What's on your list when you're searching for a new home? For many, space, light and a distinct lack of mould is well up there, but topping many people's priorities now is sustainability.
More and more of us are searching for a house that's good for the environment as well as for us. According to BLP Insurance, 78 per cent of people consider the environmentally sustainable performance of a building important when they're looking for a new home.
Almost a quarter of those surveyed ranked energy efficient heating and hot water systems as their top priority if they were choosing a new home. Double glazing and solar panels were also mentioned by many in the survey.
Smart meters, on the other hand, were only considered by a small number of people – 5 per cent on average.
The survey reflects new developments like the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) that come into force in April 2019 as a way to ensure properties have a satisfactory energy efficiency rating.
Under the new standards, landlords could face penalties if they fail to achieve an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of at least an E.
Kim Vernau, CEO of BLP Insurance, said: 'As people become increasingly concerned about environmental issues, demand for environmentally sustainable features for new homes will continue to grow.
'Initiatives such as the Energy Efficient Mortgages Action Plan (EeMAP) will help finance an increase in sustainable homes by incentivising building owners to improve the energy efficiency of their properties or acquire already efficient buildings.
'It’s not just buyers but prospective tenants that are more alert to sustainability. With more detailed and transparent data now available to consumers at all levels, and new energy standards being implemented, landlords and developers will need to adapt, taking steps to improve the efficiency of properties in the market.'
Want to make your home more environmentally friendly? Here's how:
- Insulate your loft to avoid sky-high heating bills in winter;
- Install underfloor heating - it's more energy efficient than radiators;
- Buy recycled, salvaged and upcycled furniture;
- Doing a renovation project? Encourage builders to recycle waste, not bin it;
- Invest in solar panels - while they're expensive to install, they can save you money long-term;
- Choose double glazing for windows to save on your energy bill;
- Swap old lightbulbs for energy-saving ones;
- Service your boiler and upgrade it to a more efficient model;
- Lower the thermostat by a few degrees;
- Use a water-saving showerhead instead of a power shower.