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10 ways to make your property sustainable and future-proof

Creating a home fit for the future with additional sustainable features is now more important to many property owners than how it looks. 

Design features are no longer top of the agenda when it comes to what people look for in a property, having been overtaken by more practical aspects linked to energy efficiency, sustainability, and environmental impact, according to a recent survey from Hive.

In an echo of similar research done in the past by other organisations, a growing number of people are also happy to pay extra when it comes to ensuring certain eco, sustainable features are present within a property. This change could be a result of rising energy costs as well as growing environmental awareness.

For property investors, focusing on properties that contain the most sought-after features can also be the best way of future-proofing an investment. Not only is the property more likely to appeal to potential tenants, but it could also stand it in better stead for capital appreciation and an easier sale further down the line.

The top 10 sustainable features

Hive’s survey found a list of the 10 most desirable features or upgrades that a property could have:

  1. Solar panels 68%
  2. Good roof insulation 67%
  3. Good thermal wall insulation 63%
  4. Smart heating system 62%
  5. Energy efficient lighting 59%
  6. Smart lighting 56%
  7. Triple-glazed windows 56%
  8. Good natural lighting 53%
  9. Energy efficient fridge 51%
  10. Energy smart meter 48%

At the other end of the scale, features that were relatively low down on the list of priorities were things like wooden flooring, cited by 22% and reclaimed woodwork (21%).

In terms of how much extra someone would be willing to pay in order to secure a more sustainable home, the average figure was £11,730.

Of course, the features on the list all come with a wide variety of price tags. Installing solar panels, for example, or kitting out a whole property with triple-glazed windows, will be fairly pricey. However, simple improvements such as energy efficient lighting, smart lighting and an energy smart meter would cost less to implement.

Installing certain upgrades can increase the value of a property, too, which is why many people choose to retrofit their existing home to make it more sustainable. For example, Hive points out that adding an electric vehicle charger to your property could boost your home’s value by up to £5,000.

Changing attitudes

People’s views are certainly changing when it comes to the importance of energy efficiency. The government is also spurring on this sea change through its ongoing proposals to drastically improve the carbon output of the UK’s built environment, including residential property.

According to Hive’s survey, more than half of people (55%) think making our homes sustainable is something everyone needs to think about, and 47% have already proactively made changes to their property to make it greener and more sustainable.

The top elements people have changed are installing a smart meter, which 37% of respondents say they have done, as well as adding energy efficient lighting (34%), upgrading roof insulation (33%) and installing a water meter (26%). As previously mentioned, these changes are relatively straightforward and low-cost.

Smart technology was also high on the agenda, with 87% of respondents saying they would love to install more smart devices in their homes. The main reasons behind this were to have greater control of energy costs, cited by 67% of people, and to better track energy usage (63%).

Gavin Murray, Hive and EV director at British Gas, said: “This research shows how important sustainability is in the modern home. It’s clear that Brits are increasingly prioritising energy efficiency in their home over aesthetic changes so that they have greater control over their emissions.

“And there is true value in making these changes – as net zero technology from solar panels to smart thermostats and EV chargers, is helping customers to better track their energy usage, set schedules and keep costs down. As electric cars increase in popularity, at home chargers, like our new EV charger, will likely become the norm and worth investing in now.”

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