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Improving energy efficiency high on the agenda

  • April 19, 2023
  • 2 min read
Improving energy efficiency high on the agenda

The cost of running a home has become one of the most discussed topics as Google searches for “energy bill” have skyrocketed in the last year. It’s no surprise that improving energy efficiency and reducing bills is now an increasing priority for anyone looking to buy their first property.

“The UK has one of the oldest and most inefficient housing stocks in the world,” says Zoopla, “with nearly three quarters of our homes built before 1980.” It highlights that much of the conversation is around ways to reduce energy consumption “has been dominated by quick wins and fast fixes,” including “draught excluders, swapping out baths for showers and switching off electrical appliances rather than leaving them on standby.” These can help cut energy bills. But it takes more to bring older homes to a more efficient standard. This means retrofitting which can be disruptive, costly, and time-consuming.

According to Zoopla’s ‘Get on with living’ report, the average three-bedroom semi-detached home would cost £61,500 to upgrade to current standards that new properties are built to. This goes up to £73,000 when you include exterior rendering and guttering and other ways of improving energy efficiency

New builds are designed to update and ever evolving regulations for building and as such, have energy efficiency built into them. They also have new technology and materials and are built with environmentally conscious practices that can support and encourage natural biodiversity. 

Due to their improved efficiency, new-build homes use far less energy than older properties and as a result, see much lower utility bills on top of money saved by not having expensive retrofits.

85% of new-builds, according to Zoopla’s analysis, were awarded an A or B Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating last year. Meanwhile, just 4% of existing residents achieved the same standard, with the most common rating in the UK being D.

As such, a new-build home could save an average of £2,600 on energy bills. And now that the government’s Energy Price Guarantee increased on the 1st of April 2023, new-build homeowners stand to save even more. In England, that average will rise to over £3,100 per year.

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