Living economically is never far from public consciousness these days and as far as housing goes, it is often tempting to think that green living is automatically expensive. But with many local councils now upgrading properties and many more being sold with environmental features built-in, going green may be easier than you think. As one example, much of the property for sale in Tunbridge Wells at Zoopla, and a large part of the UK in general, is now offered with energy performance certificates as standard, so potential improvements are made clear to today’s home-buyer from the start.
Recent years have seen many effective instances of retrofitting – improving the energy performance of existing properties that you find on sites like Zoopla – including external wall cladding and solar panelling, even whilst preserving the character of period buildings. The coalition’s ‘green deal’ is also set so that charges on energy bills will go towards a plan to install loft and cavity insulation where needed. This scheme has been met with some criticism of late but the government maintains the steps will improve the warmth and efficiency of homes all over Britain.
Perhaps more sustainable for the future is a ‘whole house’ approach such as green social housing schemes like the National Affordable Housing Programme. Development companies like Barratts and Morris Homes have been ensuring newly built social housing meets minimum energy standards in various parts of the UK. Last years’ Energy Bill was passed with additional aims to create new eco-towns which will be carbon neutral and provide their own energy through efficient waste disposal.
At a local level, areas like Tunbridge Wells in Kent have seen overall sustainability increase as initiatives like the Blue Forest tree houses gather interest. These whimsical structures are intended as temporary getaways, but the company’s use of solar-driven lighting, fuel cells and rainwater tanks is inspiring and Blue Forest also builds eco-classrooms and woodlands retreats in nearby Hampshire. Similarly, organisations like Transition Tunbridge Wells promote awareness in the community for things like recycling, garden shares and reducing the footprint of the entire town.
With more and more emphasis being placed on sustainability, housing looks to remain an environmental issue over the next few years. For those looking at property for sale in Tunbridge Wells at Zoopla, as well as other eco-conscious towns, the choice looks set to increase from here on out.
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