Considerable utility bill savings possible by buying a new build home

Posted 29 October 2015 by Keith Osborne

Buying a brand new homes - as opposed to a modernised period property - can save you thousands of pounds due to energy efficiency improvements...

The energy-efficient benefits of buying a new build home are coming under focus as Big Energy Saving Week continues apace.

With autumn well-and-truly with us and winter approaching, thousands of householders up and down the country are reviewing their energy use and checking out the best deals from suppliers.

Whether you’re actively looking for a home at the moment, or just open to ideas about the best way to reduce your monthly outgoings and environmental footprint, the data about new homes’ energy efficiency certainly suggests that it’s the best foot forward to bring down your annual energy costs.

Figures from Zero Carbon Hub, a non-profit organisation set up to oversee government policy to introduce carbon-neutral homes by 2016, show that homeowners can save a small fortune living in a new build home, compared to a period property or even a home built at the start of the century, thanks to new building regulations.

National housebuilder Redrow Homes used the Zero Carbon Hub figures to calculate that a buyer of a four-bedroom ‘Richmond’ house type at one of its new homes developments can save £1,332 a year on energy bills in comparison with what they might typically pay on a Victorian four-bedroom semi with modern improvements.

New homes are constructed with far higher standards of air tightness than in previous generations, using good insulation, modern energy efficient boilers and highly efficient double glazing.

Hannah Pollard, sales director for Redrow Homes (South West), says: “Our homes have been built with increased airtightness to significantly reduce the amount of heat lost. In fact, Redrow homes built in 2015 are 54% better at reducing heat loss than a typical 1970s home.

“What’s more, 79% of our homes built this year are fitted with smart meters, up on last year’s figure of 67%. So our customers can keep an eye on how much energy they’re using, putting them much more in control of their energy use and therefore allowing the new homebuyer to potentially save more money.”

Energy saving infographicBloor Homes estimates the average cost of updating a home at £30,000, just to cover new windows, a new kitchen, new carpets, bathroom and re-decorating. There would be further costs involved in providing a modern, energy-efficient boiler and modern standards of insulation to walls and the roof.

The company also estimates that a new home consumes 40% less energy than an old one,  which can save, on average, up to £556 a year on energy bills. It says the latest heating systems, combined with double glazed windows and doors, generate over 60% fewer CO₂ emissions than older homes – a major environmental contribution.

A-rated condensing boilers – the highest-efficiency rated boilers available – are standard now, says Barratt Homes. Aside from testing its homes for air-tightness, eliminating draughts, the company also boasts that most of its external cavity walls are built using the latest insulation, which incorporates heat-reflecting low-emissive technology to make sure the inside of the house stays warm. Where a minimum 270mm of roof insulation is seen as a minimum, Barratt uses up to 400mm.

The double glazing used on one of its new homes is twice as efficient as double glazing from the 1990s and the fixtures and fittings in its bathrooms and kitchens utilise30 litres of water less per day per person.

Its testing of one of its own four-bedroom homes against a comparable Victorian home are almost identical to Redrow’s (£1,312 in savings over a year), with impressive annual figures for smaller properties such as a three-bedroom semi-detached house (£840 less), three-bedroom mid-terrace (£642) and a ground-floor, one-bedroom flat (£426).

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