Changing Market Attitudes?
Elmhurst has long been an advocate for energy efficiency in buildings, even before Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) were invented, and made mandatory for house sales, rents and new build in 2007. Before this we trained the vast majority of Chartered Surveyors who in turn were able to use Elmhurst Software to produce ‘home energy reports’ as part of their mortgage valuation/surveying work.
The home energy report was useful for home owners as it allowed them to see the savings that could be made from energy efficiency improvements such as loft insulation, cavity wall, boiler upgrades etc. It was also extremely useful for mortgage lenders to understand potential expenditure by occupants, as well as offering them potential green finance. These home energy reports were replaced by mandatory EPCs produced by qualified energy assessors in 2007.
Elmhurst are glad to see that the UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) has recently stated that mortgage lenders could ‘significantly improve’ their costing estimates by using readily available data such as the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of properties.
We often question why consumers value an energy label when purchasing a car or household appliance? However, when choosing their next home, some consumers lose sight of the value of the energy label - leaving it to pot luck as to whether they can afford heating bills. On the other hand, the savier consumers are in fact consulting their Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) to make wiser purchasing decisions saving money, energy and carbon emissions.
It is only right that Businesses and Government also use this data to ensure that customers and the UK population as a whole have warmer and cheaper to run properties. There seems to be a revolution in Government at the moment in terms of ‘energy policy’ swinging towards producing more energy (by Fracking). We at Elmhurst will continue to inform people that the ‘cheapest form of energy is that which we do not consume!’ If we all collectively use the EPC data more effectively we can encourage energy saving. It is a win, win situation.
Energy Efficiency – creating opportunities for all
EPCs have identified substantial savings and are driving a change in attitudes toward energy efficiency. If these savings are implemented, UK consumers will save money, energy and carbon emissions. Collectively, this would reduce the UKs; energy demand, dependency on expensive imported energy, need for new power stations, whilst simultaneously boosting the economy by creating jobs.
Elmhurst recommend that future Government policy should place much greater emphasis on intelligent use of EPC data to improve the worst energy performing buildings and to target grant funding. It is clear that huge carbon/money savings can still be achieved, much quicker and at a lower cost by tackling the existing building stock than simply relying on producing more energy. It's great to see the mortgage lending industry utilising this extremely valuable data to make smarter lending decisions.
The UK-GBC's full report can be accessed here