BOTH in the BFP and the national press, much space has been devoted lately to ‘financial pay back times’, when discussing the purchasing of energy efficient equipment and materials.
I believe the phrase, ‘When do I get my money back?’ is a red herring, in the search to achieve sustainable energy production and usage, for the following reasons.
Firstly, who buys a television, lawn mower, or freezer, or has a conservatory, or garage built, or a swimming pool dug out, and then says, ‘When will I get my money back?’ The answer is generally, ‘no one does’, because necessities and luxuries are purchased for efficiency, reducing effort, convenience and to raise people’s quality of life.
Secondly, if one does build a conservatory, or a garage, or excavates a swimming pool, all these improvements increase the value of the property. Products for either, reducing energy use, or for generating one’s own power, come in two price ranges. The lower cost items such as loft insulation (10 to 12 inches), draught-proofing, cavity wall insulation, low energy light bulbs and thermostatic radiator valves are all relatively low cost, but make the house more saleable than a similar one without these improvements.
Higher-cost products, such as electricity generating solar panels, or hot water producing solar panels, ground or air source heat pumps, or condensing boilers, or even wind turbines, add to the value of the house. The house that uses half the energy, compared to the one next door, will sell at a higher price, and the legally required Energy Performance Certificate will emphasise the facts.
So, let’s move away from this ‘money back’ mindset. Whether you want to save some of the money you currently spend on energy, or you want to increase the value of your house, or you want to benefit the planet and the environment for its future inhabitants, all are valid and sound reasons for proceeding with energy saving projects!
John Laker, Spinfield Lane, Marlow.