Are eco homes the future of property in Norfolk?
PUBLISHED: 13:18 09 July 2019
Whether it's the David Attenborough effect, the war on plastic or the likes of Greta Thunberg speaking out about what has been dubbed a climate catastrophe, we're becoming more aware of our environmental impact. But what does this mean for our homes?
Many of us are trying to reduce our impact on the environment, whether it's by reducing our amount of single-use plastic or choosing to walk rather than drive. But nowadays how we live in our homes, and how they are built, is also changing.
"Legislation and building regulations have been forcing house builders to incorporate more and more eco-features into new homes over the past few years," says Jan Hÿtch of Arnolds Keys. "But the thing which is really changing the landscape is that environmental concerns are gaining traction amongst consumers - in other words, all of us.
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"We are rapidly getting into the habit of bringing our own reusable shopping bags to the supermarket, thinking about our carbon footprint when we book our holidays, and wanting to know how many miles our strawberries have travelled before arriving on the shelf. Small wonder that a similar level of attention is being paid by house buyers to the environmental sustainability of our homes," says Jan.
"At one stage the driving factor was saving money on energy bills, and for many that is still important. But the last couple of years have seen a quantum shift in consumer thinking, a final acceptance that we all have to take responsibility for the future of our planet. The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), which details how efficient a home is to heat and run, is becoming a key focus point for buyers.
"Whilst the true eco-home - zero carbon, zero energy bills and totally self-sufficient - may be some way off, more and more of our housing stock is at least partly an eco-home, whether through improved insulation, triple glazed windows, a more efficient boiler or a smart meter helping us to monitor our energy usage. So eco-friendly homes won't just become the norm in the future, it's already happening.
"Of course, we may never fall out of love with the architectural beauty of a pretty Norfolk flint cottage or an Edwardian terrace, and these can never be true eco-homes," admits Jan. "But increasingly the sustainable allure of modern, energy-efficient homes will at least match the attraction of traditional property, as we all recognise the need to respond to our climate emergency."