With average temperatures in the UK plummeting to their lowest levels since the sixties this winter, and further snow expected this week, the importance a having a warm home has never been more significant. New figures from the Chartered Institute of Housing in January linked housing to health, highlighting that failing to tackle inadequate homes would lead to a 325 per cent increase in care costs by 2014, putting immense pressure on the NHS. Strict government guidelines in recent years have led new homes to become their most energy efficient ever, meaning they have both long term monetary and health benefits.
It has been proven that when homes fail to perform the most basic function of keeping people warm it leads to health problems. Also with the government firmly committed to reducing the effects of climate change by decreasing carbon dioxide production (CO2) through energy consumption, changes in building regulations and the introduction of the Code for Sustainable Homes, new homes now offer significant savings in energy bills.
Esteemed housebuilder, Weston Homes, recruited Stansted Environmental Services to measure the energy efficiency rating of today’s modern homes. The results showed that homes built in 2010 are 52 per cent cheaper to heat than homes built in 1990, 72 per cent cheaper to heat than homes built in 1970 and 79 per cent cheaper to heat than homes built in 1950.
Bob Weston, Chairman and Chief Executive of Weston Homes, commented: “Homes built today are extremely well insulated, with careful material selection and airtight construction. We carry out air leakage testing on all our homes and they are that well insulated you could practically heat them with a candle. Whilst measures can be taken to improve the energy efficiency of older homes, gaps in the construction where heat can escape can be difficult to find and costly to change.”
An increasingly diverse and ageing society is placing more pressure on public services. Last November the Audit Commission reported an eight per cent increase between 2007/8 and 2008/9 in the number of hospital day outpatients in the UK.
In addition Government backed research into the financial benefits of the Supporting People Programme, which has provided housing-related services for vulnerable people in the UK since 2003, showed how improved housing led to a £315 million saving for the NHS alone.
Britain has the oldest housing stock in the developed world with 8.5 million properties over 60 years old. Older homes also use more energy than they need to, where a new home produces 60 per cent less dangerous CO2 emissions. The Weston Homes report also found that new homes today produce just fewer than three tones less CO2 emissions than homes that were built in 1990. All new homes are required to show an Energy Performance Certificate.
Bob Weston, Chairman and Chief Executive of Weston Homes, continues: “These figures speak for themselves, not only are new homes cheaper to heat they can also have health benefits, increasingly important especially recently with the arctic conditions we have experienced in the UK.”