Is your home energy efficient?

Is your home energy efficient?

Insulation – not the sexiest aspect of green living, you’ll agree. But considering space heating accounts for over half of domestic energy use, the 125% increase in fuels bills over the past six years and with 5 million UK residents now in fuel poverty – trapping hot air has never seemed so important!

A new model designed by the Energy Saving Trust (EST) shows how recent trends towards increasing standards of domestic energy efficiency could be greatly improved in the majority of the UK’s least energy-efficient homes, simply by using readily available and affordable insulation.

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EST figures show that the number of homes in the F and G bands – the lowest grading in the energy performance certificate (EPC) – fell by 5% from 2006 to 2008. According to the study, the worst G-rated homes can emit more than 22 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year – compared to an average British home which emits five tonnes a year – currently rated at D. But 84% of these G-rated homes could be brought into E band for £3,000 – typically by installing new loft and cavity wall insulation or a modern boiler. Bringing each of the least energy efficient homes up to a better E rating could save 14 tonnes of CO2 a year, as well as cutting bills and improving the quality of life for those who live in them.

David Weatherall, housing strategy manager for the Energy Saving Trust, said: “On the whole, our study is good news. Most F- and G-rated homes can be improved very cost-effectively, for less than £3,000. That’s less than 2% of the sale price of the average UK home.” Read about renewable energy at home.

He continued: “With the abolition of Home Information Packs, and the new government committed to the green agenda, EPCs are going to enjoy a higher profile. For anyone about to sell their home with an old boiler or lacking full loft and cavity insulation, we’d strongly advise you not to take the risk of getting a very poor energy rating and potentially a lower sale price.”

Friends of the Earth’s climate campaigner Dave Timms said: “It’s shocking that the very worst homes are twice as common in the private rented sector. The government must act urgently to ensure they are brought up to scratch. That means financial help and incentives to enable landlords to make improvements, and legislation so that rented homes are required to meet a minimum energy-efficiency standard by 2016.”

A previous Energy Saving Trust survey suggested 70% of people would consider renegotiating the price of a property if they discovered it was inefficient. The findings come just a day after a government advisory group warned that people in fuel poverty are being hardest hit by climate change policies – without seeing much benefit from efforts to reduce energy use.

The Energy Saving Trust recognises that the greatest increases in efficiency are found with loft and cavity wall insulation which can be done for under £1,000 – or less with grants and offers.

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