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During 2019 Alexandre Boyes have seen a rise in queries regarding home efficiency from tenants, landlords, purchasers and owners of estates and blocks of residential flats. Legislation changes this year introduced  a minimum EPC rating of E before  a property can be marketed for lettings. Our property managers and maintenance team have been working closely with clients to upgrade their properties and we anticipate this will continue in 2020 as the spotlight remains firmly on climate change.

2018 figures from the Office for National Statistics suggest that housing contributes 65.9 million tonnes of CO2 per year. 18% of the UK total emissions. Households, offices, public buildings, schools and the construction industry all contribute. The Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP recently said “Building new homes isn’t just about bricks and mortar, I want to ensure everyone – including developers – do their bit to protect the environment and give the next generation beautiful, environmentally friendly homes that local communities can support…that’s why I am requiring carbon emissions are cut by up to 80% from 2025 for all new homes”. 

The National Design Guide  (published 1st October 2019) discusses the need to construct eco-friendly, sustainable and efficient homes. It looks at  Near Zero Energy Standards, the Future Homes Standards consultation due to close early 2020; it looks at proposals like prohibiting new builds connecting to the gas grid after 2025. Consider concrete’s CO2 footprint alone – its arguably one of the most integral worldwide man-made building materials used. Eco-friendly alternatives include hemp crete, ferrock (using recycled materials like steel dust), fly ash (a by-product of burning coal), timber crete ( a mix of sawdust and concrete) and mycelium (derived from the roots of fungi and mushrooms). There is a whole host of ever evolving clean technology out there like ground source heat pumps and bore hole technology; solar panels; rainwater recycling systems; thermal windows; natural building materials like straw bales, wool and wood.  All these alternatives would help reduce emissions in their production,  transportation and use but when it comes to mass development is it financially viable? With many countrywide building programmes underway or under consideration it is more likely that a hybrid of traditional and new methods will be used for the foreseeable future.

Watch out for our future articles of legislation proposals and changes that impact the property sector.