In a period of time where reducing global warming is of upmost importance and with an ever increasing demand for properties to become more energy efficient, should more homeowners be adopting these important changes?
It is true that installing the latest environmentally friendly appliances and energy systems comes with a fairly expensive upfront cost, however, when including these systems and upgrades, your property value will increase.
If you manage to create an ultra-efficient property that has an EPC rating of A+, and aim to rent it out, you could raise the monthly rent.
Along with the long-term energy cost savings you will encounter, you’ll also be playing an important role in reducing the overall carbon emissions of the country.
The 11 energy efficient home improvements
Below, we’ve listed the available home improvement options in order of initial expense.
You should note, that although the potential savings for an individual household may not seem substantial, if only a small percentage of the UK were to adopt these changes, a large proportion of the countries carbon emissions would be reduced.
Getting a healthy ROI (return on investment) for home improvements is a big concern among homeowners, and rightly so. Since home improvements are part emotional and financial, not only are you looking to improve your current quality of life, you’re also hoping that your investment will pay off in the form of higher resale values down the road. Read more
For example there are 27 million households in the UK, producing an average of around 15 tonnes of CO2 per household per year. If only 5% of these household cut carbon emissions by 40%, it would produce an overall saving of around 8,000,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.
So, what are some of the home improvements which will increase your energy efficiency and thus lower your personal carbon footprint?
Smart meter. Cost: Free
Smart meters are installed for free by energy suppliers. Households which have a smart meter installed can save around £35 per year.
Changing energy supplier. Cost: Free
Whilst this is not a direct home improvement, it will provide further peace of mind to you. There are energy suppliers who provide 100% green energy, which is generated from hydroelectric, wind and fermentation plants.
Cool roofs. Estimated cost: £3 per m2
Cool roofs could be classed as sophisticated roof insulation. Reflective materials are incorporated in the roof which stop the property from overheating during the summer and keep valuable heat from escaping during the winter.
Roof and wall insulation. Estimated cost: £10 per m2
A large proportion of heat generated is lost through poorly insulated walls and roofs. Not only will sufficiently insulating your property decrease heat loss, but you’ll also decrease the time the heating system needs to be running.
Double or triple glazed windows. Estimated cost: £500 per window
Similar to the point above, single glazed windows are notoriously bad at leaking heat from your property. Upgrading to double glazed or triple glazed windows will significantly reduce your energy bills.
Water recycling. Estimated cost: £2,500
By installing a rainwater collection system, you can greatly reduce your annual water bills – especially with the number of rainy days experienced throughout the UK.
There are other water recycling systems, such as greywater recycling, where all of the water used, apart from toilet water, is filtered, cleaned and reused in the property.
Heat recovery ventilation (HRV). Estimated cost: £4,500
Accompanied with a ground source heat pump, a HRV system will provide sufficient ventilation to your property whilst also reducing heating or cooling requirements. Effectively, they make use the residual heat generated from a GSHP.
Solar panels. Estimated cost: £6,000
Various types of solar panels are available which can be incorporated into current properties or new builds. You can install standard panels which will produce either electricity or heat your water, however there are now panels known as Photovoltaic Thermal panels which will heat your water whilst also producing electricity.
Battery storage of electricity. Estimated cost: £6,500
If you have incorporated energy efficient technologies into your property, it may make sense to install a battery pack in your property. When combined with solar panels or other electricity producing system, a battery pack will effectively allow you to move towards a completely self-sufficient electricity source.
Ground source heat pump (GSHP). Estimated cost: £12,000
Whilst fairly expensive to install, a GSHP can greatly increase the efficiency of your property. Latent heat from underground heats water contained in either a borehole or array of piping, which can then be used for under floor heating or storing in a tank for showers/washing up etc.
Biomass boilers. Estimated cost: £15,000
When connected to a turbine, biomass boilers are effectively miniature power stations for your property. A fuel source is required which is usually in the form of wood logs, chips or pellets. Biomass boilers provide heat for the interior of a property as well as water heating.
New-build property designs
While the above changes are nearly all able to be incorporated into an existing property, building a property from the ground up does have its advantages, as you could potentially include:
A green roof incorporates vegetation into the roofing. This provides several advantages such as increased insulation, water absorption and a habitable environment for wildlife.
The downside is that specialist roofing must be installed – standard roofs cannot have a green roof installed.
Part underground property
Accompanied with a green roof, building a property which is partly underground can be advantageous in that you will have increased insulation from the ground along with natural heat from the ground below.
Completely off-grid design
By incorporating as many energy efficient systems and electricity generators as possible into your property can allow you to live completely disconnected from the national electricity grid.
It should be noted, that although the initial upfront cost of installing a number of the systems listed above can be high, when you combine various systems in your property, you’ll be saving money in the long run.
Further to this, by incorporating energy efficient and green energy systems in your property, your personal carbon emissions will be greatly reduced.
While upgrading your own property to be more energy efficient may feel like a drop in the ocean, if only a small percentage of the population were to strive for a more sustainable way of living, it would add up to a very substantial energy saving.
There is a Renewable Heat Incentive scheme set out by the government, however with current energy consumption from non-renewable sources, it won’t be long before irreversible damage occurs to the environment.
Perhaps there should be more of a push and incentive from the government to generate a significantly larger percentage of energy produced from green sources. Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
Article courtesy of EMC2 Property
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