The UK Government pledged last month to cut greenhouse gas emissions to ‘net zero’ by 2050 – but what does this mean for the UK’s homeowners and landlords?
Britain’s 27.2 million homes are currently responsible for more than a quarter of the country’s CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, and recent research suggests it would cost an average of £17,000 per property to retrofit the average UK home to be carbon neutral.
Here in Bournemouth, just under 40% of homes are currently ranked as eco-friendly, according to EPC ratings. This is 4.5% higher proportionally than the national average – but there is clearly significant work needed, and substantial investment, to bring the remaining homes up to standard.
Carbon neutral properties
The cost of making every property in the UK carbon-neutral is substantial. Researchers at Nottingham Trent University calculated that it would cost on average £17,000 per property to retrofit an average UK home with renewable energy and insulation (and that’s if done en masse and not piecemeal). That would cost the country £462.4bn (interesting when the NHS costs £154bn per year). 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.
But whilst the investment is high for home-owners and councils, the benefits of making homes carbon neutral – in addition to saving the planet – are significant. Occupants will have much lower gas and electric bills, which total £31.824bn nationally per year. Warmer households also mean a much lower strain on the NHS, which currently spends about £848m a year treating conditions that arise from cold housing. In addition, local authorities would spend a lot less than the current £5.2bn a year for ongoing property maintenance as a result of the installation of extra insulation and renewable energy such as ground source heating, wind or solar panels.
To improve efficiency ratings, the Government last year banned landlords from renting property with an energy performance rating of F and G (the lowest ratings). However, homeowners don’t currently have the same incentive, and many will be unenthusiastic about the stress and cost of the building works needed to make properties eco-friendly. But the Government could offer incentives and grants, which along with the funds saved on their energy bills, to make the prospect more appealing?
Eco friendly housing in Bournemouth
So, what about eco credentials of the properties of Bournemouth homeowners and landlords?
Every home that has been built, rented or put on the market in Bournemouth 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 fridges and washing machines).
A is the highest rating (ie most efficient and greener) and G is the worst. Here in Bournemouth, the picture looks like this…
And compared to the rest of the UK, this is the result…
The charts show that 38.8% of Bournemouth homes are in that eco-friendly A-C energy performance banding ratings, which is proportionally 4.51% higher than the national average.
Incentives for eco friendly housing
So, what next? Well, the Government will endeavour to make the green revolution as painless as possible, with technology developments such as LED light bulbs saving greenhouse gases without people noticing. In the future, we might have hydrogen central heating instead of mains gas, all have solar panels for electricity, triple glazed windows and even ground sourced heating … Sounds out of reach? Well, who would have thought 10 years ago that some of the most wanted cars would be electric and 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. And 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 Bournemouth home’s energy efficiency rating and ultimately save yourself money.
If you want to find your EPC rating of your Bournemouth home, go to www.epcregister.com
For more advice about Bournemouth property, speak to the local experts at Foxes Sales & Lettings. Get in touch with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling us on 01202 299600.