Improving the energy efficiency of Britain’s 27.2 million homes, which are responsible for more than a quarter of the country’s CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, is seen as being key to tackling the issues of climate change, fuel poverty and our country’s energy security. This is particularly important as in June the Government announced they were going to make the country carbon neutral by 2050, meaning Britain’s homes need some extensive retro-fitting to meet these ambitious climate targets.
Researchers at Nottingham Trent University said it would cost on average £17,000 per property to retrofit each UK home to make it carbon neutral with renewable energy and insulation (this if done en masse and not piecemeal). That would cost the Country £462.4bn (interesting when the NHS costs £154bn per year). Now of course 22.7m homes are privately owned so that would be the responsibility of the owners, but if we look at publicly owned council housing, that would cost the Government in excess of £76.5bn – the HS2 project is costed at a mere £56bn!
The benefits of making homes carbon neutral go further than saving the planet, as occupants would have much lower gas and electric bills (which curently total £31.8bn per year), and generally warmer homes would reduce strain on the NHS, which spends about £848m a year treating conditions arising from cold housing. Also, local authorities would have to spend a lot less than the £5.2bn a year for ongoing property maintenance by the installation of extra insulation and renewable energy such as ground source heating, wind or solar panels.
To ‘encourage’ improved energy efficiency ratings, the Government
last year banned landlords from renting property with the lowest energy performance ratings of F or G, yet I don’t think there is an appetite to force private homeowners to do this work – although you never know in the future?. Homeowners would be unenthusiastic to take on the bother and cost of such building works, yet the Government could offer incentives and grants, which along with the funds saved on their energy bills could make the proposal more appealing.
So, what about the eco-credentials of of Ashford homeowners’ and landlords’ properties?
Every home that has been built, rented out or put on to the market in Ashford since 2007 has had to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), giving it a rating between A and G (rather like those stickers you see on new fridges and washing machines). A is the highest rating (i.e. most efficient and greener) and G is the worst. So, looking at Ashford first, then comparing us to the rest of the UK, this is the result…
So, 45.75% of Ashford homes are in that eco-friendly A to C energy performance banding ratings, which is proportionally 15% higher than the national average.
So, what next? Well the Government will endeavour to make the green revolution as painless as possible with technology developments like LED light bulbs, for example, saving greenhouse gases without people noticing. In the future we might have hydrogen-fuelled central heating instead of mains gas, solar panels for electricity, triple glazed windows and even ground sourced heating … sounds pie-in-the-sky? Well who would have thought 10 years ago that some of the most wanted cars would be electric or hybrid, built by the likes of Tesla?
There is no doubt that the energy efficiency of a property will rise in the coming years as the cost of fuel and people’s opinion on going green changes. You don’t need to spend £17,000 to find out what you can do to make your property greener. Look at your EPC and it will tell you what small changes you can make to improve your Ashford home’s energy efficiency rating and ultimately save yourself money.
If you want to find your EPC rating of your Ashford home, go to www.epcregister.com