Buying an energy efficient home
Climate-friendly features to look for in a new home
Whether you're buying your first home or you've decided to move home, there’s a lot to think about. Energy efficiency is not always top of every homebuyer’s checklist, but it’s worth keeping in mind that energy bills will be with you for the long-term.
We’ve put together some ideas to help you find a home that won’t leave you with cold toes in the winter.
The gas used to heat our homes and cook our meals makes up 15% of the UK’s total climate emissions.
Check your energy efficiency
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) will help you understand how well a property uses energy. But, as energy prices can change, finding a home that uses or wastes less energy could also give you some comfort should prices suddenly increase.
DIY energy saving checklist
On top of using your EPC certificate. It’s also worth doing research to help you take a closer look at the energy saving features a property has. Here are some things that you could look for:
Quality of the insulation – if you can get access, look in the loft to see the quality of insulation and spot signs of wear and tear. Ask about cavity wall insulation too, including how long ago was the work was completed.
Draughty double glazing – like most things, technology moves on so it’s worth asking the age of windows too. And look at the sealant for signs of wear or mould.
Age of the heating system – and the type of thermostat installed. Check that you can control the temperature room-by-room. Or, even better, if the property has a smart meter installed. Both are costs to keep in mind when buying a property.
Could you add solar panels? – solar panels are a common feature of newer properties. If it’s an older property, it’s worth exploring the possibility of installing solar panels, even if it is a longer-term goal. They could help reduce your energy bills and, if you live in England, Scotland or Wales, you could benefit from a Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) tariff.
Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) tariff
The SEG replaced the previous Feed-in Tariff (FiT) scheme on 1 January 2020. You’ll need to check if the solar panels and whoever installed are certified under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) or equivalent. You will also need a registered smart meter that records your exported electricity, even if you’re not signing up to a smart tariff.
Your dream ‘green’ home?
Your dream home may be in the perfect location and offer the space you are after but if the rooms are draughty or the insulation is poor, it may end up leaving you looking for ways to reduce your energy bills or struggling to pay them during the winter months.
You could make energy saving improvements to your home, but finding one that’s already good at saving you energy and might end up saving you money too.
Plus, if you needed any more convincing of the benefits of an energy-efficient home, it may also save you money on your mortgage payments too by choosing one that recognises the green credentials of your property.