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15 Dec, 2023/ by Surveyor Local /News

With COP28 having convened in Dubai, and with the stark messages surrounding climate change impact on various parts of the world - the increase in hugely adverse weather events, the intensified heat of the atmosphere melting the polar ice-caps, wildfires burning in several countries across the planet, and various other evidential problems reported - it's understandable that many people are looking to see what they can do to reduce their carbon footprint and emissions in what they do and purchase.

Some of this is straightforward, such as reducing the heat thermostat in a house or at work, walking or cycling instead of driving a petrol or diesel car, choosing purchases that are manufactured or grown closer to home and so on. But other aspects of life are more difficult to control.

For example, buying a new home.

Unless it's a new-build that you're buying with all the latest building regulations being met in connection with working towards a zero emission carbon footprint, you will be looking at purchasing a property that was built in a time when such requirements either were less important, or the link with global warming and the climate crisis were not known.

Key considerations for environmental improvement

One of the most obvious areas affecting climate change is burning of fossil fuels, such as natural gas and central heating oil. The global crisis means that availability of fuel is more limited and has, as a consequence of the squeezed supply, pushed prices up, and therefore reduced its consumption in some quarters.

However, cleaner fuel is required. This is one of the reasons why the UK Government have a Boiler Upgrade Scheme running to help households replace their gas boiler with a variety of heat-pumps and biomass boilers. This will help those who are not on the gas grid and are heating their homes using central heating oil.

It now goes without saying that the most effective way to heat the house and contain the created heat within it is to ensure there is adequate insulation within the walls and in the roof to prevent unnecessary heat loss. 

It should also be pointed out that adequate windows and doors (particularly the external access doors) should be of a high specification to minimise further heat loss.

Finally, notwithstanding reports that electric cars are not environmentally perfect in their construction, it is generally felt that electric vehicles, with zero emissions in their day-to-day operation, are much better for the parochial environment and nature than their petrol and diesel cousins. As the country moves inexorably in the direction of electric vehicles, it is essential that the suitable infrastructure is in place to support their use (in much the same way as the network of petrol stations are in place now).

Buying a house with an eye on the environment

When you buy a new home, you are strongly advised to appoint a Chartered Surveyor to carry out a survey on the property you want to purchase.

What the surveyor will do as part of their investigation and analysis is to check the fuel-types used for the home, with an assessment of its state and whether a professional needs to look into it in more detail (note that a surveyor will not be qualified to dismantle any of the pipes or machinery associated with the heating system - rather they will only be able to look at the visual evidence and any documentation that might be available to support it to make an assessment and draw up their recommendations).

The surveyor will also check the insulation, taking measures of dampness and the quality of the filler material and lagging, making recommendations where there are suspected issues.

The same will apply to the doors and windows and their effectiveness in preventing heat loss from the property.

And they will be able to confirm what provisions have been made for the property to have access to electric car charging points - particularly if the property is a terraced house without the land to charge the vehicle privately.

If you have any specific qualms or issues about the effectiveness of the property's structure at maintaining or improving its climate credentials, you should talk through the possibilities with your surveyor before their appointed date for the survey.

There is so much that you'll need to consider when buying a home - and this is why moving home is recognised as one of the most stressful times of a person's life. What you want is an assurance that the survey you have ordered is of high quality and detailed with your individual requirements and questions as well as the broader aspect that comes with any survey, including the environmental impact.

And that's where it is really worth contacting Surveyor Local

Not only will the surveyor work hard to find all the problems affecting the property, they will also be keen to adopt new and proven technology in order to give the best survey possible.

Surveyor Local will provide a quote that will not change - what you are quoted is what you pay. 

You'll get one of over 100 fully-qualified RICS surveyors, who is local to the property you are buying so they will know the area and bring that knowledge to their assessment and their analysis of the issues with the new home.

Next-day bookings are usually available, and your appointed surveyor will look after arranging access to the property with the estate agent and the seller. Once the survey is complete, they will send you a PDF copy of the report by email.

Call  to get your survey quote started, or to discuss your concerns with the acquisition of your planned property.

Or you can get a quick quote, using Surveyor Local's easy-to-use quote generator. Simply input your name, postcode, email address, phone number and an approximate value of the property (usually the agreed price), and we'll give you an instant quote for the work (with an email copy). 

We'll do the rest once you confirm your acceptance of the quote.

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