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Green homes: How each EPC band adds £14k to a home

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Homeowners who boost their property’s energy efficiency before putting it on the market are banking as much as 16 per cent extra on average compared to those who don’t, new research reveals.

The potential financial benefits of boosting the rating on a property’s Energy Performance Certificate from a D, E or F to a C has been revealed in the Rightmove study. It found these could add up to more than £55,000.

The study analysed more than 200,000 homes listed on the property website that had sold twice, with an improved EPC rating the second time, to understand the impact of energy efficiency improvements on the final sold price of a home.

Cardiff leads the way with the biggest proportion of its homes improved from a D rating or below

Cardiff leads the way with the biggest proportion of its homes improved from a D rating or below

Those who had upgraded their rating from an F to a C, are adding an average of 16 per cent to the price achieved for their home.

Moving from an E to a C is banking sellers an extra 8 per cent on average, and moving from a D to a C is resulting in an average of 4 per cent extra.

Based on the current national average asking price of £344,445, it could mean an additional £55,111 for someone moving from an F to a C rating.

At the same time, it could translate into an extra £27,556 for someone moving from an E to a C rating, or an extra £13,778 for someone moving from a D to a C rating.

It follows the publication of the Government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy, designed to set out how to lower the carbon emissions of homes and commercial buildings.

Rightmove’s data suggests buyers are willing to pay a premium to secure a green home.

In the last five years, more than one in five British homes – at 22 per cent – have upgraded from a D rating or below, to a C rating or above.

The South East topped the regional list at 26 per cent, followed by Wales at 24 per cent and the East of England at 23 per cent.

At a local level, Cardiff leads the way with the biggest proportion of its homes improved from a D rating or below, to a C rating or above in the last five years, with more than a third at 35 per cent.

Coventry at 34 per cent came second, and Barry in Wales at 33 per cent came third.

HOW TO IMPROVE AN EPC RATING

There are several ways that you can boost the rating on your property’s Energy Performance Certificate.

Some are cheaper options than others such as replacing light bulbs with LED versions. 

They also include more expensive options, such as installing an air source heat pump.

These look like an air conditioning unit on the outside of a building, and work a bit like a fridge in reverse, using electricity to extract energy from the outside air to provide heating and hot water for homes.

They can be expensive to install, costing around £10,000, but families will be encouraged to install the low carbon systems from April with grants of £5,000 being provided.

Here are five ways to improve the rating on your property’s Energy Performance Certificate: 

1. Upgrade your lighting to LED light bulbs

2. Insulate the walls and roof 

3. Invest in double or triple glazed windows

4. Install an air source heat pump 

5. Install a smart meter 

Areas that have seen the biggest proportion of homes improve to a C rating
Location Region Proportion of homes improved to a C
or above rating from a D or below
Cardiff Wales 35%
Coventry West Midlands 34%
Barry Wales 33%
Woking South East 32%
Poole South West 31%
Wythenshawe North West 31%
Chester North West 31%
Swindon South West 31%
Guildford South East 31%
Thornaby On Tess North East 30%
Source: Rightmove     

Tim Bannister, of Rightmove said: ‘Ahead of Cop26, many people will be more conscious of their personal impact on the planet, and will be looking for ways to be greener, including in their home.

‘Although some of the bigger improvements to make homes more energy efficient can be costly, in its latest strategy, the Government has outlined ways it wants to support green choices.

‘Our study suggests the longer-term value upgrading the rating of your home’s Energy Performance Certificate can have when it comes to the time to sell. 

‘While this naturally needs to be balanced with the investment needed to improve it, we expect that the energy efficiency of a home will increasingly be a priority for buyers in the next few years, and these initial numbers suggest people are willing to pay an extra premium for a home better designed for the future.’

Energy efficiency improvements: An air source heat pump looks like an air conditioning unit on the outside of a building

Energy efficiency improvements: An air source heat pump looks like an air conditioning unit on the outside of a building

How improving EPC rating impacts the sold price of a home
Original EPC rating New EPC rating Average sold price premium (%) Sold price premium based on current national average asking price (£)
F C 16% £55,111
E C 8% £27,556
D C 4% £13,778
Source: Rightmove     

However, the Government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy is not good news for all types of property sellers.

This week estate agents warned that those living in in older, rural and even listed properties risk being unable to sell if strict green finance targets are introduced.

This is down to Boris Johnson’s plans for turning Britain green by 2050 that would see mortgage lenders having targets for the energy performance of properties in their portfolio.

A body that represents estate agents across Britain claimed that the property market could be distorted as a result of the measures and called for Britain’s historic housing stock to be taken into account.

Timothy Douglas, of Propertymark, said: ‘Incentivising green improvements to properties via lending creates risks of trapping homeowners with older properties, those who live in rural areas, listed buildings or conservation areas, making their homes difficult to sell and therefore reducing the value.’

Propertymark said that those living in older properties could be left with homes that they could not sell if buyers were unable to secure finance on them due to their lower energy efficiencies.

The effect would be likely to be felt more by less wealthy owners, as deep-pocketed buyers would be more able to overlook mortgage restrictions and high-end older homes would continue to be desirable.

Mr Douglas said: ‘The use of targets could distort the market and sway lenders towards preferential, newer homes in order to improve the rating of their portfolio.

‘Stopping a large portion of housing stock from being able to enter the market could cause havoc for home buying and selling as well as the wider economy.’

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Lighthouse workers end up with front-row seats for Storm Barra

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Four lighthouse workers who went to Fastnet Lighthouse in west Cork to carry out maintenance on Friday ended up having front-row seats for Storm Barra as they had to stay onsite due to the conditions.

The lighthouse recorded a wind gust of 159km/h on Tuesday morning but Irish Lights electronic engineer Paul Barron said that it was a safe place to be as the country battened down the hatches to face the storm.

Mr Barron and his colleagues Ronnie O’Driscoll, Dave Purdy and Malcolm Gillies made the journey to Fastnet on Friday to do maintenance work and were due back on Tuesday but their helicopter flight was cancelled because of the storm. They hope to arrive back on the mainland on Thursday.

Mr Barron said they are passing their time onsite by watching Netflix and having a few steaks and rashers. He admitted it was a day to remember on the lighthouse which is 54 metres above the sea.

“There is a team of four of us out here. It has been quite a rough day. We started off this morning at around 2am and by 10am or 11am we were in the eye of the storm. I was in the merchant Navy before as a radio officer so I have seen a lot of bad weather. I am with Irish Lights 32 years but I haven’t normally seen it like this. We wouldn’t normally be out in this. You are talking 9m swells with winds gusting up to 90 knots.”

He captured some footage of the storm on his phone. During the worst of the weather the men found it hard to hear each other as it was so noisy during the squalls.

The tower was “shuddering a bit” but Mr Barron managed to shoot video footage which attracted attention online and even a call from Sky News.

He says the lighthouse has kitchen facilities and they always bring additional food in case of emergency.

“It could be a fine summer’s day and there could be thick fog and the chopper wouldn’t take off so we always bring extra food. We are passing the time by watching Netflix! This is a good place to be in the eye of a storm. This lighthouse has been built a hundred years so it has seen a lot of storms.”

As for families being concerned about the men Mr Barron jokes that their loved ones are probably relieved they aren’t at home hogging the remote control.

Meanwhile, in Cork city centre the river Lee spilled on to quays and roads on Tuesday morning but no major damage to property was caused. Debris and falling trees kept local authority crews busy and power outages were reported in a number of areas across the county.

At least 23 properties were flooded in Bantry in west Cork. The council had placed sandbags along the quay wall and the fire brigade had six manned pumps around the town.

In north Cork, a lorry driver had a lucky escape in Fermoy when his vehicle overturned on the motorway during the high winds. Traffic diversions were put in place following the incident.

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Top tips on how to avoid a large energy bill this winter

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Five easy tips and five things to avoid to get the most from your heating this winter – and dodge a big energy bill

  • We reveal some simple steps to lowering your heating bills this winter 
  • Tips include tucking curtains in behind your radiators to stop heat escaping










Rising energy bills mean the cost of keeping warm is an issue for many households this winter.

But there are some simple steps that can be taken to reduce your energy bill without compromising on keeping cosy.

We take a look at 10 top tips for saving money on your heating, which include things to do and things to avoid doing. 

These include tucking curtains in behind your radiators to stop heat escaping, while not putting clothes on the radiators to dry, as this will block the heat from dispersing through the room.

We provide a list of little fixes that will help to keep your energy bills low this winter

We provide a list of little fixes that will help to keep your energy bills low this winter

John Lawless, of designer radiator company BestHeating, said: ‘Winter weather always sparks the debate around leaving your heating on low all-day versus a couple of hours a day. 

‘Sure, your boiler will have to work a little harder to heat up a cold home when you first switch it on but having it on constantly will use more energy than just switching it on when you need it.

‘The best thing to do to lower bills and keep warm is to insulate your home, prevent draughts, and set up better heating controls. Don’t have the heating on full whack in a room you don’t use, just heat the room you spend the most time in.

‘Our advice is to heat smarter. You can’t control the weather but you can control your heating and how your home loses that heat.’

NetVoucherCodes.co.uk agrees, saying: ‘Saving energy can help you be more energy-efficient and considerate of the environment, but it’s also a great way to save money.’

Here are the top ten tips…

The things you can do

1. Use thick curtains

Having thicker curtains helps reduce the amount of colder air coming in, while also helping to reduce the amount of hot air escaping.

The thicker the material, the more heat will be contained. Also tuck your curtains behind your radiator to stop even more heat escaping.

INSULATING PIPES 

Pipes can be insulated by covering them with a foam tube. 

This includes the pipes between a hot water cyclinder and a boiler. 

That will reduce the amount of heat lost and keep your water hot for longer. 

It is as simple as choosing the correct size from a DIY store and then slipping it around the pipes.

2. Cover up exposed pipes

Exposed pipes allow for heat to escape easily. Try covering them in an insulating material to maximise their efficiency.

3. Only heat the rooms you spend most time in

Heating rooms in your home that you don’t spend much time in will not only be a waste of energy, but also a waste of your money.

4. Cover up draughts

You can lose a lot of heat from gaps in your doors and window frames. Make sure you fill in these gaps with a draught proof material, such as draught-proof strips or even just a thick cloth for a quick solution.

5. Turn your thermostat down by one degree celsius

Experts have proven that reducing the temperature of your home by one degree celsius saves you up to £80 a year.

Drying clothes on your radiator will block the heat from dispersing through the room

Drying clothes on your radiator will block the heat from dispersing through the room

Things to avoid

1. Dry your clothes on the radiator

Drying clothes on your radiator will block the heat from dispersing through the room and will have to be left on much longer to have the same effect without a blockage.

2. Keep the heating on all day

Your home will take longer to heat up if you keep turning it on and off, but it will save you more money by putting your heating on a timer for a few hours a day. Try setting a timer on your boiler, so it only turns on for a few hours a day.

3. Allow your radiators to get dirty

If you notice any cold spots at the bottom of your radiators when the heating is on full this could mean you have a build-up of sludge in the system.

This stops the hot water circulating properly, stopping your radiators from getting hot enough when you need the heating the most. Give your radiators a good clean to make sure you aren’t wasting money on heating.

4. Turn your thermostat above 18 degrees Celsius

Research shows that the average thermostat setting in Britain is 20.8 degrees celsius. However, experts have stated that 18 degrees celsius is warm enough for a healthy and well dressed person to remain comfortable during winter. This will be controversial suggestiong for many, for whom 18 degrees might feel a bit chilly – and how you feel at 18 degree central heating will depend on how well your home is insulated.

5. Don’t place large furniture in front of your radiator

Blocking your radiator with furniture, such as sofa or a table, will stop the flow of warm air. This blockage will cause your boiler to work harder to heat your home, resulting in expensive heating bills.

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Woman receives multiple injuries after fall from height at apartment building in Cork

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A woman has been taken to hospital following a fall fro a balcony at an apartment building in Cork city centre on Tuesday morning.

Gardaí and the emergency services were called to an apartment building on Meade Street off Sullivan’s Quay in Cork city centre following reports of a woman in her late twenties or early thirties falling from a height.

The woman incurred multiple injuries after falling from a balcony three storeys high shortly after 8.30am today.

Cork City Fire Brigade, gardaí and paramedics attended at the scene.

The woman was rushed by ambulance to Cork University Hospital where she is being treated for non life-threatening injuries. She is in a serious condition and was slipping in and out of consciousness whilst being treated on the ground by paramedics.

Gardaí are conducting an investigation to examine the circumstances of the fall. It is not thought that the incident is related to Storm Barra in Cork city.

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