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News & opinion

1 NOV 2021

Decarbonising the residential sector

As part of RICS’ commitment to sustainability, we are showcasing where firms are innovating to address the issues of climate change. The contents of this article to do not constitute an endorsement of their service, but are intended to be used as ideas for how surveyors can tackle issues such as climate change with the work they do. For other case studies please visit rics.org/sustainability.

There is a great challenge facing the residential sector, with homes accounting for 22% of UK carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, improving energy efficiency and decarbonising homes is essential to addressing the impact of climate change. We are highlighting the innovative ways in which our members are embedding sustainable practices into the lifecycle of projects. One example is Countrywide’s initiative, EnergyFact.

EnergyFact supports property owners to live in a more eco-friendly and sustainable way, by offering advice, guidance and data about the benefits of decarbonising their spaces.

As John McCurry, Product Director at Countrywide shares “it’s good to tell our customers about sustainable lifestyle changes. Even if they don’t have the money for renewable technologies, they can contribute in simple and cost-free ways to do their part for the climate emergency.”

We have highlighted other examples of sustainable working by our members, including GLM’s pre-demolition audits and the role of green dilapitations in commercial property.

Combatting climate change

Countrywide has developed a unique online tool, EnergyFact, which offers informative advice and energy surveying support. It alerts consumers to the possible impact that climate change could have on their home by providing facts, figures, lifestyle options and home improvements rated by the cost and ease with which they can be achieved.

Designed with home buyers as its target audience, the tool allows property owners to be responsible for their contributions to reversing the impact of climate change. There is a 'self service' tool which allows homeowners autonomy. Reports include recommendations, costs and savings of potential home upgrades as well as other low cost ways to improve the energy efficiency of a home. This supports property owners to make informed decisions.

EnergyFact provides information on:

  • current property characteristics
  • recommended behavioural change measures
  • information on carbon emissions (before and after improvements)
  • environmental risk factors including current and forecasted flood risk
  • a calculation of how much consumers could save on energy bills

What next?

Assessor and Surveyor supported versions of EnergyFact are currently in development. RICS professionals will be able to help property owners make informed decisions about energy efficiency and the future of their households, contributing to altering the climate collision course the world is currently on.

‘’Surveyors have a critical role to play in driving energy efficient homes and decarbonisation of the UK housing stock" says Ana Bajri, Head of Sustainability at Countrywide.

"As one of the leading Survey & Valuation companies in the UK, we are committed to playing our part in supporting and advising consumers and lender clients in making greener choices; reduce emissions and minimise negative environmental impact.’’

If you would like to know more about EnergyFact for a greener future or sustainable energy efficiency, please visit the EnergyFact website.

See RICS’ guidance on reducing carbon in your home here.