Why is energy efficiency an issue?

The benefits of energy efficiency

Buying a newly built home is a big step into the unknown. As a sales negotiator, you play an important role in helping clients to understand the many benefits of choosing a newly built property. Price and location are not the only selling points these days energy efficiency is important too.

This page lists the main selling points of new, energy efficient homes.

Selling point – “cheaper to run”

New homes have been designed and built to meet the latest legislation, so they are energy efficient “by design”. The energy efficiency of homes is calculated using the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP). The scale starts at 1 (extremely expensive to heat) and rises to 100 or more (very cheap to heat; or even generates own power). The average UK house achieves a SAP rating of 40–50. New homes can now reach SAP 80 or higher - a good standard of energy efficiency. It would be hard for older homes to reach this standard, even with improvements.

Selling point – “healthy and comfortable”

The great thing about new homes is that they are designed to be healthy and comfortable: They are well-insulated and have more stringent standards to meet, so there are fewer draughts. They have modern controls for heating and hot water systems so that you can control the temperatures to suit your lifestyle. They are well-ventilated, so that you get the right amount of fresh air, and condensation is reduced.

Selling point – “kinder to the environment”

During recent years new homes are being designed to increase sustainability. Saving energy is not the only consideration; some developments include extra features such as cutting pollution from transport or from building materials. Many new homes have also been designed to conserve other natural resources, including water, land and minerals.

Most of the energy we use in our homes comes from burning fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas). For example, natural gas is used for cooking, and heating; and most of the electricity we use for lighting and running appliances is generated in power stations that burn fossil fuels. Burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide (CO2) and other gases into the Earth’s atmosphere. These gases form a protective layer that prevents heat from escaping into space. Without this ‘greenhouse effect’ Earth would be too cold to support life. But people’s activities now release so much CO2 that the atmosphere is becoming too warm, which is affecting the Earth’s weather systems – a process known as climate change.