Property market

The Importance of ‘Green’ Homes

Published September 13 2023
4 minute read
In an era defined by growing environmental concern and escalating energy costs, increasing numbers of buyers are prioritising green features when searching for a new home, according to Rightmove. The number of property listings that highlight an EPC rating of A-C in the property description is up 24% on this time last year and specific ‘green features’ are being increasingly highlighted as key selling features - the number of listings that mention electric car charging points is up by 40% on last year, and up by a staggering 592% since 2019.

There are many benefits to homeowners for improving the energy efficiency of their property, from saving money on your energy bills, to improving the value of the property and lowing your carbon footprint.

An analysis of 300,000 homes that were up for sale on Rightmove that have sold twice in the last fifteen years and have had a new EPC certificate issued found that improving a home from an F to a C could increase a property’s value by an average of an additional 15%, or almost £56,000 when looking at the current national average asking price.

The current government ambition of improving energy efficiency by encouraging homeowners and landlords to improve their EPC rating by 2035, has the aim to get as many residential homes as ‘practicable’ up to an EPC rating of C.  An EPC gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years. It’s a legal requirement to have an EPC if you're selling or letting a property.

While the government has said that no home, however energy inefficient will become unmortgageable, it is predicted that over the coming years we could see EPCs and other ways of measuring green features to become as important as a big garden and desirable location.

How can you improve the efficiency of your home? 

Whether you are considering selling or if you’re just looking reduce your energy bills and carbon emissions, there are lots of home improvements that can help the efficiency of your home.  Some of these are quick fixes that you can easily do yourself, other improvements may involve more work and cost, but they'll bring greater benefits to you and the planet.

1.    Add wall, roof and loft insulation

Uninsulated homes lose more than a third of their heat through the walls. Insulating your walls and roof or loft is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve your home's energy efficiency. 

2.    Upgrade windows and doors 

If you have single-glazing, replacing it with more energy-efficient windows will make your home warmer and quieter. 

3.    Energy efficient lighting 

LED bulbs are more expensive to buy, but they use around 90% less energy and can last up to fifteen times as long.   

4.    Draught proofing

This involves simply filling in the gaps where cold air can enter your home – think of gaps around doors, windows, loft hatches, floor boards, fittings, cracks in walls and exposed pipework.  It’s easy to do this yourself using off-the-shelf and ready made products such as door insulation strips, silicone sealant and expanding foam for larger gaps. 

5.    Add hot water cylinder and pipe insulation

Insulating your hot water tank is likely to pay for itself in just one year and is easy to do.  You can do this by fitting a cylinder jacket; insulating all accessible hot water pipes; and by adding reflective panels behind radiators to prevent heat from being lost through external walls. 

6.    Use low-carbon heating

A whole new heating system isn't possible for everyone so this will be a big consideration but if you're in a position to do so, it could be worth thinking about. 

7.    Solar panels

Although solar panels can cost a lot to install, the energy they generate is free and environmentally friendly. Not only will you be saving on the electricity bill, but there is also a possibility to receive payments for the surplus energy that you export back to the grid.

8.    Energy-saving appliances 

Consider investing in energy efficient appliances, for example: washing machines, dish washers and kettles which use less electricity each time they run. 

9.    Rearrange your rooms

Look at your furniture layout, could this be improved to keep your home warmer? For example by moving your sofa away from the radiator will allow the heat to disperse into the room.  Invest in thick curtains to prevent heat escaping through windows and any external doors. 

10.    Smart thermostats

A smart thermostat helps you save money by heating your home more intelligently, these can be installed with no up-front or a one-off charge from your provider. 

To find out more view the full Rightmove Greener Homes Report