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Reducing the residential carbon footprint is paramount for climate change

As the recent COP27 conference brought environmental awareness back to the fore, reducing our carbon footprint through the country’s housing is once again top of the agenda.

Greenhouse gas emissions from residential properties in the UK continues to rise, against the backdrop of heightened political rhetoric about climate change and energy efficiency.

The housing market is one of the biggest contributors to the country’s carbon footprint, with the latest analysis from Help me Fix, a property maintenance solution provider, revealing that the average home now produced 2.29 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.

Residential property has the third largest carbon footprint of all sectors, according to the research, generating a total of 68.1 million tonnes of CO2 per year. Ahead of this were the transport and energy supply sectors, with transport seeing its emissions rise by +10% between 2021 and 2022.

Fight against climate change starts at home

Across all sectors, total greenhouse gas emissions totalled 424.5 million tonnes of CO2 during the time frame, which is a 4.7% total increase. In the housing market, the annual increase in emissions was 5.8%.

Annually, residential homes have seen their carbon footprint increase by 0.3% per year, across around 29.8 million dwellings.

Commenting on the findings, Ettan Bazil, CEO and founder of Help me Fix, said: “It may sound incredibly cliché, but the fight against climate change really does start at home, as it’s our homes that have seen the largest average annual increase in greenhouse gas emissions over the last decade – and that’s not including electricity, just the natural gas we consume.

“Not only are residential properties the third largest source of greenhouse gas, but they’ve also seen the fourth largest increase in the last year alone. This is largely down to the use of natural gas for heating and cooking and so there are plenty of things that can be done for very little cost in order to reduce your footprint.”

Reducing a property’s carbon footprint

As Bazil points out, it is the gas used in the home that has the biggest effect on the level of emissions it produces. He suggests simple ways households can reduce their gas usage, including batch cooking and using other methods such as slow cookers or air fryers.

The overall energy efficiency of a property, of course, is also key. He advises investing in “double glazing, reducing draft areas, installing insulation or smart metres and even adding a layer or two during the winter months can also help contribute”.

“While these measures may seem small and perhaps insignificant in the grand scheme of things, if almost twenty eight million households put them in place, it would make a notable collective impact to our carbon footprint.”

One thing that has come to light recently is the sheer difference the age of a property can have on its emissions and carbon footprint, which is even more crucial as energy bills continue to soar. New-builds will not only save money over the long-term, but offer an improved environmental impact.

New properties have become more popular recently as a result, with Savills reporting that new-build reservations were up by 7% in the first quarter of the year compared with Q1 2021.

Using a combination of energy performance certificate (EPC) and HM Land Registry data, Savills also found that new-build occupants can save an average £4,900 on bills over five years. This was based on research done earlier this year, so recent energy price hikes may have made the saving even greater.

BuyAssociation specialises in new-build and newly renovated property investment opportunities, many of which have the highest energy efficiency ratings. Browse some of our current projects, and get in touch for more information.

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