By Martin Williamson, Head of Residential Property, Latimer Hinks Solicitors www.latimerhinks.co.uk
Household energy efficiency has become something of a political behemoth over recent years. How to encourage home owners to switch off lights, conserve energy and switch on to other green measures is a goal that successive governments have had in their sights, but have so far failed to realise.
The current Governments flagship Green Deal scheme has turned into a bit of a damp squib with just 36 households having signed up since it started in January, in spite of predictions from ministers that it would attract 10,000. The initiative allows homeowners to fund energy efficiency work with a loan repaid through savings on utilities bills. Improving theenergy efficiency of your home could increase its value by up to 38 per cent, according to government figures released in June. A study of over 300,000property sales by the Department ofEnergyand Climate Change (DECC) concluded that installing measures such as loft insulation or efficient boilers to raise a home's energy rating from band G to E could mean adding more than £16,000 to the sale price.
At the end of June, almost 45,000 Green Deal assessments have been carried out for homeowners who have expressed an interest in the scheme in addition to the 36 who have signed up. An update issued by the Department for Energy and Climate Change suggested that delays to finance agreements could be partly to blame for the lack of uptake to date.
Green Deal is a laudable scheme that puts energy efficiency in the home much more within the reach of ordinary households. There are 45 measures or areas of home improvement approved to receive funding under the Green Deal, covering insulation, heating and hot water, glazing and micro-generation (generating your own energy). For the non-domestic sector, lighting, mechanical ventilation and heat recovery measures can also be covered.
The Green Deal is good for anyone who might perhaps feel squeezed by heating costs, and cannot afford the simple home improvements needed to cut their fuel bills. If you live in a chilly house and worry about bills, it's worth considering. It should help anyone who feels reluctant to turn up the heat because of escalating costs.
For more immediate, straightforward ways of being energy efficient, homeowners can try simple measures such as decreasing the wattage of light bulbs. A simple survey conducted by our employees has shown that a 70% decrease in wattage can be achieved by spending a few more pounds on light bulbs. The typical wattage of energy efficient bulbs is seven compared to 60 for cheaper bulbs. Companies catering more for the business market such as Big Energy have impressed with real efficiency gains once the company or organisation has made the decision to switch to low wattage options. There is a raft of other measures that anyone can access to make their homes or businesses more energy efficient, with or without the Green Deal.
To find out more about the Green Deal, go to www.gov.uk/green-deal-energy-saving-measures.For further information: www.latimerhinks.co.ukor call 01325 341 500