With parliament in the UK officially dissolved ahead of the general election on 12 December, campaigning from all of the major parties has started in earnest at the beginning of November.
Labour is seeking to champion a number of policies that are nothing to do with Brexit, one of which is to do with improving the energy efficiency of homes around the country.
The Herald Scotland reported on the party’s proposal to upgrade almost every home in the UK with greater energy efficiency measures. In total, Labour is suggesting spending £250 billion on the improvements, which will be designed to help mitigate climate change and save households money on their energy bills.
According to the newspaper, the party hopes that by targeting emissions from households, it can reduce the UK’s CO2 emissions by ten per cent.
The policy will provide assistance to 27 million homes across the country, to introduce measures such as loft insulation and double glazing, as well as to install renewable and low-carbon technologies.
Overall, it’s expected to cost an average of £9,300 per home, although Labour has stressed that only £60 billion of the overall cost would come from central government. Much of the remainder would come out of savings from household energy bills, some £169 billion of the total amount.
A further £21 billion would be provided via loans to regional energy agencies, the party explained.
Launching the policy, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn commented: “By investing on a massive scale, we will usher in a green industrial revolution with good, clean jobs that will transform towns, cities and communities that have been held back and neglected for decades.”
As well as improving the environmental credentials of many of the country’s buildings, Labour estimates that the policy will end the majority of fuel poverty in the UK by the mid 2020s.
There will be grants for low-income households, while wealthier families would pay for the improvements via the savings on their energy bills over a period of years.
For those living in period properties, it can often be a challenge to know how best to upgrade their homes. Choosing the right windows can be especially difficult.
Last month, an article for Homebuilding & Renovation ran through some of the main things to consider when you’re choosing new glazing for your property. If you have sash windows and want to retain the same style, there are several options open to you.
The publication explained that, if the old windows are still in good condition, you could arrange for repairs to be made to the frame. This can allow you to tackle issues like draughts and make them more energy efficient.
If the whole window needs replacing, look into the options for getting new timber windows in Suffolk, or wherever you live. Timber frames will better retain the original aesthetic on a period property and nothing can quite match them for their style.
While timber frames can be stained, they are usually painted. This gives you a little more control over how the exterior of your home looks than you may get with other options such as UPVC frames, which are typically white.
You’ll also have to decide between a softwood or a hardwood frame. Softwoods tend to be cheaper, with Douglas fir and European redwood (also known as Scots pine) named by the news provider as two of the best options.
If you have the money to splash out on a hardwood frame, you’ll find that these do last longer than their softwood counterparts. However, with the significantly higher cost, whether you opt for this kind of window is likely to depend on your budget.
As well as the frames, you should also consider the type of glass you have in your windows. The news provider suggested that low emissivity (also known as low-E) glazing could be a good option.
This is glass that’s designed to prevent heat escaping through your windows. It meets building regulations in the UK for both replacement windows and those that are fitted as part of a new extension.
In addition to looking at how new windows could improve your home’s energy efficiency, there are a host of other steps you can take. The Irish Mirror recently shared some of the top options, pointing out that the vast majority will bring you savings on your energy bills and therefore pay for themselves within a matter of years.
Among the options are cavity wall insulation or solid wall insulation, depending on the type of property you own. Both can save you hundreds on your annual heating costs, with the amount varying depending on the type of heating system you have installed.
Replacing your gas boiler with a condensing boiler is another way to make energy savings and green your home. Although the initial installation costs are quite high, the news provider estimates that a condensing boiler will save you ten to 12 per cent of your energy bill annually once it’s up and running.
For a really cheap way to save some money, buy a hot water cylinder jacket. These will typically cost less than £20 and you’ll have made that money back in savings on your heating bills within six months to a year.
If you’re in a position to spend a bit more money, you could explore the viability of installing solar PV panels on your property. Again, the initial installation costs can be high, running into the thousands, but they can save you hundreds each year on your energy bills. That means you will see a return on this investment.
You’ll also know you’re doing your bit for the environment by using an alternative to fossil fuels to heat your home and water, and to provide electricity for your property.
For anyone who’s thinking of moving home to get a bigger property in the coming months, it could be worth considering whether it’s more cost effective to extend your existing abode.
Property Wire recently shared research from HaMuch, a tradesperson comparison site, which revealed that in 95.5 per cent of the UK, it would be cheaper to get a loft conversion on your existing property than it would be to upsize to a bigger home.
If you decide to undertake a major renovation project like this, you could also explore adding new energy efficiency measures, like upgrading your windows, at the same time.
Tarquin Purdie, chief executive officer of HaMuch, told the news provider that it’s worth considering renovations over upsizing, particularly if you’re planning to go from a two to a three-bedroom home.
“It may be much more cost effective to add a third room to your existing home than it is to upsize and buy a bigger house. Not only will this provide you with the additional room you need, but it could also result in a much greater return if you do come to sell,” he asserted.
Given that the property market has been stagnating in recent months, it could also be an appealing option because it means that you don’t have to go through the rigmarole of searching for the perfect property, not to mention finding a buyer for your existing home.
The research found that, on average, it costs £38,182 to carry out a loft conversion on a property in the UK. Comparatively, the expense of moving from a two to a three-bed property is £106,323. That’s a difference of more than £68,000.
With so much of a saving, you would also be ahead if you spent some additional money making other upgrades to your property to improve its energy efficiency.