The government has announced a £5 million fund to aid the development of green home finance products such as green mortgages, ahead of the launch of the Green Finance Strategy.
The move could see households successfully slash their mortgage rates, save money on energy bills and reduce emissions from their properties, with green mortgages giving them discounted mortgage rates once they’ve upgraded their house’s energy rating.
Right now, homes are responsible for 15 per cent of the carbon emissions in the UK and the government has committed to making an increasing number of buildings cleaner, greener and more fit for the future as the UK moves to a net zero economy.
Funding is also set to be awarded to innovative projects that incentivise energy-efficient retrofitting through the Green Home Finance Innovation Fund, which will support the development of a range of products such as home improvement and equity loans, designed to help people make upgrades.
Energy efficiency advice will be on offer, as well as preferential mortgage interest rates and access to trusted installers to help support people in making energy-based improvements to their homes.
Chris Skidmore, energy and clean growth minister, said: “To fulfil our world-leading commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050, we need an overhaul of our housing stock to tackle the disproportionate amount of carbon emissions from buildings.
“By rolling out more green mortgages and reducing the costs of retrofitting older homes we’re encouraging homeowners to improve the efficiency of their homes and save money on their energy bills, helping to ensure everyone has access to a warm and comfortable home.”
This announcement comes just days after the government became the first major global economy to introduce laws committing the country to net zero emissions by the year 2050. Tackling domestic emissions head on through improving the efficiency of the current housing stock with an EPC below Band C will be essential to achieve this goal.
What energy-efficient home improvements could you make?
If you’ve already got a renovation project planned, what about tying in a few eco-friendly upgrades while you’re at it? The builders will already be on site so it’s the perfect opportunity to retrofit your home and start enjoying a more comfortable house that has reduced energy bills. But what to choose? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
If you’re having an extension done at home, you’ll need to ensure that it’s insulated according to the Building Regulations standards… but why don’t you ask your team of builders how much it might cost to make sure the rest of your house is up to standard as well.
If it was built with cavity walls, you can just blow some insulation right into the cavity but if there are solid walls, you’ll need to arrange for either internal or external insulation.
Again, if you’re already doing work on the house and it requires scaffolding, you could consider having solar panels installed at the same time, which would make the installation costs of the panels significantly cheaper.
Double glazed windows
If you have single glazing at home, you can make a huge difference to the comfort levels of your property, as well as your carbon footprint and your energy bills by switching to double or triple glazing.
Before you look into installation of these products, however, make sure you check with your local planning office to see if you live in a listed building or in a conservation area, as this could have an impact on what work can be done on your property.
Double glazing features two sheets of glass with a small gap between them to create a barrier of insulation that keeps the heat in. Triple glazing features three sheets of glass, but it might be that your needs are perfectly met by double glazing, so don’t assume that triple will always be more effective.
In terms of frames, uPVC ones last a long time and can be recycled. You might love the look of timber frames but bear in mind that although they do have a reduced environmental impact, they require more maintenance. Those with homes in conservation areas may well find that you need to use timber, however.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, installing double glazing in an entirely single-glazed property could see you save between £115 and £120 a year for a detached home, £110 for a semi-detached house, between £105 and £110 for a mid-terrace, between £100 and £105 for a detached bungalow and £100 for a mid-floor flat.
Keeping our homes warm can have a big impact on the planet and on our back pocket as well, so now could well be the right time to start looking into alternative ways to heat your house.
Have you considered infrared heating panels, for example? These emit infrared energy which is then absorbed by people or objects in a space, although it’s worth noting that they don’t warm the air up in a room so the temperature will drop when they’re turned off.
A biomass boiler could be a good option as well, which works by burning logs or wood chips. Fuels can also include food or animal waste. Stoves can be used to heat a single room, but a biomass boiler would be better if you’re looking to upgrade your gas boiler so as to heat the entire house and provide you with hot water.
You could also look into heat pumps, which use a small amount of electricity to absorb the heat from a room and release it elsewhere – similar to how heat is transferred in a fridge, but just in reverse. These are a really efficient way of heating a home and they’re very reliable, but bear in mind that the upfront costs can be quite high.
If you don’t want to make any big changes at home, you can still be a bit greener by swapping out some appliances and products you may have in use at the moment with more eco-friendly options.
Check out the Top Ten consumer platform that features rundowns of the most efficient products out there at the moment to help you be greener, covering the likes of lighting, washing machines, refrigerators and more.
It would also be a good idea to look at the bathroom to see what changes can be made in this part of the house to priorities water efficiency in the home. Do some research into the different types of shower head that are available, as some could save you litres of water – saving you money as well as protecting this precious resource for future generations.
We’d love to hear what energy-efficient changes you would make at home, so get in touch to let us know what you’ve got planned.
For advice relating to sliding sash windows in London, get in touch with us today.