UK’s green deal for homes may be confusing for home owners

Loft and cavity wall insulation should reduce heating bills

The launch of the UK government’s Green Deal programme to encourage more people to insulate their homes and increase fuel efficiency has been described as the biggest national improvement programme since the Second World War.

The plan involves investment of £200 million to insulate 14 million homes by 2020 as well as delivering energy efficiency and heating measures worth an estimated £1.3 billion but the general public are likely to be confused.

According to the Nationwide Building Society, one of the UK’s biggest lenders, laying 27cm thick loft insulation will reduce heating bills by £210 to £250 per year, and cavity wall insulation will save £210 to £250 per year.

Up front costs are an obvious point of hesitation for the home owner, where 20 year loans at a potential 7.5% interest rate to install new boilers and other energy efficient products will affect the value and saleability of their home as the loan is tied against the property, rather than the individual.

By putting this energy debt on the house, whereby energy efficiency firms would borrow from a central fund that the householder gradually pays off via the savings creating lower gas and electricity bills, means that many sellers might perceive the scheme as a disadvantage.

How much you can borrow will depend on the identified savings based on the size of your home, the number of occupants and the current size of your bills. Some work, such as double glazing, may require an upfront part payment. For example installing an A-rated boiler would typically cost £2,500. Adding further hesitation, some companies are set to charge householders for the Energy Performance Certificate survey and plan.

Napoleon Wilcox, head of the South West UK region of International Estate Agent Fine & Country, believes there will be conflicting pressures for home owners but going green is a step in the right direction.

‘It’s interesting to note that there seemed to be a good number of home owners, not necessarily sellers adding in solar panels earlier this year but as soon as the Tariff dropped from 25p to 16p then this dried up almost over night,’ he explained.

He pointed out that Fine & Country ecofriendly properties in the South West are ahead of the game in offering not just stunning aesthetics, but the enticement of minimal bills for prospective buyers.

In December 2006, the UK government promised that all new homes would be zero carbon from 2016 and introduced the Code for Sustainable Homes, against which all new homes would be rated on a range of different sustainability measures. Since then, the coalition government has heavily scaled this back, redefining zero carbon and altering regulations.

‘In the long term, enforcing set energy efficient standards on new builds is the obvious and instant solution, adhering to the Green Deals ethical intentions as well as ensuring the government practices what it preaches,’ said Matthew Pryke, chief executive officer of Fine & Country.

The firm believes that buying a new ‘green’ home is set to be more attractive especially since it is predicted that in three years an eco-friendly house may be worth 6% more than a standard property.

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