Existing homeowners and first-time buyers in the East Midlands believe it would be more cost effective to move to a new-build home, rather than retrofit an older property to modern energy-efficiency standards.
A third of respondents in the East Midlands (34%) – slightly more than anywhere else in the UK – suggested buying new would be kinder on the pocket in the long run, compared to just 15% who thought converting older properties would be a more cost-effective solution.
Redrow, which is building new homes across the East Midlands, conducted the research to ascertain how clued up the nation’s residents are on the Government’s plans to cut emissions from households. The plans include a ban on the installation of gas boilers, a commitment to improving the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of the bulk of the nation’s housing stock and the offering of grants to switch to low-carbon alternatives such as electric heat pumps.
Rather worryingly, almost half of those polled in the East Midlands (43%) were in the dark on the Government’s sustainability and environmental targets, with either no idea about the objectives or no concept of how it would impact them as homeowners.
The current cost-of-living crisis brings this analysis into sharper focus, with 83% of homeowners (rising to 97% in the East Midlands) expressing concern about rising energy bills – 39% of whom claim that affordability is likely to be a real issue in future.
In addition to canvassing the opinion of homeowners and first-time buyers, Redrow also commissioned a sustainability consultant to conduct a technical comparison between the expected EPC results of a traditional house built in the 1930s (and subsequently renovated) and a modern Redrow home.
The calculated running costs of the older property equate to £1,409 a year, with the Redrow home coming out under half of that at £597, based on the use of gas.
As well as ongoing savings on bills, improving the energy efficiency of an older property from EPC band D to C can cost up to £3,653 on a one-bed apartment or as much as £12,540 on a larger property*.
This isn’t an outlay that is likely to be recouped with any great immediacy either, with various estimates placing the timeframe at around 20 years**.
The government has published an action plan to try and move as many homes as possible to band C by 2035***, but almost all Redrow homes are already classified as band B as standard.
Newer homes come with many energy-efficient amenities built in – such as proper insulation and double-glazed windows – and are also covered by a 10-year warranty from the National House Building Council.
Counting the cost
Three-quarters of respondents to the survey were yet to make any changes to their properties with the Government’s green strategy in mind, a perhaps understandable statistic given that some low-carbon alternatives such as air source heat pumps can cost up to £18,000**** to install.
With a third of those polled unaware of the existence of financial state support towards such initiatives and a further quarter not having a handle of the size of such grants, there is a clear knowledge gap for the Government to help bridge so that homeowners are more aware of their options when it comes to futureproofing their homes.
There is also an onus on the housebuilding industry to continue to educate and inform the public as to the comparative credentials of different types of properties. A third of those polled had no idea how much carbon their property emits and only a fifth consider the results of the EPC an important factor when they are looking to buy a property.
Julia Green, Head of Sustainability at Redrow, said: “We’re much more likely to live in a more sustainable way than previous generations in terms of embracing concepts such as recycling our waste and avoiding unnecessary car journeys, but our analysis shows that many people have something of a blind spot when it comes to energy emissions from their own properties.
“There is also a lack of clarity around the Government’s long-term plans around emission targets and this is something it needs to communicate more effectively. As a responsible housebuilder, we are also happy to help educate and inform homeowners and future buyers of what is required and by when.
“Our research shows that buying new can often represent a better option for people who want to live in energy-efficient properties, not only from a financial perspective, but also from a logistical and convenience point of view. With the design of Redrow properties based on revered architectural styles such as the Arts & Crafts movement, residents not only get the aesthetic benefit of classic-looking properties, but fully modern specifications inside including energy-efficient amenities.”
Redrow is currently building new homes across the East Midlands. To find out more, visit: redrow.co.uk/locations/east-midlands
The post Hard-up East Midlands homeowners in the dark on energy efficiency first appeared on Connect East Midlands.