While the pandemic is taking centre stage again this year, we mustn’t allow ourselves to become complacent about climate change. One way you can improve your impact upon the environment is through your home.
Here at Bidwells, we practice what we preach. Our new office has been built to exceed regulation standards in energy efficiency and sustainability.
We want to help you to make environmentally conscious decisions when searching for your new home; here are some tips to help you go green:
One of the most important things to consider before purchasing a home is to look at the property’s energy performance certificate (EPC). This certificate is required by law and may even include some suggested improvements on how to make homes more environmentally friendly.
From low energy lightbulbs to loft insulation, the equipment we use in our homes is more energy efficient than ever before.
We’ve made similar improvements with our own office. The walls and roof are well insulated, with high-performing windows placed to maximise opportunities for natural daylighting of internal spaces. Mechanical and electrical systems are designed to be as efficient as possible with low-energy lighting installations and minimal requirements for mechanical ventilation.
The way you heat your property is also an important factor to consider. Gas, oil and electric heating systems vary in their level of sustainability. Electric heaters rank best, but they are not installed as much as gas systems.
Gas central heating is found to be the most common way homes are heated compared to oil heating systems which release the most environmentally harmful emissions.
Housing developers are beginning to look for alternative methods to heat up your home, so be on the lookout for air source or ground source heating pumps. Both heat pumps are a piece of evolving technology - the unit sits outside of your home and converts air or heat from the ground into heat for your home. These alternatives are not the most cost effective as they use fairly new technology, however it is increasingly important for homes to facilitate alternative heating methods and steer away from using precious natural resources.
Inspired by the constant temperatures in caves (of all things!), the ground floor of our office building has been designed with a large amount of exposed structural concrete, which provides thermal mass and regulates fluctuations in air temperature, reducing potential peaks in the heating and cooling requirement.
Cavity walls can be a sign that your home will be more cost effective. More efficient in heating your home than solid brick walls, cavity walls keep the cold outside and your warm interior separate. From the 1970s cavity walls began to get filled with insultation, from 1990 every new build was required by law to have insulation.
Loft insulation can help you to heavily reduce your home’s carbon footprint, reducing emissions and reducing the cost of your heating bills.
Installing insulation in your home’s walls and loft is a great way to save money on heating, but also helps to future proof your home and do your part to be more sustainable.
Our new office combines well insulated walls and pitched timber roof with high-performing windows, ensuring we are reducing our carbon footprint through with lower heating and lighting costs. Mechanical and electrical systems are designed to be as efficient as possible with low-energy lighting installations and minimal requirements for mechanical ventilation.
The UK’s use of solar panels is increasing: in 2019, the UK’s total solar capacity stood at 13,284.3 Mega Watts (MW), which spans across over one million installations of solar panels nationwide. Photovoltaic panels and solar panels are one of the most common ways homeowners and property developers boost the sustainability of homes.
Solar panels don’t have to ruin the character of your home. The pitched timber roof of our office building has integrated photovoltaics generating electricity on site. It’s been designed to be both sustainable and sympathetic to neighbouring architecture, including a nearby thatched roof cottage.
Financial help for going greener
Many of the sustainable home improvement options listed in this article are available for you to acquire through the Green Homes Grant. Homeowners can apply to receive a grant of up to £10,000 towards the cost of making your home more energy efficient. Alternatively, you can apply to receive a loan through The Green Deal, helping you to make energy-saving improvements to your home if you are unable to afford them initially.
Future of housing developments
Looking towards the future of housing developments, the UK Government’s Spring Statement committed to introducing a Future Homes Standard, aiming to have low carbon heating and world-leading levels of energy efficiency in all new build homes.
Residential property developers are increasingly discussing how to future proof property. Eliminating the use of fossil fuels is high up on their agenda, including installing electric car charging points on properties.
We’ve made provision for electric car charging points at our office, and you might also see our agents around town on bicycles or electric bikes – feel free to give them a friendly wave if you spot them!
For more information on finding a home that will help you go green, contact us.