Europe

Energy prices: How being more energy efficient could slash your household bills

Ros Atkins on why energy bills are rising

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Rising energy costs and the climate crisis have led many homeowners to consider refurbishing their homes, with the government pledging that by 2035 every home will have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of C or above. An EPC rating is a review of the energy efficiency of a property, and can help potential buyers or renters to judge how much their energy bills could cost.

A survey recently carried out by tax advisor Cornerstone found that 36 percent of homeowners view making their homes more energy efficient as a major priority for 2022.

But, more help was needed from the government if they are to reach their sustainability goal, it said.

Many new-build homes are much greener, with 84 percent of newly completed properties receiving an A or B EPC rating.

Yet, while 12 percent of homeowners are planning to move house in order to be greener, 45 percent would rather extend or refurbish their current home but are finding meeting the costs difficult.

More than 20 percent of people said that planning restrictions had stopped their plans to make their homes more energy efficient.

Figures from the English Housing Survey show that the cost of upgrading a D-rated home is around £6,500.

Adding solar power to a home costs an average of £4,800, and the cost of double glazing was between £300-£650 per window.

It was also announced that households are facing a record energy bill increase of 54 percent, with millions across the country facing being plunged into fuel poverty.

In 2020, the government unveiled its Green Homes Grant voucher scheme.

The plan was to help towards the costs of improving energy efficiency in the home, but applications to the scheme closed last year.

David Hannah, principal consultant at Cornerstone Tax, said: “If you want the benefits of an eco-friendly home, without the extra expense or the hassle then the solution would be to buy a new-build property.

“However, homeowners have grown connections to their current properties and want to stay there – choosing to refurbish their current home rather than move to a new property.

He added: “It’s great to see homeowners all over the UK wanting to make their homes eco-friendlier but are unfortunately encountering problems with the price of doing so.

When asked how the government could help to make improving home energy efficiency more affordable, he said: “It seems surprising to me that the government cancelled these initiatives at a time when it was committing to meeting emissions targets by 2030.

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“Perhaps the government ought to give consideration to ‘soft loans’ to help meet their greening agenda in the same way as they advanced loans to support businesses during the pandemic.”

There are many cheap and simple ways for households to reduce the amount of energy they use.

Replacing old light bulbs with new, longer-lasting energy-efficient ones can save money as well as being more environmentally friendly.

Having shorter showers, using the tumble dryer and dishwasher less and draught-proofing windows and doors can all reduce energy consumption in the home.

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