Energy efficient homes could cut annual bills in half

Friday, May 11, 2012

Living in today’s new homes could create annual savings of around 55% on gas and electricity spending – that’s over £1,300 in today’s market1, according to the NHBC Foundation and Zero Carbon Hub.

Following its UK-wide research project into consumer attitudes towards zero carbon homes2, NHBC Foundation has worked with the Zero Carbon Hub to chart the energy savings that could potentially be achieved by living in different types of energy efficient new homes.

Comparing the indicative energy consumption of today’s ‘upgraded’ Victorian homes3 against new homes built to 2010 requirements; it concludes the following annual savings could be made:

·         A 4-bed detached new home could be 55% cheaper to run (saving £1,312)

·         A 3-bed end terrace could be 52% cheaper to run (saving £840)

·         A 3-bed mid terrace could be 46% cheaper to run (saving £642)

·         A 1-bed ground floor flat could be 47% cheaper to run (saving £426)

And, looking to the future, annual savings could be around £1,875 (79%) in 2016, when further Government zero carbon home construction targets come into effect.

Neil Jefferson, Director at NHBC Foundation and Chief Executive of the Zero Carbon Hub, said: “Household energy usage is still one of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions in the UK but the design of new homes means they are much more energy efficient than older housing stock.

“The NHBC Foundation’s report looked at what people think about energy efficient homes, and what the influencing factors are in terms of deciding to live in one. One of the clear findings was that consumers need far more information about the cost savings they could make by living in an energy efficient home, before they will commit to living in one.

“The cost data we have produced, while not guaranteed, gives an indication of the kind of monetary savings that could be made in the long term. We believe this kind of data could be useful for people making the decision to buy a new home.”

Encouragingly for the country’s sustainability agenda, findings from NHBC Foundation’s report also reveal that 70% of people think a home described as ‘energy efficient’ would be an attractive purchase4. This increased to 86% of 16-24 year olds. Some 69% of consumers – and 96% of younger people – also agreed that they would be willing to pay a premium for energy efficient homes.

Younger people also showed the greatest enthusiasm for renewable technologies in the home, with 60% of 16-24year olds saying they would be interested or very interested in buying or renting a home with renewable technologies such as photovoltaic (solar electric panels).

Neil Jefferson said: “Our report into attitudes towards zero carbon homes revealed some really positive sentiment towards energy efficient living – people seem keen to do their bit towards helping the environment. However, there is still widespread confusion amongst consumers about the terminology used, the operation and maintenance of renewable technologies, and costs associated with living in a home that is highly energy efficient. For low and zero carbon housing to become more widely accepted, the whole topic needs to be made less complex and far more consumer-friendly.”

ENDS

1 Models based on Zero Carbon Hub house types, modelled in NHER Plan Assessor 5.3/5.4 (SAP2009) and with projected energy costs taken from DECC published figures.

2 Today’s attitudes to low and zero carbon homes – views of occupiers, house builders and housing associations, available to download at www.nhbcfoundation.org.

3 An ‘upgraded’ Victorian home means one which has the following improvements over original build specification: 200mm loft insulation, double glazing to half of all windows, a 72% efficient (non-condensing) gas boiler and insulated hot water cylinder.

4 Research conducted by Lychgate Projects among 927 home occupiers, July-September 2011.

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For media enquiries please contact Zero Carbon Hub on 0845 888 7620 or NHBC Foundation on 01908 746 739.

Notes to editors:

The NHBC Foundation (www.nhbcfoundation.org) was established by NHBC in partnership with the BRE Trust to facilitate research and development, technology and knowledge sharing, and the capture of industry best practice in the pursuit of improved building standards for the new-build housing sector.