The Inside Edge
According to a recent statement made by Ian McCaig, chief exec of First Utility, the cost of energy bills could potentially overtake mortgage payments within the next five years. This news may sound dire, but it is anything but surprising. Over the past five years, the average cost of utility bills in the UK has risen by approximately 35%. And if this trend continues, homeowners could very soon find themselves paying substantially more for their utilities than they do for their homes.
Coping with Rising Utilities
Many people across the UK will be able to deal with their rising utility costs, despite these costs having a significant impact upon their standard of living. However for many, these increases will prove devastating.
The worst consequences of rising utility bills can already be observed amongst those people who don’t have the financial capabilities to absorb such increases. These people tend to be the most vulnerable in society, including elderly people and the disabled. And for those living in ‘fuel poverty’, simply turning down their heating isn’t an option. This is particularly true in winter, and for those living in poorly insulated houses who don’t have the money to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.
Energy Efficient Homes
The homes which will be the least affected by rising utility costs will be those which have the highest energy efficiency ratings. There are many elements which contribute to how well a property is able to conserve energy, which include:
- Wall, floor and roof insulation
- Properly sealed exterior walls
- Energy efficient boilers
- Alternative energy sources (such as solar panels)
The more energy efficient elements a property is in possession of, the lower said property’s utilities will be. Therefore, it is in the best interests of the homeowner to ensure that their property has as many energy efficient features as possible.
Finding an Energy Efficient Property
There are three ways to make sure that you have an energy efficient home. The first is to buy a property which has already been fitted with energy efficient features. This can be achieved by utilising the services of a reputable conveyancer from Conveyancing Direct, to make sure the property in question has all of the features you desire – and none of the features you don’t.
The second way is to build your own energy efficient home. This is a choice which increasing numbers of UK homeowners are making, in order to guarantee that they are able to reside in a property whose energy performance rating is as high as possible.
The two methods outlined above are great solutions for some, but inaccessible for many. This is because the cost of buying or building a new home is simply out of reach for many people; especially those who may be classed as ‘vulnerable’. For these people it is essential that another option be provided. In this case, opting into the government’s Green Deal scheme may be a possible solution to the problem of rising utility bills. As a financing scheme designed to help people have their properties retrofitted for energy efficiency, it potentially gives hope to many who might otherwise have seen their utility bills spiral beyond control.