Global warming is rising up the issue agenda for many consumers and with 14 per cent of the UK’s carbon emissions coming from energy use in residential housing, creating more efficient properties is one way consumers can play a part in tackling climate change.
With the chancellor’s recent decision to remove VAT on green home improvements, now is an excellent time for homeowners to consider making changes too.
As a trusted source of advice for many homeowners, intermediaries can play a key role in helping to raise awareness with clients about the improvements they can make to their homes. In fact, offering support on these matters could even strengthen relationships with customers, while helping intermediaries to differentiate themselves from the competition.
April is National Home Improvement Month, and as the 22 April is Earth Day now is a great time for intermediaries to speak with clients who might be considering making changes to their homes. So, what are the measures that you could potentially suggest to your clients?
Stop the escape
Around 18 per cent of heat loss occurs through windows alone, and single glazed fittings are some of the worst offenders. Replacing these panes with double or triple glazing can have a big impact on reducing heat loss.
But it’s not just about the types of doors and windows that are fitted. Making sure any of these fittings are draught proofed will avoid heat loss occurring around windows and doors which would otherwise reduce the effectiveness of these measures in improving energy efficiency.
Insulation, insulation, insulation
Many properties today will be fitted with loft insulation, but there are other measures that can greatly benefit energy efficiency and be a particularly effective measure for older properties. This ranges from cavity and solid wall insulation (just nine per cent of properties with solid walls are insulated) to even insulating tanks, pipes and radiators.
In fact, the Energy Saving Trust estimates that little fixes, such as fitting a hot water cylinder with an insulating jacket, could save the average home around £35 in heating costs – the equivalent of 115kg of CO2.
Check your sources
Taking measures to make homes more efficient is really important, but if your clients want to have the biggest impact on making their home a net zero affair, they need to look at the way they source their energy.
The majority of Britain’s homes (85 per cent) are connected to the gas grid.
While making changes can be expensive, looking to alternative measures to source energy, such as solar panels for electrical items, and air or ground source heat pumps for heating, can be significant steps in creating a carbon neutral home.
Offering guidance on the steps homeowners can take is just one area where intermediaries can help. With a strong knowledge of the mortgage market, you should also consider signposting clients to some of the great green schemes available through lenders which could help to reduce the cost of making improvements.
Climate change is the biggest issue facing us in the years to come, and we all have a part to play in tackling global warming. For intermediaries, that role can start with offering guidance and signposting clients to the steps they can take to improve their home’s energy efficiency.