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Value of Energy Efficient Homes Continues to Rise
It is almost impossible to plan or organise anything nowadays without mentioning its environmental impact, our properties are no different. When it comes to how, and what, can be done about it though, many of us are still in the dark.
The effects that scientists had predicted in the past that would result from global climate change are now occurring at an alarming rate: loss of sea ice, accelerated sea level rise and longer, more intense heat waves. These processes are occurring so rapidly that most scientists now agree that the fight to save the environment from collapse is the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced.
With many countries acting quickly to implement certain eco-friendly practices into their rules and regulations, surely it is only a matter of time before some, if not all, of these environmentally friendly practices, even in our own homes, become law. To just completely ignore the issue then is surely now taking a big risk.
The good news is that, when it comes to implementing these practices, we are already on the front foot with countless innovative and exciting ideas already out there. What is even more positive is that most of these ideas have the added of advantage of saving us money on energy bills.
If engineering and progressive thinking are at the forefront of this climate battle, then it will be of little surprise to learn that Germany lead the way, being constantly ranked as the most energy efficient country in the world in recent studies. The expansion of renewable energy sources around the home was one of the driving forces behind this shift, Italy, France and Japan are also consistently high in these ratings.
Famous for being Green in another way, Ireland has made huge strides in recent years when it comes to being energy efficient. A lot of this has been accredited a big push on the concept of the Building Energy Rating (BER) system over a decade ago. Ireland has been pushing this concept hard since 2007, each new dwelling built in Ireland from January 1, 2007 required a BER and from January 1, 2009, it became illegal to offer a dwelling for sale without BER.
Whilst the cynics remain plentiful, especially when it comes to effectiveness and costs, there are many who foresaw this big push on energy efficiency decades ago and are now reaping the benefits.
One such person, is Micheal O’Dowd, who studied energy efficiency for ten years, with the end result being his stunning Zero Carbon home in Athlone, Ireland. Built in 2010, his property is now running at zero carbon emissions and even featured in publications such as passive house Ireland thanks to its amazing environmental features. Particular acclaim was given to the astronomical level of insulation and design element that completed the airtight dwelling, notwithstanding the eco benefit of a private wind turbine and solar panels.
Seeing the end results over a decade on, has left Michael with no doubts about the fact that this is something we should all look into, “It's all about payback” says Michael “you look at the thousands of pounds people will invest in something like underfloor heating, with extra running costs on top, maintenance and no payback. If we were to invest the same in insulation for example, you would be seeing the payback from day 1.”
In traditionally mild climates such as Ireland’s, insulation is the key factor according to Michael, “The secret is to have no thermal breaks, which is continuations of insulation all around house with careful thought put in every junction or angle. My house is like a big radiator, thermal mass with low carbon concrete and insulation on outside. Sun comes in and it stores in the wall, so you don't have temperature swings during day”.
It did not take long for Michael to realise that he’d made a smart investment, as that winter of 2010 turned out to be one of the coldest on record, however inside Michael’s ‘big radiator’, you would barley have known, “we had no sun for 6 weeks in that cold snap, it was 0 to 2 degrees during the day, however the house dropped just 2 degrees in 6 weeks with nobody even living in it yet.” Even now, the house is running so efficiently that it has never required any sort of mechanical heating, just a log fire that can be lit as desired.
For more detailed information and images on Michael’ stunning property head to https://www.euroresales.com/Stunning-Zero-Carbon-House-Athlone-Ireland
Whilst Solar Power can be utilised much better than most people realise in milder climates, thanks to various techniques such as angling the panels to constantly face the sun, it is of course in warmer climates that solar power is really coming into its own.
When you consider the soaring temperatures in some of the poorest regions on earth such as parts of Africa and South America, it seems almost criminal that more hasn’t been done in this regions to ‘harvest’ that constant sunshine.
For several years, worldwide growth of solar PV was, bizarrely driven by European deployment, but has since shifted to Asia, especially China and Japan, and to a growing number of countries and regions all over the world. Worldwide growth of photovoltaics has averaged 40% per year over the last two decades. As evidence on the benefits of solar power begins to stack up, it seems almost inevitable now that these poorer areas may well yet have a key role to play. There are now even attempts to build entire cities completely reliant on solar and other renewable energy sources, Masdar City in The United Arab Emirates is one of these projects. The magical power of the sun also has limitless knock-on effects, with many other areas such as the power of algae fuels and other bio-diverse energy sources, which can be grown much quicker in direct sunlight now being invested in.
To buy or sell overseas property in solar hotspots such as Spain, The Caribbean, Dubai, South Africa and South America head to:
With almost every type of new building design now taking energy ratings into consideration, there is the chance that people who completely ignore the issue, risk both devaluing their home and, potentially wasting more money than they need to on non-renewable energy bills.
The flip side of this is that, as times goes on, it seems almost certain that, by investing in energy efficiency, you are always going to add value to your home, as future generations place much more value on environmental awareness and BER. In most cases you will instantly see your energy bills reduce, leading to potentially massive savings over time.
It seems that we have now reached a point in time where it would be totally illogical not to, at least, research the issue of energy efficiency in your home. This is not a case of becoming a tree-hugging, tiny-car-driving sociopath, this is simply about making smart decisions and investing in yourself, your home, and your future. If a knock-on effect of this progressive thinking is less damage to the environment then that is a bonus, and a pretty huge one at that. So, even if you are someone who thinks climate change is some massive conspiracy set out to destroy the traditional powerhouses of industry, surely even you must be tempted by the thought of saving money. If not, then you may well need to start saving now for that ‘sunny day’.
If you need to buy or sell overseas property contact us today
By Jonny Noble
Check out the links below for even more examples of superb properties built for the environmentally aware future: