Energy Efficient housing is often seen as an expensive option. However, it is closer to our reach than we imagine, as we see in this example.
There has always been an accepted link between the size of your home and the size of your energy bills. Now, some builders are taking advantage of new energy efficient innovations, and we are starting to see this long-established link broken.
Given the ever-increasing cost of running a home, the monthly outgoings are something that we need to consider carefully before buying.
It provides a secure and safe, low-traffic environment, ideal for families and children. The main difference with this development is that the family business that developed it specified a very high standard of build quality. This included looking at some of the most advanced energy efficient technology available.
The Willows is a substantial four bedroom detached house on the development, which is currently ‘For Sale’. The fact that this house has recently come to market has given us the opportunity to look more closely at what is achievable.
It has an asking price of £700,000, which is not unusual for a house of this size and quality.
Remarkably, however, the monthly energy bills are in the region of only £100 per month.
To put this into perspective, I live in a four-bedroom detached house built in 1933. It has solid brick walls without insulation. It is heated by a boiler and radiators, like the vast majority of housing stock in the UK. It costs me approximately £300 per month to run. Compared to the Willows I am spending £2500 a year extra in heating for the same sized house.
The question is; how is this achieved?
First, The Willows is built utilising highly efficient insulation, much more than the average new house today. This prevents heat escaping from the house and reduces the need to heat the living space.
Conventional boiler and radiator systems are not an efficient heating solution. They deliver uneven heat, suffering, among other things, from warm spots near radiators and colder spots elsewhere.
The Willows has a modern heating system. Firstly, the whole house is heated by under floor heating powered by an Air Source Heat Pump. This is immediately more efficient because the whole of the space in each room heats up in a uniform way and the temperature that the heating system needs to work at to heat the room is far less than with a radiator system.
Combine this with thermostats in most rooms and you can control the temperature in each area individually. This saves energy and reduces bills.
The superb insulation and high quality of the fittings of The Willows means that it is virtually draught free. It has an air re-circulation system which refreshes the air throughout the house regularly, saving heat and re-using it as it does so, which also means that it is also virtually dust free.
When you start to combine the vastly reduced cost of producing the heat with the high specification of the insulation, it becomes clear why the bills remain so low. Add to this mix, solar panels which produce electricity that you do not need to buy off the National Grid, and again your costs keep falling.
Sadly for most of us, the cost of retro-fitting underfloor heating, multiple thermostats, an efficient Heat Pump and extremely efficient insulation is prohibitive.
The good news for some is that houses like The Willows, when they become available, offer not only a very high standard of living, but also, a house that we can keep lovely and warm and comfortable, at very modest cost.
One day all houses will be to this standard. Until then, if you would like any further information on The Willows please call 0115 982 4850 and we will be happy to help you.