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Investigating the Environmental Impact of Building New Properties


In the 21st century, we have reached a slow realisation that the way that we live our lives has an impact on our natural environment. Traditional fuels such as oil and coal are running out and will soon be in short supply while building methods that have been in use for decades can be wasteful and damaging to the environment.

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Here in the UK, as well as in other countries, we need to take stock of the way we build new properties and the way that we continue to live in them in order to conserve the resources that we have. We also need to make the best use of existing and developing technologies to conserve energy and resources so that we can develop a carbon neutral living environment.

an illutration of an eco friendly home with leafCurrently, around 50% of the UK's carbon emissions come from buildings and if the country is to reach its goal of reducing emissions by 80% by 2050, sustainable housing must be designed and constructed. The UK government has developed the Code for Sustainable Homes which aims for zero carbon emissions from new build properties and have tightened up building regulations in order to meet these targets. 

Existing householders can also do their bit for the environment by developing a less wasteful attitude to energy consumption and looking for ways to adapt their current property in order to take advantage of new eco-technologies to conserve natural resources.

In today's modern society people need to start considering these environmental elements when it comes to purchasing a home. Whether you are purchasing a new-build home from a property developer or you are looking to buy a property from an Estate Agent, both of these businesses need to start giving serious consideration about how the properties have a sustained impact on the environment. Many new-build property developers now have to follow the Code for Sustainable homes which is a government backed mandate. This code system assigns a 1 to 6 star rating against the property that measures the overall sustainability in addition to setting a minimum standard for the use of energy and water. This scheme will help the environmental impact of building new homes, but what about older properties?

Most estate agents typically sell houses that are not brand new so being environmentally conscious may seem like a difficult task, but it doesn't need to be that way. More agents today are taking this important factor into account and are providing advice to both vendors and buyers in regards to the properties they are dealing with. When older properties come onto the market, estate agents are now recommending the use of cavity wall injection as this will reduce the cost to heat the property and also lower the carbon footprint that it produces. In addition, where planning regulations allow, they are helping home buyers with applying for grants for solar panel installations.

With more and more people becoming environmentally aware of the resources drain on our environment it is vital that whether buying a new home, or purchasing an older property, that steps are being taken to help the preserve our precious natural resources.

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The Importance Of Energy Performance Certificates

 By Clive Baldwin


Our environment has never been more at risk, and we all need to do our bit to improve energy efficiency in our everyday lives, and in our properties. Knowing how eco-friendly a property on the market is enables a purchaser to be aware of the likely expense of owning the home in energy terms.

It is now a legal requirement for virtually everyone selling a property to obtain an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) before putting their home on the market. Anyone interested in buying a property can now ask to see the results of the energy assessment before putting in an offer, in order to see if it meets their environmental requirements.

There has never been a greater incentive to make eco-friendly improvements to your home if you are planning on selling, as a home with a poor energy rating may put off potential buyers and result in delays in making a successful sale. If a house or flat has received an energy rating of F or G, buyers may think twice, especially if the property was to be part of a buy-to-let purchase. The 2011 Energy Act outlined proposals in which properties with a lower rating than E would not be able to be let out legally after April 2018. This could be a major concern for potential landlords who may not wish to invest in a property that would require significant improvements to bring it in line with legislation.

An estate agents within Buckingham shared their views about this, saying "If prospective landlords feel that they will be required to spend considerable sums on making changes to an existing property in order to make it fit for rental purposes, they are very likely to look elsewhere. It therefore makes sense for anyone hoping to make a successful sale to ensure that their home is as energy efficient as possible before applying for an energy assessment. A rating of E or above could make all the difference when it comes to attracting purchasers."

When carrying out an inspection in order to issue an EPC, various aspects of the property are examined including the amount of insulation used, the number of double glazed windows there are, how many open fireplaces the property has, the make and model of the boiler, the type of heating system installed, and any green devices or fittings in place such as energy efficient lightbulbs or solar panels. The construction materials of the property and precise measurements of any extensions are also taken into account with the result being a grading that places the home within a rating band from A to G.

One major advantage of obtaining an EPC is that a homeowner will receive useful advice showing precisely where improvements can be made to raise the energy rating of their property, and where significant savings on energy bills can be made. Following the advice of the EPC assessor will lead to a property being cheaper to run as well as being considerably better for the environment.

An added bonus of performing alterations to a property as advised by the Energy Performance Certificate is that a home immediately becomes more desirable to prospective purchasers. A property with a rating of A or B will attract greater numbers of buyers who are looking to save money as well as those who understand the importance of decreasing the size of their carbon footprint in our increasingly environmentally aware society.