HIPs show shortcomings in home energy efficiency

The introduction of a scheme to rate the energy performance of homes when they go on the market has shown that the average house is poorly insulated and fitted with inefficient appliances.

The Government's Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) and Home Information Packs (HIPs) were introduced to assess the energy efficiency of homes alongside the existing checks carried out by lawyers and surveyors before a property changes hands.

After delays and teething troubles, the checks were introduced for houses with four or more bedrooms at the beginning of August, but this week the scheme has been extended to cover three bedroom properties.

According to Government, the scheme has highlighted poor energy performance in existing housing stock, with the average property receiving an 'E' grade on an A-G scale.

Owners of these homes could typically save £180 a year on heating bills, £60 on lighting and £30 on hot water by taking the energy efficiency advice of assessors.

This advice typically includes installing cavity wall and loft insulation, switching to low energy lightbulbs, fitting double glazing and putting thermostatic valves on radiators.

Communities Minister Iain Wright said: "Families buying four bedroom homes are getting clear information which shows how they can save hundreds of pounds on their fuel bills and cut carbon emissions too. It is important that this should be available for people buying three bedroom homes as well."

Typical 'green grants' of £100 to £300 for energy saving improvements like loft insulation are available to many home owners from energy suppliers as part of their legal obligations introduced by government to improve energy efficiency.

Consumers can now access details of green grants and offers by tapping in their postcode on the Energy Saving Trust's website.

David Gibbs



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