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Energy Performance Certificates in Home Information Packs – do the public really care?

Notwithstanding the fact that we are moving much more towards a “greener” society, as yet there is no evidence to suggest that house buyers are particular conscious about the energy performance of a house.

Energy performance certificates have been a compulsory part of Home Information Packs since the Home Information Pack became a reality in 2007, with estate agents having to supply energy performance graphs for  a property on their property particulars. The government says Energy performance certificates will encourage people to insulate their homes and cut carbon emissions. In March 2008, it said one-third of people who had been given a Home Information Pack planned to follow the recommendations in it.

On particular “green” journalist at the Guardian newspaper asked the question : How important is energy efficiency when buying property?  The journalist points out that the Rightmove property portal contains various filters by which you can search for a property.   This currently includes the obvious search tools such as a postcode finder but much more sophisticated filters such as leasehold, freehold, number of bedrooms, balcony, etc. .   Being a self professed “greenie” he wanted to see whether or not it was possible to search for a home on the basis of energy efficiency.   There was no such facility at all.  

Upon phoning Rightmove he asked whether or not this was a facility that they might be interested in promoting.   The response he got was “no”.   He also makes the point that initially they were completely baffled by the very question.  

The truth is that if the public appetite for demanding this information existed then progressive companies such as Rightmove would have incorporated such filters within their search facilities.   Those lobbyists and campaigners in favour of Home Information Packs will no doubt argue that Home Information Packs by virtue of including EPCs have made the public more aware of the energy performance of a property.   The sad fact remains that the public do not appear to have responded.   It has certainly has not changed to the extent that public behaviour is  demanding this information through property portals.

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