This category is for articles of interest to owners of Eco Holiday Homes in the UK. It contains posts, articles and tips on many areas of managing more sustainable Eco Holiday Homes and Cottages, including energy efficiency, EV charging points, LED lighting and insurance implications. Check out these posts, Energy performance Certificates and Holiday Homes, Natural Cleaning Products, Building a sustainable holiday letting business

Increase energy efficiency in your holiday let

Increase energy efficiency in your holiday letAt the end of a long summer the thought of falling temperatures this winter is enough to send a shiver through the spine, but it could be the amount you’re unnecessarily spending on heating your holiday home that leaves you feeling decidedly chilly.  We take a look at a few simple ways to increase the energy efficiency in your holiday let property, and in doing so, lower those winter costs.

Loft Insulation – Save a potential £160 a year

Most people will be aware that hot air rises. If you’re yet to insulate your loft space it will be rising straight out of your holiday home. The Department for Energy and Climate Change has this year claimed that homes across the UK waste £500 million pumping heat into poorly insulated loft space.

Whilst you will incur expense insulating your loft, the average saving could be as much as £160 a year, meaning you’ll have a speedy payback period, and a saving that will continue into the future.

Insulating Cavity Walls – Save a potential £180 a year

Are your cavity walls insulated? If not, you may be prompted to act if you knew that uninsulated walls account for a third of all heat loss in your holiday home, and filling them could save you as much as £180 a year.

As with loft insulation, there is an initial installation cost, but the benefits of insulated walls will far out way your investment in the long term.

Look to Eco Appliances

Whilst you won’t be able to control the amount of times your guest boils the kettle, you will be able to make a drastic difference to their energy consumption by making effective decisions when buying appliances.

The average running cost of a fridge can vary from as little as £13 per year to as much as £92; a staggering 150% difference!

Choose carefully and pay close attention to energy efficiency ratings when purchasing new additions to your holiday home. The savings from efficient kitchen appliances, televisions, stereos and alike around your property will quickly add up.

Upgrade your boiler

How long has your boiler been in your holiday home?  Many will be surprised to find that older boilers could be adding £200 to your energy bills. Rated from A to G, with A being the most energy efficient, if yours is on the wrong end of the scale it could be time to upgrade and enjoy the savings over the next few years.

Plug the gaps

We’ll finish with perhaps the simplest and quickest way to increase the energy efficiency of your holiday home; covering the areas through which heat can escape.  Whilst installing double-glazing around the property will obviously have a marked impact on efficiency, you should also consider hanging thick curtains, and also look to address any drafts around doorways.

The simplest solutions are often the best, these 5 ways to increase Energy Efficiency in your Holiday Let include easy fixes that will ensure your property stays warm, without unnecessary expenditure.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support your holiday home business, please give us a call on 01237 429444.

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Holiday Homes with sedum green roofs

Holiday Homes with sedum green roofsMany holiday cottages across the country have taken a greener approach to tourism in recent times, adopting new technologies such as solar and biomass to power and heat their holiday homes.

One approach that has perhaps gleaned less of the media spotlight than it’s renewable energy counterparts is the humble green roof.  Popular for more than 50 years in countries such as Germany and the Netherlands, could the UK soon be awash with the floral patterns of sedum? Destinations where eco holiday home new builds are sprouting green roofs include The Village – Watergate Bay.

What is a green roof?

A green roof is an alternative to conventional roofing and consists of living plants (usually sedum) that grow in a layer of material (known as a substrate) above the roof’s waterproof membrane.

They have actually been around for years, but are now becoming more and more popular with the increased focus on being green and carbon friendly.

The Benefits of Green Roofs

  • Because the roof consists of living plant life they are able to create microclimates for insects, wildlife and some rare species. Your visitors will be able to enjoy the new abundance of wildlife and the changing colours of your roof throughout the year.
  • One of the most common causes of storm damage is the inability of drain systems to cope with the sudden increases of rainwater travelling through them. Sedum roofs absorb large amounts of rainwater and reduce runoff.
  • Green roofs can help with temperature regulation in your holiday home, providing cooling in the summer and a degree of insulation in the colder winter months.
  • These roofs have been shown to significantly increase the lifespan of waterproofing membranes lying at the base of the roof, meaning you could enjoy some financial benefits over the longer term.
  • The World Tourism Organisation recently found that one in three people now consider the environmental credentials of their potential destination, with 40% willing to pay a premium to stay in such accommodation. Having a green roof will not only appease this growing marketplace, but also give you more weight when you enter the increasing number of sustainable tourism awards.

How much maintenance is required?

Once installed, the maintenance of a sedum roof is minimal, with only a few visits in the first year required to ensure your system is effective and performing correctly.

It is then recommended that your roof is checked once a year, and trimmed whenever necessary (usually every couple of years). The trimmings will be left and allowed to root again, thickening mattings and ensuring no wastage.

Things to make sure you get right

Ensure that your green roof is installed be a specialist manufacturer or installer with a proven track record. If necessary, ask for client references for a selection of systems that have been in place for some time.

  • Commission an integrity test of the waterproofing layer on your roof prior to building up the green roof strata. Any damage or leaks to this layer could be potentially costly and disruptive to repair.
  • Ensure annual servicing of the roofs drainage outlets is undertaken and the roof is stalled in accordance with the installers recommendations.
  • Use a specialist holiday home insurance provider and fully disclose the construction of your holiday letting property to ensure adequate cover

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support your holiday home business, please give us a call on 01237 429444.

Two ideas for holiday home owners to reduce heating costs this autumn

Radiator and blue sky in home interiorWith September drawing to a close one of the busiest periods of the year for holiday home owners many may expect this to be a time of reflection; to look back on one of the warmest June and July’s on record, to bask in the glory of increased bookings or to simply have a well earned rest.

The reality is perhaps somewhat different; the increasing year-round bookings, the maintenance and repairs, the planning for 2015.

It all starts now.

The drive to fill the months ahead is becoming increasingly competitive and with the colder autumnal and winter weather, an emphasis is not only required on getting visitors to the holiday home but also on keeping them warm in the most efficient way once they arrive.

Here are two ideas for holiday home owners to reduce heating costs and help you achieve just that.

Is it time for the winter coat!?

Lagging water tanks and pipes, along with insulating behind radiators around your holiday home reduces the amount of heat that can escape, meaning hot water stays hotter for warmer and you spend less money on reheating it.

So where do you really need to be insulating?

Start with the hot water cylinder

As the hub of your water system, insulating the hot water cylinder in your holiday home is one of the quickest and easiest ways to save money.

Many will already be wearing a fitted jacket but it’s worth checking the thickness, which should be in excess of 75mm.  If your water cylinder jacket falls beneath this mark then heat loss can be reduced by up to 75% by purchasing a new, thicker jacket.

It’s estimated that the cost of the jacket will be saved in heating bills within six months!

Do you have radiators? Have you considered reflector panels?

Whilst under-floor heating is becoming more and more popular the majority of holiday homes continue to use radiated heat.  A commonly faced issue with radiators is that they are fixed to walls, which are quite often externally facing.

This means that a large amount of the heat generated by a radiator could be lost through the wall to which it is attached.  This can be further exacerbated in some listed property homes, where modern levels of building regulation insulation aren’t present.

Radiator reflector panels are a low cost and effective way of addressing this issue and reducing the heating costs of your holiday home.  Fixed behind your radiators, they reflect heat from the radiator back into the room, instead of letting it out through an external wall.

They have most benefit when installed on uninsulated walls, which can be internal (between rooms) or external (the outer skin of the holiday home).

The cost of these will be dependent on the supplier and the radiators within your property so it’s worth looking at several options before deciding on the best fit for your holiday home.

For more energy saving and top tips for holiday home owners please do have a read through our blog and let us know if there are any areas you’d like to hear us writing about.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support your holiday home business, please give us a call on 01237 429444.

How holiday home owners who embrace new mobile technology can save on heating bills

Smart Home Device - Home ControlAs a nation we’ve embraced technology more than most; one in four of us now own a tablet, an item that was not in existence just four years ago!

We even spend more time on technology than we do asleep; recent research from the BBC shows the average UK adult will spend 8 hours 41 minutes in front of some sort of tech!

So what does it all mean for holiday home owners?

A key area of progression and development has been technology that controls the heating of our homes and holiday homes. UK energy consumption has actually fallen by 22% since 2001, with heat control systems contributing in part to that drop. We explore how holiday home owners who embrace new mobile technology can have more control and save on heating bills.

How much can be saved on your heating bills?

Heating is a key expense for holiday home owners and one that impacts directly on the bottom line, particularly during the winter months.

The installation of thermostats and thermostatic radiator valves can save up to £150 per year. Turning down the heat on the thermostat you’ve installed by one degree can lead to a saving of another £75 over that year!

Different ways to save on your holiday home heating bills

There are several different ways in which you can reduce the heating costs of your holiday home but all have one thing in common; reducing wastage.

Wasting heat can come in many different ways;

  • Heating the entire property excessively when only key areas are being used by guests
  • Maintaining excessive heat throughout the day when visitors are outside enjoying what your local area has to offer.
  • Sporadic occupancy during winter months, where the heating is left at the same level.

How is mobile solving the problem?

Most holiday home owners will already be familiar with thermostats, which can be the answer to the first two issues we’ve mentioned. There is however one nagging issue with the common thermostat.

It is literally hands-on, which for holiday homeowners living away from their property makes it increasingly problematic.

With occupancy more sporadic during the winter season what happens if you have one week occupied, another empty and the following occupied again?

Do you head down to your property and turn the heating down, only to return again in order to turn it up again?

The answer in all likelihood is no, and the result will be wasted heat and unnecessarily increased bills.

Mobile heating control technology is becoming more and more readily available, allowing you to control temperatures and zones of your holiday home remotely, putting you in control from wherever you are. In some cases these can be introduced to your existing heating systems and allow you to control your heating remotely from an App.

This market is becoming increasingly competitive; Google purchased the Nest heating control system for $3.2bn and subsequently hit the UK market, whilst other big names include Hive Active Heating (owned by British Gas) and Tado (the German market leader in this technology) are all now readily available to holiday homeowners.

With competition will come competitive pricing, meaning real savings can be made by holiday homeowners looking to adopt mobile technology for their property.

As with most technology, as time goes by it needn’t cost the earth to purchase and install. We suggest taking a look at all of the market options to find the best possible fit for your holiday home.

What do you need to do from an insurance angle?

One of the most frequent holiday home insurance claims is escape of water damage as a result of frozen pipes or cold weather. In any event you’ll want to ensure that the temperature throughout your property is sufficient to prevent pipes from freezing and are also maintained a a level to meet any conditions specified in your insurance policy wording. Our specialist holiday home insurance policy aims to highlight these potential issues for holiday homeowners and states that you’ll need to keep the temperature of your holiday home above 7c throughout during October to March, or ensure that the water is turned off at the stopcock and the heating system is drained when not in use.

These measures will minimise the risk of potential damage to your home.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support your holiday home business, please give us a call on 01237 429444.

Exploring the eco benefits of replacing your old light bulbs with newer LED equivalents

Row of light bulbs. Idea concept on green background.Do you know how many light bulbs there are in your holiday home?

A strange question perhaps, but for many holiday property owners, one that has already been answered or will need to be in the near future.

In September 2012, after more than a century of lighting the world, the EU completed its phased ban on the sale of incandescent light bulbs.  The move came in an attempt to reduce the energy use of lighting; 17.5% of global power consumption is on keeping darkness from our homes.

Top Facts on the Incandescent Light Bulb 

  • Only 10 – 20% of the electricity used by an incandescent bulb generates light; the rest is wasted.
  • Prior to 2009, when the phased ban on the sale of the bulbs began, an estimated 200m were sold each year in the UK; that’s six every second!
  • The government believe the ban will save the UK £102m on lighting electricity bills over ten years.
  • Incandescent light bulbs still account for 80% of lighting across the UK

The strongest protests against the ban came from a cost perspective.  Despite longer-term savings, the higher upfront costs of alternatives such as LED have been criticised.

We take a look at LED lighting

What LED bulbs have to offer holiday homeowners:

Longer life

We’ll all have had that moment, balanced on a step ladder, attempting to change a light bulb that has burnt out. For holiday homeowners this can be an added task in the maintenance of your property; needing to get someone to the property to replace the bulbs.

LED lighting has a far greater life span, estimated to be in the region of 11 years of continuous use. That’s 20 years with your lights on for eight hours a day and means continually replacing bulbs in your holiday home could be a thing of the past.

Energy Efficiency

As we’ve said, a key part of the phased ban was geared toward energy efficiency. LED lighting operates at around 80 – 90% efficiency, compared to the 20% efficiency of its traditional counterpart.

As the light is digital the majority of your electric is utilised in lighting your home rather than heating it; the incandescent bulb can be heated up to 2,300C, meaning that a large amount of money is lost in heat rather than spent on light.

This means energy bill savings can be achieved for holiday homeowners looking to convert.

Eco Friendly

Those visiting holiday homes across the country are becoming more and more sensitive to the ecological and green credentials of where they’re staying.

LED lights contain no toxic materials and for that reason are usually recyclable. Given the longer lifespan, one LED light can save the materials and production of 25 traditional bulbs.  Over the average household that will be in the region of 250 – 350 bulbs!

Outdoor Use

As they are not dependent on heat, LED lights are better able to perform in both hot and cold conditions, making them ideal for externally lit areas around holiday homes.

This can include in and around gardens, patios or barbeque areas, allowing your guests to fully enjoy your holiday home, inside and out!

Whilst we’re used to the warm yellow glow of an incandescent bulb their LED equivalent also come in a variety of colours.


There are several clear benefits to replacing your old light bulbs with newer LED equivalents. You will however need to be realistic about the initial monetary savings; they do cost significantly more per bulb and there will be an expenditure on installation.

On the other hand they will provide you benefits over the medium to longer term. Adopting LED will need to be seen as an investment and not a quick fix.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support your holiday home business, please give us a call on 01237 429444.

The benefits of Air Source Heat Pumps for Holiday Homeowners

Heat pumpWhen you say the words ‘renewable energy’ for most the mind will immediately be trained on solar panels and wind turbines. One technology that has perhaps garnered less attention than others is the air source heat pump, which uses the warmth from the air surrounding a holiday home to heat the property itself.

A common myth associated with air source heat is that it won’t work unless it is particularly warm; quite the potential barrier to implementation in the inclement British climate.

The system is in fact able to operate in temperatures as low as -15 Celsius, suggesting it will generate some heat even in the bleakest times of a British winter.

The benefits of Air Source Heat Pumps for Holiday Homes

  • As with other renewable energy technologies, an air source heat pump has the potential to lower fuel bills in comparison to like for like usage on electric or oil systems. This is particularly attractive for holiday homeowners given the cost of heating can quickly eat into profit margins during the winter and even shoulder months.
  • Air source heat is supported by the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme, which pays those that generate and use renewable energy to heat their buildings. This will further increase potential savings over electricity or gas alternatives.
  • As the heat is being generated from the air holiday homeowners will not need fuel to be delivered.  This will be a bonus for those living a significant distance from their holiday home as they won’t need to organise delivery and receipt of supplies. It also removes the risk of any potential future price increases in fuels such as wood chips or oil.
  • Air source heat pumps can significantly reduce holiday home carbon emissions. The eco credentials of holiday homes and accommodation has come more sharply into focus in recent years; one in three now consider the environmental impact of where they’ll be staying with 40% willing to pay a premium to stay with providers able to meet their green expectations.
  • The system requires little maintenance and is commonly referred to as ‘fit and forget’ technology, making it suitable for owners living away from their holiday home.

Is your holiday home suitable for an air source heat pump?

  • Do you have space? It is worth checking that you have enough space to accommodate an air source heat pump.  Whilst the unit can be fixed to an external wall or to the ground, it will require clear space around the unit to ensure an adequate air flow.
  • How well is your holiday home insulated?  The pump will generate heat at a lower temperature than an electric or gas alternative meaning your holiday home will need to be well insulated and draught free to make this a suitable technology for you.
  • Do you have under floor heating?  Due to the lower water temperatures involved air source heating is far more suited to under floor heating systems than radiators or storage heaters.
  • What heating system will you be replacing?  The quickest pay back period will be against those currently using electric or coal fired heating systems.  Air source will be less suited to replacing a mains gas heating system.

The costs and savings

A system can cost in the region of £7,000 to £14,000.  Whilst the pay back period will depend on the size of your holiday home, the demand for heat and the temperature you’d like your rooms, it is estimated that the cost of your system can be recouped in four to seven years.

If you are currently looking at renewable energy for your holiday home ensure that you speak with a range of quality suppliers.

Before proceeding with an installation please speak to your holiday home insurance insurance broker to increase your buildings sums insured and to clarify that your air source heat pumps will be covered in the event that they are damaged by a peril, such as storm or fire. For further information or if you require a quotation from a specialist for your holiday home insurance call our team on 01237 429444.

Is it time to heat your holiday home water with the sun?

Solar Water HeatingIn recent years solar energy has grabbed perhaps more headlines than any other renewable technology. Creating energy from the sun is an attractive proposition; particularly for holiday home owners whose usage of hot water and other household bills will increase exponentially during the sunniest time of the year.

We explore if solar water heating, using solar power to heat the water of your holiday home is a potential match made in heaven.

How do solar water heating systems work?

The first port of call will be to have solar panels fitted to the roof of your holiday home.  Once installed these panels will then collect the heat from the sun and use it to heat up the water in a hot water cylinder for use by your guests.

A common myth associated with solar panels is that they’ll only heat water during periods of glorious sunshine. Whilst potential output during cloudier days will compromised, they’ll still continue to generate sufficient energy from which to heat water. For those holiday homes filling shoulder and winter months the system can also be topped up with the use of immersion heating or a boiler.

Weighing up the costs and savings

Whilst a solar water system can often be installed within a day, the cost of installation is the first potential barrier for holiday homes looking to adopt this technology. A price tag of £3,000 to £5,000 (including 5% VAT) has been enough to deter some holiday homeowners from adorning their property in panels.

There are however significant benefits available for those turning to solar. The first is that sunshine is of course free of charge, meaning holiday homes heating their water through solar power will see a reduction in their bills when compared with gas or electricity providers.

Further financial benefits can also be borne out under the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). The RHI is the first of its kind in the world and pays those heating their buildings through renewable energy. It is estimated that a four person household could be paid in the region of £400 per annum if utilising solar water technology.

The benefits of going green

The tourism industry as a whole has seen an increased desire for eco-friendly accommodation. The World Tourism Organisation recently found that one in three people now consider the environmental credentials of their potential destination, with 40% willing to pay a premium to stay in such accommodation.

The average holiday home could reduce their carbon emissions by approximately 350kg of C02 per year if moving from oil to solar water. That’s the same amount emitted by a car driving for 13 hours non-stop or emitted by the average home over the course of 10 full days.

What level of maintenance will your system require?

With many owners living away from their holiday home a system that requires extensive and regular maintenance would in most cases prove to be unsuitable. Solar water systems usually come with a five or ten year warranty, and require very little maintenance after installation.

An accredited supplier should carry out a full check of the system every 3 – 7 years, with basic visual and performance checks being carried out by the home owner on a more frequent basis.

As with any system containing water, despite containing antifreeze it’s important to ensure that during colder winter months there are no issues and that the system is checked for potential frozen pipes or leaks.

For more information on solar water heating for your holiday home please do consult an accredited supplier and be sure to get more than one quote for your system.

Be sure to speak to your holiday home insurance insurance broker and increase your buildings sums insured and to clarify that your solar water heating panels will be covered in the event that they are damaged by a peril, such as storm or fire. For further information or if you require a quotation from a specialist for your holiday home insurance call our team on 01237 429444.

mcz-pellet-biomass-boilerBiomass – the benefits and pitfalls for heating your holiday home

With the summer season approaching it can seem somewhat premature to be thinking about heating your holiday home.  However, those whom have already been proactive in exploring and sourcing alternative heating technologies will be reaping the benefits not only this winter but for many to come.

Keeping a cottage warm is an expensive business; crude oil is a depleting resource and one that has increased in price by more than 80% in the past five years.  These costs have been passed on to consumers and when combined with continually rising electricity prices are seeing the costs of running a holiday home perennially increasing.

Whilst for many cottages occupancy was once traditionally confined to the warmer summer months, more and more now have a heightened focus on filling ‘shoulder months’, transcending from seasonal to year-round enterprises.

This places an increased emphasis on reducing energy bills and the attraction of alternative, more sustainable technologies in order to maintain profitability.

We explore the potential of biomass energy for holiday homeowners.

What is biomass?

Biomass is a renewable energy that uses biological material from living, or recently living organisms in order to generate energy or to produce heat.

In the context of holiday homes this will most commonly be in the form of wood chips, pellets or other wood waste, with a boiler being placed inside a cottage, or in an external building from where larger boilers are able to heat multiple holiday homes.

What are the benefits of biomass energy for holiday homeowners?

Clean and carbon neutral

Biomass is a clean energy and virtually carbon neutral.  It is estimated that by replacing a coal or electric heating system with biomass the average household can reduce their carbon dioxide output by around 9.5 tonnes per annum.

Being green and sustainable is an area increasing numbers of visitors are not only interested in but passionate about; the World Tourism Organisation recently found that one in three people now consider the environmental credentials of their potential destination, with 40% willing to pay a premium to stay in such accommodation.

Less susceptible to price increases

As we’ve already said, oil is a depleting world resource and trends indicate its price is going to continue to rise over time.  As biomass fuel is largely taken from waste wood it doesn’t share the same price volatility as oil or electricity; it’s estimated that the forestry industry across the world is wasting enough biomass each year to heat 1,500,000 homes.

Cost saving and the Renewable Heat Incentive

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is the world’s first long-term financial support programme for renewable heat and pays participants that generate and use renewable energy to heat their buildings.

The tariffs have been set at a level that reflects the expected cost of renewable heat generation over 20 years, meaning that whilst price fluctuations and rises are less likely than with oil and electricity, you’ll be protected from any potential increases.

In addition to the RHI it’s also worth noting that those adopting biomass have seen drops in heating costs in direct comparison to previous electricity or solid fuel bills.

The potential issues with biomass

Whilst biomass is a cleaner and greener alternative to other more carbon intensive heat sources, there are some disadvantages to its adoption for holiday homeowners.

Large implementation costs

Whilst potential cost savings can be made the initial outlay for the biomass boiler itself can be significant.  It’s estimated that the payback period is somewhere in the region of five to seven years.  This can be cost prohibitive for some to implement, although the longer term benefits will outweigh this issue if cash flow is available to implement the technology.

Higher levels of maintenance

It’s also worth noting that biomass boilers will need more space and care than traditional systems. The fuel will need to be stored either in a hopper or in bags, meaning that regular checking or refilling will need to be carried out by yourself or by your guests.

In order for the biomass boiler to perform at it’s upmost efficiency it will also need to be regularly cleaned; if this isn’t carried out the potential payback period for your boiler may lengthen.

If your holiday home is likely to be unoccupied for periods during the winter months you would be well to consider combining biomass with other sources of green and sustainable heating such as air source heat pumps which can be left running on thermostats with minimal maintenance. Keeping your holiday home warm whilst unoccupied has the obvious advantage of preventing burst pipes and the added advantage of reducing the likelihood of mold growth. It’s also important that you comply with the heating conditions specified in your holiday home insurance policy document and of course keep your property cosy for the next guests or indeed your own visit.

If you’re looking to implement biomass in your holiday home ensure that you consult a specialist in this area and give full thought to not only potential cost savings but also to implementation and maintenance.

For further information or if you require a quotation from a specialist for your holiday home insurance call our team on 01237 429444.

solar panels

solar panels

Sustainable Tourism: The benefits of Solar

One of the most significant developments in the tourism sector over the past decade has been the continuing growth in demand for accommodation providers and owners of holiday cottages to be green and eco-friendly.

Now is the time of sustainable tourism.

Worldwide tourism accounts for an estimated 4% of all carbon emissions and of that figure a whopping 38% is attributed to international air travel.  This has brought about a sharper focus on the impact travel has on the world in which we live and a potential move toward more and more of us enjoying what Britain has to offer hopefully draws nearer.

The World Tourism Organisation recently found that one in three people now consider the environmental credentials of their potential destination, with 40% willing to pay a premium to stay in such accommodation.

Many holiday cottages have embraced their green credentials and identified opportunities to not only reduce carbon emissions but also costs.

With the British summer now promising to flourish into full bloom we look at the benefits of solar power for your holiday cottage.

Potential Cost Savings – The Feed in Tariff

The first thing to say is that the sun is free and with that there are potential cost savings for holiday homeowners.  This is not only in the form of reduced bills but also through the government’s Feed in Tariff.  This provides payment for all the energy produced by the solar panels at your holiday home. You will have first call on the electricity generated by the solar panels with any surplus fed back into the grid.

Shouldering the cost of energy

You won’t always be able to control if your visitors turn the lights off before they go out for the day, if they leave the heating on at a high level or the television running in the living room.

Potential energy bills can continue to creep upwards as an increased number of holiday homeowners begin to fill ‘shoulder’ months when the weather can be colder and the bills higher; 60% of energy costs are attributed to heating and water.

Solar power has been proven to reduce heating costs, which can directly increase the margins of profitability for your holiday home.

Reducing your carbon footprint

As we’ve already highlighted there is an increased visitor awareness of the carbon footprint holiday cottages have.  Solar systems have been estimated to reduce the carbon emissions of the average holiday home by in excess of one tonne of C02 over the course of a year.

That’s the same amount of CO2 emitted by a flight taking off from London Heathrow and touching down at Sydney International airport!

Selecting a supplier

The cost of solar panels and their installation has dropped significantly during the past few years, which has made it an even more viable option for many holiday homeowners.  As renewable energy is such a fast moving market it is suggested that you get more than one quote when looking at installing solar panels on your holiday cottage to ensure you get the most competitive price. The Energy Savings Trust have really useful resources and offer impartial advice including a `find an installer’ facility. Visit their website and select England, Wales, Scotland or Norther Ireland depending on where your holiday home is located.

The insurance Implications

There are insurance implications associated with having solar panels on your holiday cottage.  You’ll need to ensure the buildings insurance definition in your holiday home insurance policy is wide enough to cover damage to the solar panels due to an insured peril such as storm damage.

All holiday homeowners enjoying specialist holiday home insurance provided by Boshers are covered for this as standard in their policy.

Boshers are specialist providers of insurance to holiday homes and cottages.  For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support your holiday home please give us a call on 01237 429444.


Natural cleaners. Vinegar, baking soda, salt and lemon.The benefits of using natural cleaning products around your holiday home

As a holiday homeowner what factors do you consider when selecting a cleaning product for your cottage?

Are they products that you’ve always used and perhaps see no need in changing?

Is it the latest and brightest packaging on the supermarket shelf that catches your eye?

Maybe the option that promises to save you time and make the most stubborn of chores easier and quicker to manage?

Whilst there may be a vast range of reasons for using the products you do, one unifying factor many of these cleaning solvents will have in common is the inclusion of strong chemicals that can be potentially harmful to your visitors and young children in particular.

With the growing list of ‘green’ and ‘natural’ alternatives to traditional bleaches we explore the potential benefits of going green when it comes to cleaning your holiday home.

Chemicals in the air and on surfaces

Once your holiday home has been cleaned with chemical based products they can remain present in the air and on the surfaces of your cottage for some time.

This can lead to new guests inhaling detrimental fumes and also enduring the smells that come with them during the busy summer period when changeover times can be extremely short.

The residue of these chemicals can also remain on surfaces and worktops and have been known to cause skin irritation, rashes and in extreme cases allergic reactions.

Natural products reduce these risks for your visitors and are often accompanied by a natural and more pleasant aroma, negating the need for even more products such as air fresheners to be deployed.


We live in a country with unbounded natural beauty.  We insure and are lucky to be able to visit a vast number of properties situated in areas of outstanding natural beauty, with breathtaking views and unrivalled surrounds.

Cleaning products including chemicals such as Ammonia can not only effect soil pH levels but also cause the eutrophication of water when dispersed into waterways.

Using natural products can lessen the impact that our properties have on the environment and surrounding area in which we visit and live.

Antibacterial Wipes

When sourcing cleaning products and agents for the home or for a holiday cottage we can sometimes naturally gravitate toward the word ‘antibacterial’.

After all, these are the products that reduce the risk of bacteria remaining on surfaces or around your home that could be of risk to your visitors?

Recent American research by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has suggested there is no significant difference between an antibacterial soap and a natural soap in eradicating bacteria and also suggested that repeated use of ‘antibacterial’ goods can actually promote bacterial resistance to antibiotics.

Cost savings

The subject of cost and any potential saving will vary from property to property.

However, research has also shown that the wearing impact natural cleaning products have on surfaces such as worktops are much less than strong chemical substances and therefore the period between replacements can be increased proportionately.

Using natural products, where appropriate, around the holiday home can also reduce the need for expensive off the shelf cleaning solutions.

Green Marketing

More and more visitors are now seeking holidays that are sustainable, green or eco-friendly.  The level to which holiday cottages answer the needs of the growing number of ‘green tourists’ is becoming an increasingly fundamental aspect in visitor decision making; the potential difference between staying in one location from another.

Using natural products rather than chemicals can add to the marketing of your property and the message that you’re doing everything you can to give them the premium holiday they desire, whilst also protecting the environment around you.

Boshers are specialist providers of insurance for holiday homes and cottages. For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support your holiday letting business please give us a call on 01237 429444.