Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Big bank is offering customers £2,000 for energy-efficient improvements to their homes

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A HIGH Street Bank is offering homeowners a cash reward of up to £2,000 for making energy efficient improvements to their properties.

Barclays has announced the pilot of its Greener Home Reward to help those who want to make energy-saving or green changes to their home but the cost is preventing them.

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Barclays is offering money for customers making energy efficient changes to their homes[/caption]

It offers up to £2,000 for Barclays mortgage customers who register online for the cash bonus and then make and pay for a selected energy efficiency improvement in their home.

Customers can choose to install any of several home improvements including an air source heat pump, double or triple glazed windows, solar panels or home insulation as long as the improvement is carried out by a TrustMark registered company or tradesman.

It comes after research found three-quarters of homeowners can’t afford to make energy-efficient home improvements.

The survey of 2,000 homeowners found that homeowners are financially constrained when it comes to making their homes more energy efficient, even though 86% are concerned about climate change.

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Yet 75% would like to improve the energy efficiency of their home at some point in the future.

CS Venkatakrishnan, Group Chief Executive Officer at Barclays, said: “There is a clear need to improve the energy efficiency of homes in the UK, but as our data shows, cost remains a barrier to making aspirations a reality.

“We hope this pilot project will help encourage consumers to make energy-efficient home improvements.”

The bank also worked with real estate expert and presenter Martel Maxwell, who said: “Almost every homeowner I meet wants to be greener, but the cost often holds them back.


“They make small changes for years, but want to make a big difference in their minds and hearts.

“I know what it’s like to take that leap; When we built our home six years ago, we went renewable and installed everything from solar panels to a geothermal heat pump, triple glazing and everything in between, which was a big undertaking.”

The study found that a lack of knowledge is also a barrier to completing home improvement jobs, with 31% unsure which changes would have the biggest impact on their energy bills.

Only a quarter (26%) know the benefits of insulating external doors, while a high proportion have never heard of a biomass boiler (69%) or solar battery storage (63%).

While 19% have not conducted the necessary research into a preferred course of action to justify changes.

Instead, when asked about the actions they are taking, the vast majority fall under the banner of lifestyle choices.

These include avoiding or minimizing food waste (73%), trying to reduce central heating use (62%) and turning off electrical appliances rather than leaving them on standby (56%).

The behavioral economist Dr. Pete Brooks said: “When weighing up the costs and benefits of retrofitting, a behavioral bias called ‘hyperbolic discounting’ often comes into play, which essentially means we tend to favor smaller, immediate rewards over larger payoffs down the line.

“With the expected payback period for some home improvement projects in excess of a decade, these larger options may be overlooked.

“While the long-term benefits may be greater, the end result is often inaction.”

The knowledge gap is not just limited to specific energy improvements, as a third of homeowners do not know what an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is, while 51% do not know their own home’s EPC rating.

Martel Maxwell’s tips for homeowners looking to retrofit their home:

window

Consider an upgrade. For larger budgets, this can mean switching from single glazing to double glazing, or upgrading your old double glazing to triple glazing.

This is often not allowed in listed buildings or in conservation areas, so consider double glazing; This effectively adds a pane of glass inside, leaving the original windows as they are.

If you’re on a tighter budget, it’s important that everything is airtight to prevent drafts from entering your home.

You can do this by repairing glass, resealing frames, or replacing rotten wood.

Heavy-duty curtains that retain heat can make a big impact, as can draft excluders on doors.

Insulation (wall and roof)

Think of your home as an envelope and make sure it’s sealed well; One of the best ways to do this is with good insulation – both in the walls and in the roof.

Poor wall insulation accounts for an estimated 35-40% of heat loss in homes, so it’s worth investigating.

British houses built before 1930 generally have solid walls and those built later have cavity walls.

Cavity wall insulation is easier to install as only insulation material needs to be injected into the voids, while solid wall insulation is more expensive and complicated as new “skins” or layers need to be added to your walls.

Therefore, roof insulation can be the faster, easier and cheaper alternative.

For the average household, insulating your attic or roof keeps heat in your living space and increases energy efficiency.

In an uninsulated house, around a quarter of the heat can escape through the roof.

biomass boiler

That 20-year-old boiler that you keep having repaired instead of replacing? Now it might be time to upgrade it to something greener.

A biomass boiler does exactly the same job as a traditional heating system – providing central heating and hot water – but by burning wood or biological materials.

Unlike gas, which is delivered to your home when you need it, biomass supplies need to be stored on-site near the boiler, so you need ample storage space.

They’re about the size of a fridge-freezer, so – as with any retrofit – you should evaluate for yourself whether it’s right for your needs and the size of your property.

solar panels

Solar energy is a renewable and infinite source of energy that produces no harmful gas emissions; As long as the sun shines, energy is released and they work even on cloudy days.

I also love that solar panels have a relatively low carbon footprint, often lasting over 25 years, and that the materials used to make them are increasingly recyclable.

ground and air source heat pumps

When we built our house we installed a geothermal heat pump to keep our house warm all year round.

However, it takes up a lot of outdoor space, as it uses the ambient temperature of the ground to heat to a certain level, which is then “replenished” with electricity.

It’s a significant investment, but it heats your home in a more environmentally friendly way and in our case it has reduced our energy bills.

For those who are retrofitting or have less space, air source heat pumps may be a more suitable option as they take up less space – they are effectively a box to be placed outside.

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They work on the same principle as geothermal heat pumps – transferring heat from the outside air to water, which heats your interior with radiators or underfloor heating.

You can also heat water stored in a hot water tank.

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