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Buyers in the UK would pay more for an environmentally friendly home

Making energy saving improvements to homes could increase values by up to 38% in the UK as the majority of buyers would pay more for an environmentally friendly property.

Studies find that 82% per cent of home buyers would pay more for eco features at a time when housing alone generates 29% of UK emissions, with younger people more willing to do so.

A new report published by leading global real estate advisors CBRE Residential reveals the true environmental impact of residential property. The report also suggests how to create truly eco-friendly homes and considers the long term premiums attached.

‘A green home is designed to be environmentally friendly and sustainable. The underlying design focusses on using as little water, energy resources and building materials as possible, and thereby creating a smaller impact on the environment,’ said Jennet Siebrits, Head of Residential Research at CBRE UK.

‘The benefits of going green are clear from an environmental perspective. The earth’s resources are limited and we are using more than the earth can regenerate. In 2016, we used around 1.6 times the earth’s resources, with the construction and running of a residential property having a significant impact on the environment,’ she pointed out.

‘In most developed nations, household electricity use generally makes up about a third of total electricity consumption. Energy from fossil fuels consumed in the construction and operation of buildings accounts for approximately half of the UK’s emissions of carbon dioxide. Housing alone generates 29% of UK emissions, of which 82% is used for space and water heating,’ she added.

The report suggests that a fabric first approach to building design would involve using materials and design to maximise the performance of a building. Construction methods and materials used should aim to maximise air tightness, create high levels of insulation, make good use of natural light and solar gain and use the buildings thermal mass to advantage.

It also suggests that the consideration of the life cycle of materials and products used in the building and their impact on the environment is also becoming increasingly important. Particularly in heavily built-up urban areas, green roofs can form part of an effective sustainable drainage solution by reducing run-off at peak times, and lessening the need for underground drainage at site boundary level.

Looking ahead the development of rechargeable lithium-ion battery packs for in-home use will boost the usage of solar energy but small scale home improvements affecting the fabric of a home can be one of the most effective ways of reducing energy consumption.

The report points to research conducted by house builder Redrow which found that 63% of home buyers want to purchase a green, environmentally friendly home, and 82% would pay more for a home that allows them to fulfil this ambition to ‘go green’.

The study found that more than 25% of buyers would pay at least a 6% premium for a home with sustainable features. Further, a recent UK report by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) found that making energy saving improvements to a home ‘could increase its value by 14% on average and up to 38% in some regions’.