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Go green to be seen

You don't necessarily have to install solar panels to make your home more eco-friendly.

Far from leaving people feeling blue, it seems the housing slump has made many of us turn green. In a bid to make our houses more appealing in an increasingly competitive market, many of us are making our properties more eco-friendly to entice prospective buyers.

Tired of watching house prices fall and waiting for buyers to come knocking, British homeowners have taken matters into their own hands, according to a survey by UK heating and hot water firm Baxi.

The study shows that 36 per cent of British homeowners would be willing to make environment-friendly improvements to their property to ensure a faster sale. This surge in ecological DIY has been largely instigated by introduction of the Home Information Pack (HIP), which includes an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

By providing a HIP, you give potential buyers essential information about your home, including the impact it has on the environment. The EPC gives your home a rating from A-G and includes recommendations on ways to improve its energy efficiency.  But you don’t have to spend a fortune – there are a few simple things householders can do to make their homes more environmentally appealing.

Lee Robinson, Baxi’s customer service director, says simple things are often the most effective. “Changes need not be drastic to be a good selling point,” he says. “Things such as putting an insulation jacket on your hot water cylinder or bleeding radiators can all help to cut carbon dioxide emissions and reduce household bills for future householders. If you’re looking to make some changes to your property without robbing the bank try Baxi’s top five tips for selling your house:

1. Energy efficient bulbs last far longer than normal bulbs and should be the preferred choice in households. While they are more expensive, they do pay for themselves in their outstanding long-lasting performance and will help to give your home a high energy efficiency rating.

2. Insulation is key.  The small measure of a thick coat on your hot water cylinder can result in big reductions in emissions. An 80mm-thick coat costs about £12 and will save £20 a year, but more impressively, 160kg a year can be saved in CO2 emissions.

3. Hot air rises. Lots of heat is lost through house roofs, as well as walls. Half of the heat lost from a typical home is through these two areas. So, as well as insulating your hot water cylinder, insulating your loft will make a huge difference. As much as 15 per cent of your heat could be escaping this way and installing the recommended 270mm will cost about £750 and save you £110 and 1 tonne of CO2 a year.

4. High-energy condensing boilers are at the top of the league when it comes to curbing emissions. Buying a new high-efficiency condensing boiler will save about 1.7 tonnes of CO2 and £200 a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust.

5. Fit thermostatic radiator valves to control temperatures in each room. Save money and CO2 emissions by not heating rooms that are not in use.  Baxi will soon be introducing a domestic micro-CHP (combined heat and power) unit to the UK market. Named Ecogen, it is essentially a wall-hung gas boiler that generates 1kW of electricity for use in the home while providing heating and hot water. The product is set to hit the market in the first quarter of 2009.  For further information visit www.baxi.co.uk.

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