How an unusual New Year’s resolution can save householders money

One important but unusual New Year’s resolution householders should make this month is to obtain an Energy Performance Certificate.

Stourbridge expert Colin Priest says it will save residents money, particularly as the Government’s flagship initiative, the Green Deal, is launched at the end of January.

Although an EPC is needed whenever a property is built, sold or rented it is also now required by all those applying to take advantage of the Government Green Deal to make homes more energy efficient.

Colin, pictured, said an EPC, which is completed by an accredited assessor and costs between £60 and £90, gives details about a property’s energy use and recommends ways to reduce bills and save money. To find an assessor in your area speak to Colin or go to www.gov.uk/buy-sell-your-home/energy-performace-certificates The Green Deal is part of the Government’s Energy Bill, which is aimed at meeting the requirements of the European Performance of Buildings Directive and improving the energy efficiency of homes.

The UK has some of the oldest housing stock in Europe and many people live in inefficient, inadequately insulated homes, which are expensive on both their wallet and the environment. About 25 per cent of the country’s carbon emissions come from domestic heating.

The Government has set aside £125 million for the Green Deal, which will be launched on a first come, first served offer, from January 28.

Colin, who lives in Quarry Bank and works for Noreus Ltd in Stafford, said the incentive for residents, including owner occupiers, those renting privately or in social housing and private and social landlords, is that the more work they get done the more they get back from the package worth up to £1,000 per home.

He said the main areas customers could benefit are: Loft and wall insulation is where up to 25 per cent of the home’s heat is lost. Providing the EPC identifies loft and wall insulation as eligible for Green Deal funding, homes and businesses can be updated to bring them into line with much more stringent standards and provide long-term savings. Colin recommends Icynene as an ideal and environmentally friendly solution.

Boiler upgrades – modern band A boilers are 20 per cent more efficient than the outdated band G boilers in many homes and allow greater control on heating the property so saving money in the long term.

Renewable technologies – Ground source heat pumps, solar panels for hot water and solar panels to generate electricity are all potentially available under the Green Deal provided they are shown as eligible on the EPC.

Residents must apply to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (website www.decc.gov.uk or phone 0300 123 1234) for a voucher beforehand to get the cash back when work is completed. Colin added: “It is a great opportunity for people to save on their bills by installing pay-as-you-save energy efficient solutions without the need to invest large sums of money or to increase personal debt.”

To find out more about energy saving and obtaining an Energy Performance Certificate, contact Colin on 0845 474 6641.

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