Highgate Society release green guide for homebuyers to reduce fuel bills and protect environment

It’s the choice every new homeowner has to make – off-white, limewash, sand white or stone white for the walls?

But if a prominent society gets its way, buyers in Highgate will no longer just think about paint colours before they move in – they will also look at energy-saving ways to refurbish their new home.

With the launch of information packs about sustainable home improvements for those exchanging contracts or about to complete on a house, the Highgate Society hopes draught-proofing windows and better insulation for the roof will become as common as giving the walls a lick of paint.

Catherine Budgett-Meakin, chairman of the Highgate Society’s sustainable homes group, which produced the packs, said: “It is a long-term hope. We are particularly targeting people who are between exchanging contracts and completion, who are thinking about what they want to do.

“Rather than six months down the line in the middle of spending large sums of money, we would encourage people to give this stuff some thought now.”

The 21st Century Homes packs advise buyers to install energy-saving features before the carpets go down and the cupboards are fitted to reduce fuel bills and create a comfortable, draught-free home.

The society has given out about 50 of the packs to estate agents in Highgate Village to pass onto buyers.

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Angela Cruse, Highgate branch manager of estate agents Anscombe and Ringland, said: “To have a fully comprehensive and local resource is exciting... our new buyers will be met with such enthusiasm to assist any home improvements or building projects.”

The packs contain case studies of homeowners who have made energy-saving changes to their homes, advice on solar panels and information about financial benefits and incentives.

“Undoubtedly you will see the difference in your bills,” said Ms Budgett-Meakin, 67, of Bisham Gardens, Highgate.

“It doesn’t need to be mega bucks. Putting solar panels on the roof is at the higher end but even they are worth it because prices have come down.

“Comfort is the biggest thing. A number of elderly people have said their windows are so draughty and they don’t know how to make them better, they don’t want to spend a lot of money.

“But you can do draught-proofing, which doesn’t cost anything and instantly makes it more comfortable.”

The society also highlights the importance of working within the guidelines of Highgate’s conservation areas to ensure period buildings retain their historic character.

A group in Muswell Hill has already started to adapt the packs for the area.