grant (which is designed to assist with the additional installation costs) would not be applicable due to the low occupancy rate of the building.
We therefore instead suggested that the best option would be to fit new electric heaters to heat the property. These are much more efficient than older models and can now be controlled remotely. In the short term we suggested that the existing hot water tank could be made much more efficient it it was insulated properly and fitted with a new control system which could also be operated remotely.
In the longer term, should they plan to live in the cottage for greater parts of the year and wish to spend more on their property, we suggested our clients consider replacing the hot water system with an air source water heater and offsetting the electricity costs by generating their own electricity via a roof-mounted PV array or small wind turbine.
By getting an independent energy and heating expert to help before they drew up their refurbishment plans, our clients were able to make the most informed decisons both for now and the future. They were also able to brief their builder more comprehensively. We hope their newly refurbished holiday cottage will continue to be very popular – and be increasingly profitable – for years to come.
CLPM Services used by our client:-
Heating and Energy Consultancy carried out remotely.
Having a warm property with plenty of hot water is crucial for a successful holiday let. But high running costs can seriously eat into your profits. CLPM can help you tackle both issues by advising you on how best to improve your property’s energy efficiency and its heating arrangements.