It is no secret that climate change is having an impact on the UK. With summer temperatures seeing the mercury soar and snowstorms seeing the country grind to a halt, nobody can argue that weather patterns have changed. During the past 18 months climate change has been a widely discussed topic in the media, particularly with the protests held by Extinction Rebellion calling for the government to declare a climate emergency.
With the awareness surrounding climate change growing many people are becoming more aware of the impact their own carbon footprint is having on world. A European study of carbon emissions discovered that the average UK household crated a ten-tonne carbon footprint annually. This put the UK as the worst European country for emissions.
Whilst many people are happy to reduce their carbon footprint in small ways such as washing at 30°C or driving less, there are larger changes that could be made at home. Whilst there can be a financial outlay for these changes, in the long run you could not only reduce your carbon footprint but also increase the value of your house.
This article will shine a light on home improvements that can benefit your pocket and the environment. Furthermore, if you’re viewing properties to buy, check to see if any potential homes have these features.
Large-scale green home changes
Whilst winter temperatures in the UK are mild compared to other countries, 20% of UK emissions are from keeping our homes toasty. Between October and March thermostats are put into action daily and many of us see a significant spike in our heating bill during this period.
With Climate Change Act regulations revealing that around seven million in the UK will need to be insulated to follow new standards, it could be likely you will need to undertake this task sooner or later. Not only does improved insulation decrease your gas emissions, it will naturally also increase your homes EPC rating, sometimes by two bands.
Re-insulating your home could reduce your carbon footprint by 1,000kg per year and knock £400 off your household bills.
Before 2016 the government would give a cash sum to those creating their own electricity. Due to the number of people realising that installing solar panels would give them a government rebate there was a surge in panel popularity. However, the numbers were so vast that the government reduced the financial reward by 65%.
Despite this decrease in financial reward, are solar panels still worth it? In terms of CO2 emissions solar panels are a winner; you can heat or provide electricity to your own home and completely eliminate your bills. Furthermore, any surplus solar energy you create can be fed into the National Grid, with some households receiving up to £300 a year for doing so.
Whilst solar panels are an expensive home improvement – ranging between £1,500 and £8,000 depending on square meterage – the profit can be significant in the long run. Furthermore, you can completely eliminate the CO2 emissions you would otherwise create with traditional electricity and heating supplies.
Solar panels can increase both the saleability and value of your home. The demand for cheaper energy is at its highest and property buyers are more than likely going to choose a home that can provide this.
Is creating an eco-home a good investment?
Undeniably decreasing your carbon footprint at home is going to benefit the world. Whilst the changes you make will have little impact on a global scale currently, if everyone were to do their bit it could make all the difference.
Large-scale green changes to your home will better the EPC rating of your property, making it more attractive to buyers. Estate agents have backed the notion that green homes are selling for higher prices than similar counterparts that have poor EPC ratings. With the government stating that spending £3000 could drastically increase your CO2 emissions as a household investing could be highly beneficial.