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Featured in the July 2012 issue

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It’s official: green homes are now more popular with potential Lincolnshire house buyers, according to a new report commissioned to launch the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) Master Builder of the Year Awards.

As the FMB begins its search for the UK’s greenest builder, a new report reveals that over 1 in 3 (39%) in Lincolnshire think that green technology adds value to a home, with 1 in 5 potential buyers saying a house with eco-features is more up to date. The vast majority – over three quarters of potential buyers in Lincolnshire – are attracted to a home with eco-features as a way of saving money on energy bills.

Last year’s Master Builder of the Year Awards eco-winner spent £400,000 building his eco-home, which immediately doubled in value and has reduced his energy bills significantly to almost nothing. The Awards, which showcases the latest in building trends, has seen a year-on-year increase in the number of green homes nominated, reflecting homeowner demand for eco-solutions as part of their building work.

Green home improvement work is set to increase further from January 2013 as the government last week gave the green light for the industry to progress with the Green Deal programme, which will help bill payers make energy-saving improvements to keep their homes warm.

Latest government figures show that more than half of homes do not have enough insulation or an efficient condensing boiler and most do not have proper heating controls.

Bob Harris of Earthdome, twice winner in the energy efficiency category of the Master Builder of the Year Awards said:

“We have an increasing number of clients keen to incorporate ecological building techniques and energy-saving technologies within their homes. With the introduction of Feed-in Tariffs and the renewable heat initiative, homeowners can earn money on electricity from solar panels.”

John Watson, Midlands regional director of the FMB explained: “Every year the FMB celebrates the best of British building through the Master Builder of The Year Awards. Over recent years there has undeniably been a surge in high quality eco-building entries to the Awards, as increasing numbers of homeowners see green technology as a sound investment when improving their homes.”

If you have used a great builder, nominate them for the Master Builder of The Year Awards at www.fmb.org.uk/MBOYAwards

Below are the FMB’s top five tips on making your home more energy efficient:

1 Mind the gaps
Did you know that up to 25% of heat in many homes is lost through inadequate draft proofing? Check that windows and doors close properly and if there are gaps, either use a draft excluder or fit draft proofing strips around the sides of the doors and windows.

2 Time for a new Boiler
Heating and hot water account for about 60% of the average fuel bill. If your boiler is more than 15 years old, it should be replaced. By installing a high efficiency condensing boiler, you will save around a third on your bills.

3 Insulate before you generate
Good insulation is crucial to ensuring that you are not losing heating that you have already paid for. Current Building Regulations recommend that the minimum level of loft insulation should be 200mm (8”). It is also worth insulating your walls as you could also be losing a further 35% of your heat through them. A further 15% of heating can be lost through the floor. Having floor insulation installed will dramatically reduce this.

4 Ensure water pipes are properly lagged
To ensure your water pipes are working to maximum capacity make sure they are lagged correctly. Remember to check the loft for exposed pipes.

5 Generate your own energy
Generating your own energy can be a significant expense but if you choose the right technology it could save you a substantial amount on your energy costs. There are also grants available to some homeowners to help cover the cost of installing the technology. A specialist builder will be able to advise you on what’s best for your home.

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