February 2018 saw a record-breaking 660,000 customers switch to a different electricity supplier, which translates as nearly 24,000 people switching per day, according to Energy UK. It's hardly surprising that so many sought to reduce their electricity bills last month, considering the harsh weather conditions that affected households across the country.

Data further show that this record-high number of switches marks a huge 60% increase compared with February last year, and that over a million customers have already switched this year. That's compared with 5.5 million people who switched during the entirety of 2017, a record that is likely to be shattered this year if the numbers stay this high.

If you're thinking of switching energy supplier, you'll be relieved to hear that 9 in 10 customers are happy with the switching process. That's according to the Energy Switch Guarantee, which covers over 90% of the market and is meant to help ensure switching is simple, speedy and safe.

More savings?

The figures go to prove the UK public are taking saving money as a real issue in 2018 which is just as the energy watch survey said would happen. Energy companies are reporting far more activity with consumers claiming various grants and incentives to make homes more energy efficient.

A consultant from a major energy supplier said, “we are far busier this year than ever before taking enquiries from customers, loft insulation seems to be the biggest issue at present”.

There are many grants available to help homeowners reduce their energy bills and in turn their carbon footprint. Saving money and improving your homes value makes a great deal of financial sense.

Help?

If you would like assistance making your home more energy efficient, please do make contact and one of our consultants will be happy to assist.

Global demand means that the cost of solar panels has fallen over the last few years and is likely to keep dropping for the foreseeable future.

The technology itself will also evolve over time. The efficiency of solar cells is improving, and ideas that are currently in the lab may be on roofs within the next few years.

For those who aren’t so keen on the aesthetics of solar panels, solar tiles could be an option. At the moment this is a significantly more expensive and less efficient way of doing things, but with various technical companies jumping into the market, big improvements are expected.

There may even be a future role for entirely transparent solar windows. For now, solar panels can still make sense for many homes. It’s all a matter of having a clear idea of what your motivation for investing is and once established, finding practical ways to get the best out of an installation.

Future renovations?

Installing solar when you’re already taking on other work can also improve the return on investment. If you’re undertaking a loft conversion or changing your roof, scaffolding will already be up – an expensive part of installation that you’re likely to be able to deduct from the fee charged by solar installers.

Skylights can also be placed in a way to ensure the most panels can be fitted. More panels, more electricity, more benefit.

Beyond the financial implications of adding solar to an existing job, there are clear convenience benefits. Disruption is minimised, and it may well be easier to run electrical wiring and connect to the grid while other work is going on.

Help?

Should you wish to discuss making your home more energy efficient please do make contact and one of our consultants will be happy to assist.

Looking to sell your house?

House prices in the UK continue to rise year on year but now at a much slower pace, what is certain eco-friendly homes fetch a far higher price than homes that are not.

Research has revealed that the clear majority of property buyers are willing to pay more for an eco-friendly home. The findings challenge the long-held belief that consumer demand for greener living is limited.

According to recent research 70% of prospective purchasers want to buy the most environmentally friendly house they can. Energy saving is now very high priority for most prospective buyers as saving money on heating is seen as a vital issue.

If you own a property some very easy and affordable measures could be taken to increase your homes energy efficiency and in turn increase its value considerably.

Homeowners should start taking energy saving as a very important part of the future if they want to achieve a good sale price for their homes. It is so simple to insulate and increase energy efficiency within the home and in some cases can be installed free if receiving certain benefits.

How to instantly increase your properties value

- Insulate the loft area

- Service the central heating boiler

- Insulate all exposed pipes

- Draught proof all doors

These are just a few ways you can very easily improve the value of your property and you may qualify for financial help or even free installation in some cases.

Can we help?

It’s very easy to find out if you qualify for a grant or indeed free installation, just select your requirement and click the “see if I qualify” or “apply now”. Acting now could save you thousands in the future and at the same time increase the value of your home.

Barclays will launch the UK mortgage market’s first ever ‘green mortgage’, which will offer preferential rates for those buying an energy-efficient new build property.

The green home mortgage will be available next week on properties with an A or B Energy Performance Certificate rating, while there will be 2 and 5-year fixed rate options to 90% loan-to-value.

This will be an increasingly important part of the mortgage market in years to come. Decarbonising UK housing stock is critical and forms a key part of the UK government’s clean growth strategy. Increasingly homeowners want to say, “we are getting on board with a low carbon future.”

Barclays will initially partner with Barratt Homes, Berkeley Group, Countryside Properties, Crest Nicholson and Redrow Homes, with a view to adding all major housebuilders by the end of the year. The government’s decarbonisation targets have motivated the bank to expand its green activities where commercially viable.

Barclays seem to have taken a leading role in developing the green mortgage, it is likely to encourage other lenders to provide competition with their own green mortgages.

General opinion within the mortgage industry believes green mortgages are going to emerge as a big asset class. The EPC data Barclays utilises for the mortgage is publicly available, meaning other institutions could utilise the same data in such a way.

HSBC is another UK lender throwing its weight behind environmentally friendly schemes. The bank has pledged to provide $100bn in sustainable financing and investment by 2025 for “clean energy and lower-carbon technologies”.

The launch of the green mortgage coincides with energy efficiency regulation hitting the private rental sector this month.

Properties being rented out are now required to have an EPC rating of E or better on new tenancies and renewals.

Barclays have hinted at launching greener financial products over the course of 2018.

Energy saving advice?

If you wish to make your home more environmentally friendly and in turn save a lot of money please do make contact and an adviser will be happy to help.

A reliable source of cheaper heating?

This method of heating uses pipes buried in your garden to heat radiators in the house.

A ground source heat pump circulates a mixture of water and antifreeze around a loop of pipe, called a ground loop, which is buried in your garden. Heat from the ground is absorbed into the fluid and then passes through a heat exchanger into the heat pump. The ground stays at an almost constant temperature under the surface, so the heat pump can be used throughout the year.

The length of the ground loop depends on the size of your home and the amount of heat you need. Longer loops can draw more heat from the ground, but need more space to be buried in. If space is limited, a vertical borehole can be drilled instead.

Benefits to you

- Could lower your fuel bills, especially if you replace conventional electric heating

- Could provide you with income through the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

- Could lower home carbon emissions, depending on which fuel you are replacing

- No fuel deliveries needed

- Can heat your home as well as your water

Minimal maintenance required

Unlike gas and oil boilers, heat pumps deliver heat at lower temperatures over much longer periods. During the winter they may need to be on constantly to heat your home efficiently. You will also notice that radiators won't feel as hot to the touch as they might do when you are using a gas or oil boiler.

Can we help?

Like to know more or how to make your home more energy efficient? Please do use this site to check if you are entitled to any financial assistance, or alternatively make contact and one of our advisers will be pleased to help.