When buying a new home, be aware of four environmental red flags

In the face of the growing climate crisis, a shift has occurred towards building energy-efficient houses. The UK government is aiming to make every new home highly energy-efficient with low-carbon heating by 2035.

For those who want to live near or in the city center, there are few options for new housing. Existing homes and apartments are the only alternatives. Many were built decades ago, without much thought to energy efficiency.

This article is a part of Quarter Life. It’s a series of articles about issues that affect those of us who are in our 20s and 30s. The challenges of starting a career, taking care of your mental health and the excitement of having a child, or adopting a pet, are all part of the Quarter Life series. These articles explore questions and provide answers to help us navigate through this turbulent time in our lives.

You might be interested in:

Meet new people and be a role-model: Why you should volunteer if you are in your 20s or 30-years old

How to make your area greener without getting in trouble

Although house prices are dropping, it doesn’t mean that you should buy a home now. Here’s what new buyers should take into consideration

As a leading expert in net zero, I thought I had all the necessary knowledge to make the right choices. But, swayed by my emotions, intuition, the location and stunning views, I made some costly mistakes. These included choosing a listed house with no insulation, single-glazed windows, and a heating system in dire need of an upgrade.

These mistakes have taught me valuable lessons, which you can use if you are looking to buy a home. Here are four signs that a home is not as environmentally friendly as it should be.

It is difficult to find new housing near city centres. ZGPhotography/Shutterstock

  1. Single-pane windows

According to a study conducted by the Chartered Institute of Building (a global leader in construction management and leadership), a typical UK house loses 15% of its heat via its external doors and 10% through its windows. It’s a lot.

It’s important to pay close attention to the window of any prospective home. Be on the lookout for single-paned windows and gaps between frames that can cause draughts.

You can reduce your energy costs and improve thermal comfort by choosing the right frames and windows. Installing A-rated, double-glazed windows to a semi-detached UK property could save you in energy costs as well as 375kg in carbon dioxide emissions.

  1. Cold walls

Poor insulation can also lead to excessive energy consumption. A standard UK house can lose up to 35% of heat through its walls and another 15% through its roof.

You can test the insulation by touching the walls. You may detect cold spots in the house, particularly during winter. This could be an indication of inadequate insulation.

If you are unsure, consult the certificate of energy performance for the house that you are considering buying. You can find out if the house has insulation and what kind of insulation is used (wood fiber or wool are eco-friendly options). It will also tell you how well it suits your location.

According to my research, Scottish homes that have proper insulation are more likely than other homes to maintain a temperature between 20degC and 26degC. They also experience a 67% reduced likelihood of overheating when the temperature is above 25degC. Despite this, only 52% of UK homes had solid or cavity wall insulation by 2021.

Check for insulation in the walls. Bilanol/Shutterstock

  1. Old boilers

If you are looking at a house, you should ask if you can test out the heating or boiler. If you hear rattling, banging, or smell unpleasant odors coming from the boiler or radiators, it’s time to replace the unit.

Heating and hot water account for more than half of your annual energy bill. Having a good boiler, therefore, is essential. Modern boilers have a higher efficiency than older ones in part due to their “condensing” technology. The boilers recover heat from exhaust gases and use it to warm the central heating water.

Be sure to inspect the thermostat and boiler of a property thoroughly. Some boilers are OpenTherm-compatible, which means they can communicate with smart thermostats, improving the home’s heating and cooling.

Heat pumps are another heating system that you should consider. They are much more efficient and ideal for homes with good insulation. As with electric boilers, the carbon savings from heat pumps are dependent on the greenness of the electricity that powers them.

  1. Leaky radiators

Radiators are a common way to distribute heat in our homes. Older radiators may have blockages, resulting in an uneven temperature distribution or, in some cases, no heat.

Check the radiators carefully. Listen for strange noises when the heating system is on and look for signs of leakage. They may need replacing if they are more than a decade old.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *