This month saw the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) take place – a two-week summit to discuss how to aggressively cut greenhouse gas emissions and slow the earth’s warming.
Like many, the summit got us thinking about the part we have to play in greenhouse gas emissions. And, in particular, how we can make our homes more energy efficient. One way in which the mortgage industry is tackling the issue is by offering Green Mortgages.
What are green mortgages?
Green mortgages – sometimes referred to as eco-mortgages – are relatively new. Launched in 2018, they essentially reward you on how energy efficient your home is.
You can check how ‘green’ your home is by its Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). An EPC gives your property an energy efficiency rating from A to G. A being most efficient and G being least.
Green mortgages are only available on homes or rentals that come with an EPC rating of A B. Although some lenders offer green mortgages on C rated properties.
An EPC is needed whenever a property is built, rented, or sold.
What are the rewards?
These rewards can vary from lender to lender. Some may give you lower interest rates. While others might offer cashback.
How do you get a green mortgage?
Not every home is equal in the race against climate change.
You can only get a green mortgage by purchasing what the government determines as an ‘eco-friendly home’ – so that’s a home that has an EPC of A, B or C.
In October the Government said that around 15million homes in England in 2019 were below an EPC band C. But of course, homeowners can improve their EPC rating by making energy saving improvements .
The benefits of making your home eco-friendly
“Making your home more eco-friendly not only benefits the planet, it benefits your pocket too,” Jo Jingree, Mortgage Confidence’s director says.
“Sometimes, introducing energy saving measures in your home can also lower your utility bills. And with the war against climate change raging on, it looks like properties with ‘green credentials are only going to prove more popular.
“But of course, transforming your home into a green haven can come at a cost. However, you could consider a remortgage to release funds to make your eco-friendly home a reality.”
How to make your home eco-friendly
So, if you’re looking to buy, rent or sell, here are some ways to give your home a green glow-up and increase its EPC rating at the same time:
1. Invest in double glazing
Did you know: 18% of a home’s heat loss occurs through its windows? That’s according to the latest Government findings.
With energy bills in the UK predicted to rise as much as 30% in 2022 swapping your single glazed windows to double is not only kinder to the planet, it’s kinder to your purse strings too. The latest predictions suggest you could save as much as £155 a year on your energy bills.
2. Swap to LED lights
In September this year, the government imposed a ban on halogen light bulbs in a bid to cut emissions and save consumers money on their energy bills. Plus, by September 2023 you won’t be able to buy fluorescent lights on supermarket shelves.
So, if you haven’t already, now is the time to make the switch to LEDs.
Not only do LEDs last five times longer than traditional halogen lights and produce the same amount of brightness, they use up to 80% less power. This shift will cut 1.26 million tons of CO2 – the equivalent of removing more than half a million cars from the UK’s roads. And, by doing so you could save yourself £75 a year on your energy bills.
3. It’s time to insulate your loft
It’s a well-known fact that heat rises. And in an uninsulated home, a quarter of heat is lost through the roof so say the Energy Saving Trust.
So do consider insulating your loft, attic or flat roof as it’s one of the best ways to retain heat, reduce CO2 emissions and reduce your heating bill at the same time. It’s a win-win.
4. Wall insulation
On the subject of keeping heat inside your home, insulating your walls can be just as beneficial.
If your home was built before the 1920s you’ll probably have solid rather than cavity walls. The former has no gap so can’t be filled with cavity wall insulation, although they can still be insulated from inside or outside the house.
Cavity walls are brilliant for filling with insulation, as they are made up of two layers with a small gap in between.
5. Swap your gas boiler for a heat pump
Much has been said about the big push to replace gas boilers with low carbon heat pumps, as part of the Government’s pledge to cut emissions from homes.
While heat pumps won’t necessarily save you money on running costs, they will help to clean up emissions from homes, as these accounted for 17% of the UK’s greenhouse gases in 2019.