Buying a green home

  1. Look out for an EcoHomes rating. This is a scoring system set up by the Building Research Establishment (BRE). The environmental impact of a home is assessed before being given a rating of pass, good, very good or excellent. So far it can only be applied to new homes or major refurbishments. But BRE are devising a system for existing properties, due to be completed in 2005.

    The Housing Corporation, which funds most social housing, requires that all its properties pass this test. Councils are aware of EcoHome targets when planning for their areas.

    The Sustainable Homes project gives advice to housing associations. It studied the cost of achieving these EcoHomes ratings and found that, with careful design, it cost: about £30 extra to achieve a pass; £111 to achieve a good; £1680 extra for a very good; and £3040 extra for an excellent.

    The EcoHomes rating system isn't perfect, but it is a useful aid in making probably the biggest purchase of your life.
  2. The Energy Saving Trust has produced a Homebuyers’ Checklist (PDF†) for purchasers to help them assess the energy-efficiency of properties.
  3. If you are going to have a full structural survey (which can cost around £1,000) ask for information about how you can improve your potential new home’s energy efficiency.
  4. If you want to buy or sell a 'green' home, try Green Moves.

This is based on an extract from Save cash & save the planet.