A new study has found that retro-fitting older homes with energy saving devices is actually a more efficient way of achieving energy savings in the short term than building a new home. The study for Historic Scotland discovered that the building of a two bedroomed cottage emits 80 tonnes of CO2 when built to level 5 of the Code for Sustainable Homes.
Retrofitting an older home used just 8 tonnes of CO2 to bring it up to the same level. This certainly implies that home builders should focus on home improvement to save energy and costs.
It was found that most carbon emissions come from the building of walls which accounted for 60%. Timber frames used another 14% and pipe work and drainage took up 9% of the total emissions. Homes which have photovoltaic panels installed used the lowest carbon footprint and saved the home-owner money in the long run.
However despite this, the study did concede that the annual carbon cost of a new home is less overall, as the home will pay back the carbon cost over the first twenty years of its life due to its greater energy efficiency.