Online House Hunter: Green credentials
THE government’s green credentials are back under the spotlight with energy secretary Chris Huhne likely to tell MPs this week the UK would adopt recommendations made by the Government’s climate advisors for a fourth “carbon budget”.
But how about the green credentials of the housing market? The UK Green Building Council is fighting the corner for a sustainable built environment – in both new buildings and existing ones. Last week they joined other leading property figures in a call for for the upcoming Energy Bill to be used to legislate on Display Energy Certificates.
In an open letter to the Prime Minister, the UKGBC pointed out that schools, shopping centres, offices and other non-domestic buildings are responsible for up to 17 per cent of the UK’s carbon emissions. But currently Display Energy Certificates are only mandatory for public buildings over 1000 sq metres but not for private sector buildings. The council sees obvious benefits in energy certificates for the likes of shops and shopping centres – not least in encouraging them to improve their green credentials in the public eye.
Paul King, Chief Executive of the UK Green Building Council said:
“It’s very simple – if you don’t know how much energy you are using, you can’t manage it. We’ve simply no idea how our buildings up and down the country are actually performing, so mandatory A-G ratings are the crucial first step in helping businesses understand and reduce their energy use.”
In the housing market we come across Energy Performance Certificates when buying or selling a home (and renting). They give an at-a-glance indication of a home’s energy use and carbon dioxide emissions but also a report on how things can be improved. It covers the likes of wall and loft insulation, double glazing, heating and hot water systems, and lighting.
The hope is that those looking to sell their home will do all they can to win a good EPC and those looking to buy a home will prefer a good EPC. In reality, few will reject their dream home because of an EPC and at best it’s a tool for negotiating a lower price (“Oh, we’ll need to sort out the loft insulation….”).
For those wanting to save the planet or just get a better price on their home shortly due to go on the market, below are some links to useful websites for green-ing your home.
- DirectGov: Energy Performance Certificates
- EPC adviser: A tool to carry out an energy audit on your own home
- Choosing and using household appliances wisely
- The Energy Saving Trust
- Grants and discounts to help you improve your home
- Home Energy Checker
- Work out your carbon footprint with the Carbon Cutter
- Carbon footprint calculator
- Independent online property search engine
- Independent House and Home section
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