UK Green Building Council says homeowners should be forced to improve energy rating before selling

The government’s main green advisory body has proposed that people be forced to make energy improvements to homes before selling or renting them out.

This is one of the recommendations of a report published on Monday by the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC). It hopes to tackle the problem that existing properties are not as energy efficient as new homes. This issue was highlighted in Building’s 99% campaign.

Called Low Carbon Existing Homes, the report suggests homeowners could be required to take measures such as installing new boilers or thicker insulation before being granted the energy performance certificate that allows them to sell their homes.

It says the measures would eventually pay for themselves, through savings on fuel bills.

The report’s author, Jo Wheeler, senior policy adviser at the UKGBC, said owners would be able to access a proposed loan scheme to pay for the improvements that would be linked to the property and be paid back over 25 years at 5.3%.

She said: “There is a need for energy efficient and low-carbon homes to become an aspirational proposition for the householder.”

But Richard Turkington, director of Housing Vision, said: “In the present state of the market, anything that places additional costs on vendors will be resisted. There is evidence that people are willing to pay a small premium of between 2 and 5% for a standard of house that would be more environmentally sound.”

Alan Clark, a housing economist with BNP Paribas, said: “Having people take on debt in this environment is taboo, really. Debt is a dirty word. Anything that increases the cost of moving home will not be welcomed with open arms.”

The report also calls for:

  • An 80% cut in CO2 from UK households by 2050 with interim five yearly targets.
  • Legislation to improve the worst performing homes and make better use of EPCs
  • Training to give builders green refurbishment skills
  • Ensuring householders have access to information on low-carbon refurbishment