High house prices and low lending figures have led to a severe slump in sales within the housing market. Since the United Kingdom was officially declared as in recession in 2009, after two consecutive periods of declining negative gross domestic product (GDP) in the latter quarters of 2008, the country’s housing market has failed to recover from the economic effect on both businesses and individuals alike.
Many contemporary properties are highly energy efficient. As a nation, ecological concerns have become increasingly important when making any big purchases such as homes and cars. If you cannot afford a new property, some simple amendments to your home can increase its energy efficiency and reduce your monthly expenses.
Boilers are one of the worst culprits for eating energy. At a cost to both the environment and your wallet, the wasted energy and CO2 emissions from old boilers may mean it is a cost efficient option to invest in a new boiler.
Government Schemes are now in place which offers £400 off the price of your new boiler, an initiative which aims to reduce everyone’s individual environmental impacts. Some conservation conscious companies are offering an additional £400 off their own equipment; yet a total reduction of £800 off a new boiler is only the beginning of your savings. The Energy Savings Trust estimates that upgrading ‘could save you around £200 a year on your household bills and reduce your CO2 emissions by 140,000 tonnes.’
In conjunction with the discount scheme for boilers, ensuring that your home is fully insulated will improve its energy efficiency. From loft insulation to wall cavity insulation, companies are currently offering grants for homeowners for reduced installation.
The government is encouraging businesses to create energy efficient packages including fair tariffs and reasonable insulation rates to enable the country to meet its targets. As our country has proposed to cut our carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, compared to 1990 levels, we can expect more help from companies, encouraged by the government, in coming years.
A recent release from the Cabinet Office, directed by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg confirmed:
‘Bills can be further reduced with energy efficiency measures such as installing loft and cavity wall insulation – which the Government requires the big energy suppliers to help households and provide free to some of the most vulnerable customers.’
Find out if your household is eligible for any free ecological improvements. Confirmed in the release this may include ‘those on a low income with a disability, long term illness or with young children’ as well as those who currently benefit from the Warm Home Discount Scheme. It is expected that over a million members of our country will benefit from the new schemes each year.
Not all home improvements require huge investments. Small changes such as giving your home a thorough clean will ensure that lights and technology performs to their optimum. Lighting does account for up to 40 per cent of your electricity bill; replacing all standard bulbs for energy saving bulbs (with a substantially lower wattage) will make your home more cost efficient and environmentally friendly.
Although it is unlikely that you will reap instant rewards from changing your light bulbs, progressively you will see a return on your investment in energy efficient lighting. Also take into consideration that low watt bulb have a lifespan of around ten years – ten times longer than standard bulbs.
When bills seem extortionate and put a dampener on the enjoyment you get from your home, check to see that you are only paying for your exact resource consumption. Often energy suppliers land customers with packages that do not fit their actual usage.
As of autumn 2012, companies will be legally required to inform customers of their most suitable tariff. Together with fixed rate, fixed term contracts, this scheme will greatly reduce the cost of living for many throughout the UK. Despite the deadline lying in the third quarter of 2012, there is no reason why you cannot speak with your provider now and negotiate a tariff more suited to your consumption level.
If you are struggling to sell your home, or fear that at present you would be unable to afford to move, consider improving your existing property to reduce your bills. Bringing a new cost efficient lease of life into the bricks and mortar you once loved could well remind you that home is definitely where the heart is.