HBF research shows growing importance of energy efficiency

wooden house on grass

Research carried out by the Home Builders Federation has revealed the growing importance of energy efficiency to people looking to move house.

Around three in four respondents (73%) to the HBF’s survey stated that they are worried about the energy performance of their current home, with around a quarter (24%) saying energy efficiency will be ‘crucial’ to their next home move.

The survey found that ‘Eco friendly’ and ‘Having a good Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)’ were rated as the second and third most important factors respectively, behind ‘private outdoor space’.

The survey comes alongside a new report – Greener, Cleaner, Cheaper – which finds that:

  • owners of new build houses and flats will save homeowners an average of £435 a year, rising to £555 for new build houses alone
  • The average new build home emits 2.38 tonnes less of carbon each year, around one-third of the carbon produced by the average older property
  • The research shows that despite new build homes being, on average, 7.4% larger than older properties, new homebuyers are still generating valuable savings every month.

And with more lenders beginning to offer green mortgages – such as lower interest rates for buyers of more energy efficient homes – and stricter EPC requirements for landlords renting out domestic properties, home builders are urging lenders to go further, faster to assist homebuyers in making the right environmental choice. Factoring into mortgage calculations the lower bills paid by new build buyers would enable even further savings to be made by buyers.

A further aspect of HBF’s research revealed the pivotal relationship that the new homes industry can play in driving the UK’s burgeoning electric vehicle industry as 71% of people responded that they would be more persuaded to buy an electric car if their house came with an electric vehicle charging station, which are becoming prevalent on new-build projects throughout the country.

In the year to September 2021, 84% of new build properties received an A or B EPC rating for energy efficiency, while just 3% of existing properties reached the same standard. In contrast, 58% of existing dwellings had an efficiency rating of D-G.

The improved energy efficiency standards have a significant impact on household carbon emissions. The report finds that new build homes in this sample accounted for 15.4% of EPCs, 16.4% of the floorspace, but just 6.4% of the total annual CO2 emissions.

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation, said: “‘Location, location, location’ has been the driving mantra of the UK home-movers for as long as we’ve known, but these results suggest we’re now entering the era of ‘location, location, insulation’, with energy efficiency becoming an ever more crucial factor in how we select our next home.

“And with energy bills rising it’s never been more important for homebuyers to weigh up these costs as they consider their next move.

“This research highlights the crucial role that residential developers play in not only making UK housing stock more sustainable and energy efficient overall, but also meeting the demand of an increasingly eco-savvy public who want to cut down their energy bills and live in more sustainable homes. As an industry we have made major steps forward year-on-year in making all elements of housebuilding as sustainable as possible, with many developers well on the way to reaching net carbon zero throughout their operations.

“Mortgage lenders have a vital role to play in helping homebuyers to make the cost efficient and carbon saving steps that households are increasingly keen to make.”

 

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