From biodiversity loss to extreme weather, the impact of human activity on the planet is becoming increasingly clear. Every industry has to face up to their environmental responsibility and this is particularly true of housing. Quite simply, the time has come to build differently.
Government regulations coupled with new sustainability standards within individual companies mean housebuilders are innovating quickly, with new builds leading the charge. They are fundamentally changing the way people live, both from an environmental and an economic point of view. Home experts at St. Modwen Homes in this article look at five reasons why – and how much people are saving.
1. Better Energy Efficiency
All homes come with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) that shows how energy efficient a home is. Ratings range from A (the most efficient) to G (the least efficient). A study by Which? showed that 76% of existing homes (flats and houses combined) have energy efficiency ratings of either C or D, while just 2% are rated B. In comparison, 81% of new builds have a B rating, with just 7% achieving C or D.
Breaking that down into pounds, owners of new builds can save up to £20 a year on lighting, £37 a year on hot water and the big one: up to £455 a year on heating. In terms of emissions, existing homes produce an average of about 4.36 tonnes of CO2 per year. For new builds it’s 1.51.
2. Less Air Leakage
Old homes can lose a lot of air through cavities in brick work, window frames and draughts under doors. The more air that escapes, the more energy you need to keep things warm or cool. These days there are strict regulations around how airtight a home should be.
A more airtight home doesn’t just help your bills. It’s better for air quality, improves sound insulation and means structural damage due to mould is far less likely. To measure how airtight a home is you measure the air pressure. Government regulations stipulate this should be 10m3/(h.m2) but many new builds go way beyond this.
3. Ready For The Future
A world where we are powering our lives using natural resources is fast approaching – and many new builds are designed with a totally new way of living in mind.
At St. Modwen Homes, we offer sustainability packages as optional home upgrades that include things like home EV charge points, PV panels, air source heat pumps and waste water heat recovery systems. Using the sun to power your home has obvious environmental benefits and it makes a lot of economic sense too. In an average home, PV panels can potentially save you between £100 and £200/ year depending on how many panels you have and how much energy you use.
4. More Height and Light
There is a perception that new builds can be boxy and dark. However, all our homes have higher ceilings and larger windows. It’s a relatively simple step forward in terms of design but there are so many benefits.
Aesthetically, this makes our homes extremely eye-catching, while more daylight is proven to boost people’s mental wellbeing. As for energy savings, this makes total sense too. More natural light means less artificial light which is good news for your electricity bills.
5. Fully Integrated Connectivity
The internet is connecting our homes together in incredible ways. Up until a few years ago, we mainly used it for our TVs, laptops and smartphones. But the proliferation of smart technology has changed everything.
Over one in four adults in the UK owns a smart speaker, while more and more people are using smart lighting and smart plugs. The demand for smart thermostats has also skyrocketed.
Being able to control your heating, lights and appliances has cost-saving, as well as environmental benefits. But for a ‘smart home’ to work, it needs fast, reliable broadband. Our homes are precisely designed with super-fast connectivity in mind, with many offering full-fibre broadband.
Built for better living
New builds may not feature certain characteristics of a period house, but architecturally they are becoming more and more exciting. And when it comes to performing better for your wallet and the environment, a new build is very hard to beat.