Well clearly this will be doing the rounds in the news today and many of you will think that it is another waste of money, a statement of obvious fact. Why has some think tank been paid a small fortune to come up with something we all know?

And broadly speaking you would be right. Everybody knows that energy wastage is bad for our planet's environment and nobody wants to pay over the odds for their heating bills.

What's surprising then (as somebody who sells houses) is how few buyers ask questions on viewings regarding the energy efficiency of a home. So having read the article this raises an interesting question for me. Why not?

We know it is important not just for our own outgoing bills but also for our environment. I can only imagine it must be a cultural phenomena.

In our industry we regularly field numerous questions regarding tenure, council tax bands, costs for refurbishment or extension, tips on landscape and interior design, local schooling, transport links, future plans for an area but rarely on a topic which could cost a homeowner hundreds and potentially thousands of pounds a year.

I can only think that "Energy Efficiency" must be regarded as somewhat mundane when you are looking at buying a new home, after all who wants to think about paying bills when you see that dream home. Particularly if it is that single glazed Gothic mansion you have always wanted. 

In short energy usage gets deprioritised. Instead we hope it will be fine because we like the house.

However if you are looking for a home to buy at the moment and you feel that you would like to know a little more then here are some brief tips on things to look out for and questions to ask.

  1. Double glazing - it makes a big difference, look out for condensation between the plates of glass as this means the seals in the units have been compromised. They will need to be replaced and costs vary depending on the size of window but can be between £100 - £300.
  2. Insulation. Loft and cavity wall. Has it been done and if so to what degree?
  3. Boiler. How old? Newer will tend to infer greater efficiency and possibly a warranty.
  4. Current bills. Don't be afraid to ask what the present owner is paying.

Lastly the EPC. Every property for sale must have an energy performance certificate (EPC) in order for it to be marketed in the UK. Usually the Estate agent will just display a little graph on their particulars to show the property's energy efficiency rating. You should request the full copy, it contains a detailed inspection of the house you are looking at and recommendations on how to improve the overall efficiency.