What’s the latest?
People living in new build homes can save about £600 a year on energy bills.
Eight out of 10 recently constructed homes in England and Wales have the top A or B energy efficiency rating, compared with just 2.2% of existing properties, according to the Home Builders Federation (HBF).
These higher levels of energy efficiency mean the average person living in a new build home spends only £443.30 a year on heating, lighting and hot water – less than half the £1,072 people in older properties typically shell out.
Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the HBF, said: “Today’s new homes are significantly more energy efficient than their predecessors.
“Owners are saving hundreds of pounds a year in energy bills due to the modern design of their homes and the materials used to construct them.”
Above: Available for £299,000 on Zoopla, this new two-bedroom flat for sale in Southampton has views across the River Itchen
Why is this happening?
New build homes use modern construction techniques and materials to make them more energy efficient.
The properties typically use high quality insulation in the roof and walls to prevent heat escaping.
They are also increasingly incorporating energy efficiency into the property’s design, such as installing boilers that only produce hot water when it is needed, or having double glazing filled with argon gas.
Government data shows that new properties typically use only around a third as much energy as older properties.
Who does it affect?
The lower level of bills is likely to appeal to first-time buyers, who may face bigger monthly mortgage repayments relative to their salaries than people who have been homeowners for longer.
New build properties also typically require less maintenance than older homes, which is another plus for those who are on tight budgets, while many new homes are also covered by a 10-year warranty, such as the National House Building Council’s Buildmark.
The energy efficiency of recently constructed homes is also likely to attract buyers who are environmentally conscious and trying to reduce their carbon footprint.
Above: Part of a new development with a communal lounge, wellbeing suite and gym, this one-bedroom retirement apartment in Drayton, Portsmouth, is on the market for £239,950
Sounds interesting. What’s the background?
Fuel costs have increased by around 36% during the past decade, so the savings of living in a new build home are likely to grow.
With housing accounting for around 30% of the UK’s energy use, living in a recently constructed home also has significant benefits for the environment.
But there are a number of simple steps everyone can take to reduce their energy usage, as Shona Eyre, energy expert at uSwitch, points out.
She said: "Unsurprisingly, this research shows that new build homes are much more energy efficient than their older counterparts.
"But, before people start to think about moving house to keep warm, there are plenty of steps you can take to make your home more energy efficient (see tips below), that won't break the bank."
Above: If it’s a new-build in Scotland you’re after, how about this four-bedroom detached house, available for £379,995 in Newcraighall, Edinburgh
Top energy saving tips:
- Turn your thermostat down by one degree Celsius to save up to £85 a year
- Switch off the tech: leaving televisions and games consoles on permanent standby costs £45-£80 annually
- Wash your clothes at 30-40 deg C rather than 60 deg C to save significant amounts of money
- Replace old inefficient light bulbs with modern ones, as lighting can account for as much as 20% of your power bill
- Insulate your home; depending on the work you have done, the cost can be recouped in about three years. Also, there are grants available from some energy suppliers under a scheme called the 'Energy Companies Obligation (ECO)'
Above: Priced at £419,995, this new-build three-bedroom terraced home in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, is beside the tow path of the Grand Union Canal
Top 3 takeaways
- People living in new build homes can save around £600 a year on energy bills
- Eight out of 10 recently constructed homes in England and Wales have the top A or B energy efficiency rating, compared with just 2.2% of existing properties
- The average person living in a new build home spends only £443 a year on heating, lighting and hot water – less than half the £1,072 people in older properties spend
You might also be interested in...
- Guide to new-build homes
- How to read an Energy Performance Certificate
- 11 cost-free ways to cut your energy bills