As house prices level out, homeowners begin to face the question of whether they should move, or improve, their properties. Make the best of both worlds—reaping short-term benefits and adding long-term value to your home—by making your house and appliances as environmentally viable as possible. With green living a new, yet prevalent, trend, there are more ways than a quick lick of paint to impress prospective buyers: carbon appeal is looking set to outstrip kerb appeal in 2016.
According to research completed by the Energy Saving Trust, 53% of surveyed homeowners stated that they would be willing to pay more (up to £3,350 extra) for a more energy efficient property. This doesn’t just work for the positive; in the same survey, over 75% of people also said that a home with a poor energy rating would mean they would haggle on the asking price.
Secure your house value in the best way you can by adding environmental value to your home. Investing in a greener home will not only boost the resale value of your house, but will also cut your energy bills from the outset.
Your Energy Efficiency Score
If you’re selling or renting a house, you’re now obliged by law to make known your Energy Efficiency Certificate. But how are they calculated, and how can you make your score attract potential buyers? The certificate looks at the hardware of your house, although it doesn’t take into account how you put that hardware to use:
- The roof: does your loft have at least 270mm of insulation? Is your roof pitched, or flat?
- The windows: have you already invested in double-glazing?
- The walls: does your home have cavity wall insulation? Do you have any solid walls, and do they have any extra insulation on them?
- he heating system: how efficient is your boiler? How is your water heated? Do your radiators have thermostatic valves? Does your home feature any secondary heating: a fireplace or wood burner?
- The lighting: how many of your light bulbs are energy efficient?
The energy score your house receives is based on how much energy has to be expended per square metre to keep it temperate for a year. A score of 100 equates to a house that requires virtually no energy to run. That score translates into bands A—G, A being the most efficient, and G the least. Nationally, the average score weighs in at 46, in band E; it’s estimated that most houses can be refurbished to get over 70, and into band C.
Getting to grips with your Energy Efficiency Score is the best way to start adding environmental value to your home. A lower score attracts prospective buyers, and will begin to bring down your yearly expenditure on energy bills.
Update the boiler
Now you’re aware of the nuts and bolts of your Energy Efficiency Score, it’s time to start making the changes that will add environmental value to your home. The biggest and best solution will always be in the boiler. If your boiler is old, it’s likely to be inefficient; and that means you’re almost literally burning money. New innovations in heating solutions also means you have so many options at your fingertips; some of which are government initiatives, which could save you even more money in paybacks once you’ve installed them. So be sure to research thoroughly!
By law, any new boiler installed must be a condensing boiler, which recovers more heat from the flue than previous models. Condescending boilers could save you up to £240 a year; so they’re definitely a worthwhile investment! If you’re updating your boiler, maximise on the beneficial outcome by installing thermostatic valves on your radiators, which will help to regulate room temperatures. At around £7 each, they’re a relatively cheap and easy fix that can help in adding environmental value to your home.
Seen as somewhat standard nowadays, your windows should be double glazed if you’re thinking of greener living. Single-paned windows score very badly in your Energy Efficiency Certificate, and these days even listed buildings are beginning to gain the permission needed to install double-glazing.
Glazing is an area in which costs can vary widely: period houses, wooden windows, window size, type and materials; all of these contribute to the vast differentiation in price. Do your research before installing any double-glazing.
Whilst good quality double-glazing will add value to your home, cheap PVC will detract from the aesthetics of your house, and probably result in a lower value. If you live in a listed building or period home, it’s probably worth spending more money for a superior outcome.
Walls and insulation
One of the main questions factored into your Energy Efficiency Score is centred on walls and insulation. First and foremost: are your walls solid or cavity? Most houses built after 1925 have cavity walls, which are seen as far superior. Cavity walls feature two layers of brick with a gap between; these can be incredibly efficient, especially when filled with insulating materials such as spun glass fibre or rockwool.
Installing costs in comparison with yearly savings are very favourable for cavity wall insulation. In a detached house with four bedrooms, the average cost of installation is £720, with savings of almost half that per year. Insulating your cavity walls is a great way of adding environmental value, without having to expend a huge amount of money on installation costs. Solid walls are far more expensive to insulate: according to the Energy Savings Trust, from £5,500 to £8,500, with savings offering the average household around £460 per year.
The little fixes
It’s not all major renovations and heating upheavals when it comes to adding environmental value to your home. Here are a few smaller green fixes to get you started:
- Fireplace: If you have an open fireplace, consider installing a super efficient wood-burning stove.
- Hot water cylinder: Replace your old cylinder jacket with an extra thick one.
- Appliances: Ensure any new appliances are energy efficient models. Look for washing machines and dishwashers with an ‘eco’ mode.
- Lighting: Replace all your bulbs with energy efficient LED or CFL bulbs.
There are so many options to add environmental value to your home in 2016. Make sure you’re maximising on your carbon appeal by getting smart with your Energy Efficiency Score, and staying clued up on the energy innovations that are happening all the time. The eco makeover you give your home will not only result in a better value, but will also give you savings on your energy bill from the outset! Go green, to ensure that you get your asking price.