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Property Age Linked To Energy Efficiency


It does not take a rocket scientist to work out that older buildings will be harder to heat than newer ones, but new research from the ONS based on VOA data quantifies the problem.  Almost all homes built since 2012 have a high efficiency rating whereas only 1 in 8 of those built before 1900 does.

Given that most of Southsea and Old Portsmouth comes into the latter category are you one of the majority with no plans to do anything about it?

What Does The Report Say Exactly? 

The age of a property is the most significant factor associated with energy efficiency, ahead of fuel type and property type, according to new analysis from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Homes built in 2012 or later in England and Wales are much more likely to have one of the top three energy efficiency ratings than older homes.

Almost all homes built since 2012 in England and Wales have a high energy efficiency rating, compared with just 12% of assessed homes built before 1900 in England, and 8% of homes built before 1900 in Wales.

The age of a dwelling affects the energy efficiency as building techniques and regulations have changed over time, alongside wear and tear.

Any home with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) has a rating from A to G. This reflects how efficient the building is (A being most efficient), how much it might cost to heat and power, and what its greenhouse gas emissions are likely to be. Not all homes currently have ratings, as these are only required when a dwelling is constructed, sold or let. EPCs were introduced in England and Wales in 2007, and a certificate is valid for 10 years.

One in six homes in England (15%) and a fifth of homes in Wales (23%) were built before 1900, according to the latest Valuation Office Agency data. Homes in England and Wales were most commonly built between 1930 and 1982 (46% in England and 39% in Wales). In England, 7% were built in 2012 or later, and in Wales, 5%.

Overall, fewer than half of assessed homes in both England (42%) and Wales (37%) have an EPC rating of C or higher. However, less than a fifth of people in Great Britain (19%) were considering improving their home's energy efficiency, according to Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) data collected between 22 September and 3 October 2021.

Of those who were not considering any improvements, the most common reason for this was believing their home was already efficient enough (35%), followed by not owning their own home (29%) and changes costing too much money (28%).

The UK government has set a goal for fuel-poor homes (households where the cost of heating is high relative to income) in England to reach a rating of C or higher by 2030 (where reasonable), contributing to the UK-wide net zero 2050 target. The Welsh Government are currently consulting on plans to bring homes rated F or G to band D, and homes in Band D or E to band C.

What Next? 

We have been living with (comparatively) cheap energy for a long time - extracting and burning fossil fuels has been relatively cheap compared to other sources of energy.  While renewables and possibly nuclear will become cheaper, it may be that with the ever rising demand that today's high prices are a better indicator of future outlook than many would have you believe.

If this is the case, the many energy efficiency measures which have been hard to justify, like solar PV (typically 7-8 years payback) or battery storage (typically 10 years payback) are about to become much more appealing, as payback periods shorten drastically when the calculations are based on higher energy prices and thus greater potential savings.

This still does not answer the big questions about how we get from where we are - with a large industry of gas fitters and a barely existent retrofit industry, to where we need to be, especially with the big questions unanswered, such as how do you bring a conservation area up to the required energy efficiency or how do you do a 'whole home retrofit' most effectively.

Read the ONS report here:

EPC C or D by 2025?
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