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With energy costs rapidly on the increase, we might all be reaching for the heating off-switch - unless, of course, we’re in a brand new home. Newer properties are far more energy efficient and help us to make huge savings and do our bit for the environment; and, while we can take measures to bring older properties up to today’s standards, it’s not without its difficulties or expense…

Why is a new home more energy efficient?

New homes, like those built by Redrow, are designed to deliver improved energy efficiency through siting, design and orientation, water conservation measures, energy efficient lighting, and more.

Tackling climate change is one of the huge issues facing everyone today along with reducing spiralling energy costs, so both are key considerations.

The right layout and using materials and products which retain heat are crucial, along with greater insultation, high-specification doors and windows, efficient boilers, increased air tightness and energy-efficient lighting. 

Many new homes, like ours, offer solar panels as standard or as an upgrade, which help cut back on bills too, and harness natural energy to help the environment, and answer that question: ‘How can I reduce my carbon footprint?’ by reducing emissions. 

The Home Builders Federation suggests new homeowners will save on average £52 a month, or £629 a year - research conducted before the massive energy price increases this year.

Why does an older property cost so much to run?

There are lots of reasons why older homes cost more to run - and they can often make some of the more endearing qualities of old-world charm rather less appealing.

An older home is usually filled with long-since changed plumbing systems, old wiring, windows which let heat out and draughts in, and roofs with missing or loose tiles and poor insulation. They can also experience damp.

Like anything over time, the older a home is, the more problems can start appearing. Generally, the older the home, the more time you’ll need to spend on maintenance and, because of its age, parts and materials might be obsolete or difficult to acquire, so it could cost you more.

And if it’s character you crave, you can find a new home that still offers traditional craftmanship and period style features, like those of our Heritage Collection, inspired by Arts and Crafts architecture

How can I bring my old home up to today’s standards?

Many people would rather stay put and do up their home - but it’s not without its hassles.

Renovating an older property can be costly - there’s usually a kitchen and bathroom to modernise and upgrade, an en-suite to add, a new roof, doors and windows, installing a new boiler and central heating system, re-wiring and decorating.

House renovations can cost an average of £56,000! According to Checkatrade, you can expect to pay between £38,000 – £74,000 to fully renovate a three-bedroom house. And that’s just the cost - not factoring in the search for a designer and architect if you want internal reconstruction work carrying out, getting plans and building regulations approved, finding a reliable builder - and living with all that mess while the work is carried out.

Even with a strict budget, don’t be surprised if it ends up being more. Old houses come with surprises, and hidden issues can often make costs soar further.

What can I do to reduce my bills and help tackle carbon emissions?

Whether you’re in an older home, or a brand-new property, you can always find ways to reduce running costs and cut back on bills.

  • Turning your thermostat down by just 10-15% for eight hours a day can lower your annual heating bills by up to 10%

  • You can reduce the cost of hot water by setting your water heater to 130 degrees instead of the standard 140 degrees

  • Make sure laundry loads are full and wash clothes in cold water whenever possible

  • Dry your clothes outside in the fresh air, instead of using a tumble dryer

  • Make sure your light fittings are energy efficient and switch the lights off in rooms you’re not using

  • Cook smart - put lids on pans, only boil as much water in the kettle as you need and heat food in the microwave as it uses less energy than the oven

How does energy efficiency help the environment?

Energy efficiency means using less power to perform an action such as switching on and using a light, or to provide a service such as heating water. 

Homes that use energy supplied from fossil fuels are responsible for significant emissions of carbon dioxide, and the race is on to reduce them and tackle climate change

For more information on our approach to sustainability see www.redrowplc.co.uk/sustainability