Property Market Is Going Green
by Stephen Faughnan, Chairman IPOA
Irish Independent Property Supplement 16.6.06
Fossil fuels are running out, and new rules are coming in. If you want to save money rather than lose it, it’s time to green up your assets
A recent article in The New Scientist cited the work of microbiologist Lynne Mackaskie who has developed a way of generating electrical power from chocolate waste.
We may not yet be at the stage where we are looking to Cadburys to heat our homes, but we are living in a time when a massive amount of research and development has led to a wide range of possibilities in methods of creating energy.
It is time for property owners nationwide to take heed of rapidly rising energy costs which by next winter will have risen significantly and in turn affect the running costs of homes and conditions of comfort.
This will be the focus of a one-day conference from the Irish Property Owners Association (IPOA), the national body representing property owners with rental properties in Ireland.
“The Green House Sessions”, will take place on 17th October in Dublin, focusing on areas of specific interest to property owners/investors.
There are a number of issues that play an important part in determining the effects of the energy crisis on Irish landlords. Firstly there is, and will continue to be, a scarcity of supply of conventional fuels such as oil and gas.
This shortage will ensure that the cost of fuels will continue to rise to a point where both landlords and tenants will get caught in a fuel poverty net.
Secondly, the introduction of the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (in January 2007 for new homes and 2009 for older homes) will see the labelling of homes.
Those selling or renting properties will see the value of the property determined by the energy label applied to that property. Tenants will transparently be able to evaluate the running costs of a property and those performing better will rent quicker and for more money.
Landlords may find that their older and less energy efficient properties are left behind and yielding poorly as a result of the energy label applied.
Thirdly, traditional Irish homes are very poorly insulated. Even new builds are not insulated well enough to deal efficiently with energy conservation.
However the vast majority of problems will occur with older homes thereby affecting the vast majority of Irish landlords.
So what steps can be taken to combat this impending crisis?
There is no doubt that landlords will be required to make changes to their older properties and closely evaluate any new investments under consideration. The main areas of focus should be:
1. Insulation of roofs, walls, floors and glazing. Higher standards of insulation will ensure conservation of heat and subsequent monetary savings on fuel bills.
2. Reducing draughts and providing controlled ventilation.
3. Improving efficiency of heating systems.
4. Replacing diminishing oil and gas with renewable energy fuels including solar, thermal solar, wood pellet boilers and stoves and heat pumps.
By implementing the above suggested changes you can reduce the typical energy costs of your property by a quarter.
This in turn will mean that CO2 emissions are reduced proportionately which will be important from 2008 when the Kyoto Treaty period kicks in and carbon credits will become a further cost.
Anyone who owns a number of older properties may be daunted by the necessity to significantly change their properties in order to be compliant. However the greener homes grants available to help implement these changes will take the sting out of the tail and the monetary rewards will be evident down the line.
After all, there is no escaping the energy audits and resulting labelling. It will be imperative for anyone with residential property interests to bring their property up to scratch so that audits will
provide positive results leading to more favourable financial yields.
‘The Green House Sessions’ will take place on 17th October 2006 in Croke Park. It has been designed and will be chaired by Duncan Stewart and will cover all of the issues above and more.
Stephen Faughnan is chairman of the Irish Property Owners Association.
For information on this event and on the IPOA in general contact