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10 Eco-Friendly Home Features to Check for When Buying a House

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For many years, the size of a garden and the stylishness of a kitchen was top of the wish list for many house hunters. However, a recent study by E.ON Energy has revealed that eco-features are now more important to home buyers than garden size. The research found that 89% of prospective buyers were looking for sustainable homes. Repeated lockdowns and increased time spent at home have led many to revaluate their priorities in life and buying an eco-friendly property has become a priority.

So, if you’re keen to buy an eco-friendly home, what features should you be looking for?

1. Loft and Wall Insulation

Insulating a property is one of the most efficient ways to minimise wasted energy and reduce costs. When viewing a property, remember to ask if the walls and loft are insulated and check if eco-friendly materials were used in the process.

2. Eco-Friendly Materials

Ask the vendor what materials have been used for flooring and other home improvements. You may be able to tell by looking in some instances. Sustainable home materials include bamboo, straw bales, cob, sheep’s wool, reclaimed wood and recycled steel.

3. Solar Panels

Solar panels save energy and money and reduce your home’s carbon emissions. Photovoltaic solar panels capture and store energy from the sun, which can then be used to power electrical devices in the home. Solar thermal panels can be used to heat water, thus reducing central-heating costs.

4. Eco-Friendly Landscaping

Any garden design that reduces the amount of water required to keep it thriving will boost a property’s eco-rating. Look for synthetic grass or wood chips. A lush lawn may look gorgeous, but it will require frequent watering during the summer. The use of recycled materials, such as tin baths for planters, indicates that the homeowner has landscaped their garden with the environment in mind. Also, look out for hedges which house wildlife and green or “living” rooves.

5. Energy-Efficient Lighting

LED lights last much longer than standard bulbs, and they are around 75% more energy efficient. When used in conjunction with a smart lighting system and motion sensors, you can control energy usage to avoid waste. In addition to eco-friendly lighting technology, look for large windows, skylights and anything that allows natural light into the home, as this will reduce the need to consume energy.

6. Underfloor Heating

Underfloor heating is much more energy-efficient than radiators, and it circulates cleaner air without the moisture levels produced by radiators. This reduces the risk of damp and its damaging effects while keeping the air in your home healthier. Choose from water or electric underfloor heating. Both can be powered by renewable energy, which is much kinder to the environment than fossil fuels.

7. Low-Flow Toilets

Low-flow toilets use much less water than older models, which typically use up to seven gallons of water per flush. Government standards for low-flow toilets stipulate that they use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush. If you’re eager to conserve every drop of water, opt for a high-efficiency model that uses just 1.28 gallons of water with each flush.

8. Smart Thermostats

The average person in the UK produces 6.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, and approximately a third comes from heating. A smart thermostat — one that allows a homeowner to control their heating remotely via a mobile device — could reduce your carbon footprint by between 0.3 and 0.7 tonnes of CO2 every year.

9. A Good EPC Rating

Every homeowner must obtain a valid Electrical Performance Certificate (EPC) before marketing their property. The EPC shows potential buyers how much energy the property uses, how many CO2 emissions it produces and how much it costs to run the property. A property will be graded from A to G, with A being the most energy-efficient. If you have a house to sell before you can buy a more eco-friendly home, a good EPC rating on your current home can help you sell a house fast.

10. Energy Efficient Appliances

Energy-efficient appliances help you save water and money, reduce your carbon footprint and enhance your quality of life.

When choosing appliances, look out for the energy label. This tells you how much energy an appliance uses and can help you find the most energy-efficient appliance for your needs.

If you’re eager to buy a home with strong eco-credentials, ensure the essentials are in place. Of course, you can put your own stamp on a property, but walking straight into a “green” house is a dream come true!

Have some inspiration about going green in all aspect of life. Views are my own.

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