Tag: homes

Better mortgages could be offered to energy efficient homebuyers

Homebuyers across the EU could be offered better borrowing rates on mortgages in return for purchasing more energy efficient homes or committing to implement energy saving work within properties as part of a “ground-breaking” new project.

The European Energy Efficiency Mortgage initiative is aiming to create a standardised “energy efficient mortgage” based on preferential interest rates for energy efficient homes or additional funds for retrofitting homes at the time of purchase.

The scheme has been cited as the first ever collaboration between groups of major banks, mortgage lenders, businesses and organisations from the building and energy industries for the purpose of addressing the concept of energy efficient mortgages, with the project having been launched by a consortium led by the European Mortgage Federation (EMF) and the European Covered Bond Council (ECBC).

The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) claims that creating a private bank financing mechanism to encourage improvements in the energy efficiency of households is a key means of helping the EU to meet its energy saving target of 20 per cent by 2020 and to deliver on the ambition of the Paris Agreement reached at COP21 last December.

Read the full article in Energyzine

Comment: This seems a great idea, which could be adopted in the UK. Perhaps it could be incorporated into the Bonfield Review or be one of the announcements by the new Department for
Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy – when it finally decides what it will do to improve home energy efficiency in the home – thus revitalising a new version of the Green Deal initiative.

This is a great “carrot” for those selling and buying at house. And finally, will make the EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating worth something that can be promoted by Estate Agencies,

Research finds that SuperHomes use 40% less energy

Detailed research into the energy use of SuperHomes reveals that, on average, they are using 40% less energy per square metre per year than the average UK home. SuperHomes are, therefore, much cheaper to run than their unrefurbished neighbours.

Chester SuperHome
Chester SuperHome. Whilst bills are similar to the owner’s previous home, that home was half the size!

The most energy efficient home in the study, whilst offering improved comfort, uses a staggering 86% less energy than the average home.

One of the participants in this research, Simon Brown, is no stranger to the benefits of retrofit. He says “After the first year, we were pleasantly surprised to find our total gas and electricity bill was slightly less than in our previous home, which was half the size.”

So, whilst low-carbon and low-energy don’t necessarily go hand in hand, this study confirms that SuperHomes excel in both respects.

The research report shows that an average SuperHome:

  • Is over 40% more energy-efficient than the average UK home in its energy use per square metre per year.
  • Consumes about 19% less total energy than the average UK home each year, despite having a larger than average floor area and a higher than average occupancy, and being older than an average house building.
  • Uses 104kWh of energy per square metre per year, compared with a national average of 177kWh/m2/yr.
  • Consumes a total of 14,722kWh of energy per annum, compared with an average household consumption of 18,100kWh.
  • Achieves an incredible average reduction of 72% in carbon emissions, based on comparisons between pre- and post-retrofit emissions

The most energy-efficient SuperHome in the survey (refurbished to the exacting Passivhaus standard) was found to use just 25kWh/m2/yr, an impressive 86% less than the national average.

Gabby Mallett, Director of SuperHomes and Households and Communities at the National Energy Foundation, commented:

“Many people assume that a low-carbon home is also a low-energy one. However, this is not necessarily the case … it’s fantastic to discover that many SuperHomes have not only gone much further than a 60% carbon reduction, but they’ve achieved great results on energy too.”

SuperHomes are older homes refurbished by their owners to deliver a carbon saving of at least 60%. The owners host free open days in September to share the benefits and the challenges of home refurbishment.

Researchers at the National Energy Foundation (NEF) calculated the energy and carbon figures for a representative sample of the existing 205 SuperHomes, by per person per year, and by per square metre of floor space per year. Using the 2012 National Energy Efficiency Data-Framework (NEED) sample, NEF was able to make comparisons between an average SuperHome and the average UK home with the same number of occupants or of the same size.

Read the Energy Efficiency Benchmarks for SuperHomes Report

£4000 Energy-saving grant for Cambridgeshire homes

A £4000 grant is still available for home-owners of Cambridgeshire homes who require solid-wall insulation (SWI). But, you need to be quick as you will need to get an assessment and sign-up for SWI before 31 March 2016 with installations to be completed by 31 July 2016.

More information on solid wall insulation

There is also a grant for Private Landlords of £4000 for solid wall insulation. In both cases at 25% contribution is required by the owners. Private Landlords will also be able to get an additional £1000 for other approved measures. The funding comes from the Cambridgeshire Green Deal Communities Fund – that originally came from the National government’s Department for Energy and Climate Fund.

When its gone – it’s gone!! 

It’s very unlikely that home-owners will get any more grants like this in the next few years. The current government appears to be moving away from subsidies. So home owners need to move fast.

Over 1000 Cambridgeshire homes have received a grant for solid wall insulation.

Sign up for an Assessment Now

Draughts in homes – a big hidden issue

Some interesting research has been done by Sustainable Homes on draughts in homes. It focuses on the effects that draughts have on the perception of wintertime comfort.

Cold draughts can have detrimental effects on health and can be fatal for elderly occupants. Building regulations require that new homes are built to demanding insulation requirements using the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP), and pressure-tested to demonstrate air-tightness – but even so, some new homes are still considered draughty by their occupants.

Full details