Nation split on HIPs

Planned information packs to help home buyers easily assess the energy efficiency of a potential property have met with a mixed response among the public, despite the fact that most people say the cost of utility bills is a consideration when choosing a house.

A survey commissioned by Hyder Consulting suggests that around half the population is supportive of the plans to introduce Home Information Packs, with the figure ranging from 45% in Scotland up to 60% in the East Midlands.

From August 1, the packs will become compulsory when selling a property of four or more bedrooms and will include an energy efficiency rating, similar to those which can currently be found on electrical appliances like fridges and washing machines.

The introduction date was put back after it emerged there was a massive shortage in inspectors who had taken the necessary qualification to carry out the HIPs.

The packs will add an additional cost to buying and selling larger homes but tabloid reports suggesting inspectors will be about as popular as traffic wardens appear to be unfounded.

Hyder’s study suggests that more and more Britons are becoming environmentally aware and are attempting to embrace the idea of green living, with only 14% saying that they would not take the energy efficiency rating into consideration when looking at a house or flat.

Indeed, over three quarters of those questioned said that running costs and energy efficiency are important when choosing one property over another, with just 3% saying that it is not important at all.

Chris Evans, head of environmental solutions at Hyder, said: “The research shows that the choice to make our homes more energy efficient will no longer be made on ethical grounds alone, but financial as well.

“Clearly, property buyers are increasingly taking a property’s carbon footprint into account. The level of energy efficiency within a property may be used as a bargaining tool by both parties in negotiations.

“Once they have been fully introduced HIPs may prove to be a key turning point in the push to make homes more sustainable. However we must be aware that a sustainable home and lifestyle does not stop with HIPs.

“It is important that we all continue to do everything we can from minimising our carbon footprint to recycling in order to help save our planet.”

Sam Bond

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