This week’s article is a guest article from Gary O’Neill BSc(Hons) MRICS, Chartered Building Surveyor, Senior University Lecturer and RICS APC Assessor
There is no shortage of media coverage in respect of the impact of global warming, climate change, energy conservation, sustainability, greenhouse gas emissions an so on…….. An individual’s understanding and concern about these issues will vary significantly from those who have a genuine concern about protecting our planet for future generations to those who’s work may be directly related to these issues, right through to those who know very little and even those who make a conscious choice to ignore them! The problem is however that even if you are one of those who fall into the latter categories, it does not change the fact that you are effected in exactly the same way as everyone else. This is no more starkly demonstrated than in the increased cost of energy over recent years, which have soared to record levels.
‘Rather unsurprisingly, all four demonstrate price hikes over the period, though some are more dramatic than others. Electricity and gas – the two most-used household energies – have nearly doubled over the last seven years of the index, owing to their ties with oil prices, as well as a number of other factors. The industrialisation of foreign nations, plus growing international prices for the commodity, has forced coal costs higher for UK citizen’
For the remainder of this article I will continue to demonstrate the financial effect of creating and using energy from fossil fuels, which is happening and impacting on us all right now! The Fuel Property Advisory Group’s 2011-12 annual report, in its executive summary states (link): ‘The average domestic dual fuel bill is now at a record high of £1,365 per annum creating severe additional hardship for some six million UK fuel poor households. The problem is even more acute for many living off the gas grid using Oil or LPG, where average fuel bills are circa £2,100 per annum. The reference to ‘fuel poor’ is more widely described as fuel poverty, which is defined by Poverty.org.uk (Link) as: ‘Households are considered by the Government to be in ‘fuel poverty’ if they would have to spend more than 10% of their household income on fuel to keep their home in a ‘satisfactory’ condition. It is thus a measure which compares income with what the fuel costs ‘should be’ rather than what they actually are. Whether a household is in fuel poverty or not is determined by the interaction of a number of factors, but the three obvious ones are: The cost of energy, The energy efficiency of the property (and therefore, the energy required to heat and power the home) and Household income’