New is greener – and cheaper!
New homes are not only better for the environment, but they are also much cheaper to run than second-hand homes and can save you hundreds of pounds each year.
On average, new homes are six times more energy efficient than existing homes.
This is because Government regulations require new homes to be built to increasingly demanding environmental standards.
To comply with these standards, new homes are built to a high specification and are packed with features aimed at ensuring they minimise energy use.
Features such as highly efficient heating systems with thermostatic heating control; state of the art double or triple glazed doors and windows that are less draughty; ultra-effective wall and roof insulation; ground insulation to help keep floors warm and water-efficient kitchen and bathroom fittings all ensure you minimise what you spend on the services you rely on.
It also means new homes generate over 60% less harmful C02 emissions – the equivalent of driving 10,000 miles less a year.
On average for example, a new build semi detached home, based on Energy Performance Certificate ratings, would cost just £507 to run per year. This compares to £969 for a home of the same size built in the 1940’s – saving the owner £462 a year on energy bills alone. A semi detached home built pre 1900 would cost £1559 to run!
And with utility prices on the up, these savings are becoming ever more relevant to hard pressed home owners.
Why are new homes greener?
New homes are required to be built to increasingly strict energy efficient standards. These Government-set targets state that by 2016 all new build homes will have to be what is referred to as ‘Zero Carbon’.
This means that each home built, will, over the course of a year, not generate any net carbon emissions at all from their heating, lighting and hot water systems.
Developers achieve this challenging objective in a number of ways;
- Building the homes so that they are as energy-efficient as possible. This includes such features as: wall, floor and loft insulation; double or triple glazing; low energy lighting systems; highly efficient boilers; efficient (AA or AAA) white goods
- Utilising renewable energy systems; Solar panels for hot water; Photovoltaics that produce electricity, which if unneeded can be fed back into the national grid; Ground source heat pumps ; air source heat pumps
- Off site technology. This is where power is generated off site by an environmentally friendly method, to offset any emissions generated by a new home. Such technology can include wind turbines or CHP (Combined Heat and Power) plants.
To enable a gradual progression to ‘zero carbon housing’ in 2016, there is a number of milestones that new homes have to meet along the way.
By 2010, all homes built had to have reduced their CO2 emissions by 25% compared to a home built to the standards required in 2006 – that themselves were already much more energy-efficient than homes built previously.
By 2013, the proposed requirement is for a 44% reduction on 2006 levels of carbon emissions.
All new homes are built to use less water than older homes. So with every home in the country to be fitted with a water meter in the coming years, using less water will mean cheaper water bills.
In 2004/5, across all homes in England and Wales, the average water usage per person was 150 litres a day. New homes are built to use just 125 litres per person per day. Obviously water usage depend on the occupier, but features such as dual flush water efficient toilets, taps fitted with aerators or flow restrictors, leak detectors and rainwater butts all help home owners save water – and money.