Does it pay to go green?

Some energy-saving devices can end up costing the earth. A new guide helps you avoid the pitfalls
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The Lakes, near Lechlade, Gloucestershire
£775,000: The Lakes is an eco-build home near Lechlade, Gloucestershire. Call 01367 250066
Does going green mean going broke? Home-owners rocked by high fuel bills are always being urged to make energy-saving alterations but all improvements cost money, and some of the newly promoted, so-called energy-saving devices do not do the job.

To help you understand what will genuinely save you money, and the planet, look at the just-published information in the Greener Homes Price Guide, now available from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Replacing a wall-mounted boiler could cost £1,720 and make a saving of £95 a year, and it would take up to 18 years to offset the investment.

By contrast, installing solar panels costs between £4,000 and £5,000, yet could save as little as £24 a year, meaning it would take about 208 years to pay back the cost of installation.

Installing cavity wall insulation would cost between £440 for a terrace house and £2,400 for a detached home, but with an energy bill saving of up to £145 a year, this cost could be paid back over as few as three years.

Jos Martin, from the RICS building cost information service, says: “Our guide aims to help consumers and protect them from being duped into changes that won’t save them money or do little to reduce their carbon footprint.”

Homes & Property readers can get 10 per cent off the £17.99 price of The Greener Homes Price Guide when ordering online from, quoting code 188750-92705. The offer includes free p&p.

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