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Economy

The rise of affordable eco homes in the UK

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High prices and few homes are traits most people would associate with the British housing market. Yet within this gloomy landscape for buyers, there are hopeful signs from a branch of housing that is often considered to be far less cost-effective than it actually is: eco-friendly homes.

With fuel bills rising and concerns about the effect of greenhouse gases on climate change intensifying, attitudes towards eco-friendly homes have performed a U-turn in recent decades. Back in 2005, 80% of homebuyers said they wouldn’t consider energy saving as a factor when searching for a house. Fast-forward seven years, and 82% of people are now actively seeking it as a positive. The trend has only grown since, with just over half of buyers even saying they are willing to pay an extra few thousand pounds for eco-friendly, green features.

Of all the factors driving this newfound popularity, the growth in companies specialising in environmentally-friendly developments has had a significant effect. These include pioneers such as Beddington Zero Energy Development’s zero carbon emissions project in Hackbridge, London, as well as not-for-profit co-operatives like the Hockerton Housing Project, where residents even grow their own food and harvest water.

Yet ultimately, it is people realising the financial and environmental benefits of such homes that has driven their boom the most. It’s now recognised that eco-friendly homes are generally better maintained than older, more rundown properties, from the efficiency of lighting and air conditioning to more durable wall and window insulation. This enables homeowners to keep the heating off for longer, saving on bills while requiring less fossil fuel to be burnt to create the energy.

In many ways, the same could also be said for methods of resource-collection, such as solar panels and rain storage tanks, with the former actively bringing in money through its feed-in tariff income. Other features, such as only using certified wood from classified sustainable forests, have wider environmental benefits which, if attitudes continue to become more climate conscious over time, could arguably add to the house’s value in years to come.

You’ll find there are often perks to having eco-friendly features that most people don’t know about. Blown-in cellulose wall insulation, for example, is far better at covering every gap and crack than ordinary insulation sheets, and the cellulose material more than doubles the building’s ability to resist the spread of fire. On top of that, the scale of these benefits increases every year as technology advances and systems are improved. Modern-day solar panels, for instance, can meet at least 70% of a home’s hot water requirements. On top of that,

As the prices of these products continue to drop while their efficiency only improves, their value as an investment increases and the prospect of securing a homeowner loan to take advantage of this becomes more appealing. Often referred to as personal loans, such arrangements usually provide between £1,000 and £25,000 which is repaid over the next one to 10 years. This means that most homeowners are in a position to make their home more eco-friendly, cover most or possibly all of the loan repayment costs through the results and, once the loan is paid off, reap the financial benefits from thereon afterwards. The planet will also be a lot healthier for it.

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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