The need to reduce our carbon emissions is growing on a daily basis, as is the Government’s efforts to educate UK home owners and businesses that more action needs to be taken to hit its EU renewable energy targets.
Given that homes are one of the largest contributors to carbon emissions in the UK it is clear that considerable reductions could be made in this area. Recommended changes can range from simple and affordable improvements such as making a home better insulated through to installing renewable energy technologies such as Solar PV systems to generate electricity, as well as biomass boilers and air or ground source heat pumps to generate heat. A number of these initiatives are incentivised by the Government to reward those who adopt such technologies.
The key point is that making these changes will not only reduce the carbon emissions from our homes, but all these steps will also go towards reducing household’s yearly energy bills, so it really is a win-win situation.
With so many of the UK’s buildings being energy inefficient, it is crucial more is done. The good news is that more is being done with significant progress being made in the area of construction of new homes.
The Government is actively working with various industry bodies to tighten building regulations which means the design of and technology used in new homes is much more energy efficient than older houses. Whilst new homes being built today generate considerable savings in energy bills and less carbon emissions, the targets set by the Government are far more ambitious with the ultimate aim being zero carbon new homes by 2016.
Current regulations are already heading in the right direction and producing some impressive results. A report recently published by National House Building Council (NHBC) and the Zero Carbon Hub found living in a new 4 bedroom detached home built today could achieve cost savings of up to 55%, when compared to an older 4 bed Victorian property . Similar savings were reported on other types of properties such as 52% on a 3 bed terrace and dropping slightly less to 47% on a 1 bed flat.
Other positive news from the recently published research is the public’s desirability to live in more energy efficient homes, with 70% of respondents stating they would be interested in purchasing a home that was described as energy efficient, whilst at the same time stating they would obviously like to understand what the potential costs savings could be if they purchased a newly built home.
Whilst these figures are both impressive and encouraging, the really interesting statistics are the potential savings when new homes start achieving the zero carbon target, as annual savings could then be as high as 79% or in monetary terms £1,875.
With low and in the not-too distant future zero carbon homes becoming more widely available, the substantial cost savings certainly add to the appeal of buying a new home for those looking to buy for the first time as well as those looking to move.
Simon Colley writes for Renewables Guide, a leading online resource for renewable energy news and finding MCS accredited installers of renewable energy technologies such as biomass boilers. Photo by Matthew Rutledge