What makes a new build home more energy efficient? In this article Conroy Brook Quantity Surveyor and qualified Code for Sustainable Homes assessor, Andrew Battye, explains all.
“Rising gas and electricity prices, and concerns about the environment, have prompted house buyers to take more interest in the energy efficiency of their prospective new homes in recent years.
The likely size of heating bills and cost of work to bring an older property’s energy efficiency up to modern standards are both now important factors in the buying decision.
Research conducted by Zero Carbon Hub for the NHBC Foundation found that the annual household energy spend for a four-bedroom detached house built to 2013 standards would be £1,050, compared with £2,460 for an upgraded Victorian property of a similar size.
Which is why new build homes are becoming more appealing, especially if, like Conroy Brook, the housebuilder is incorporating environmental features and energy-efficient technologies to ensure they conform to at least Level 3 of the Code for Sustainable Homes.
Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH)
The Code for Sustainable Homes is an environmental assessment method for rating and certifying the performance of new homes based on BRE Global's EcoHomes scheme. It is a Government owned national standard intended to encourage continuous improvement in sustainable home building.
The CSH covers nine categories of sustainable design:
- Energy and CO2 emissions
- Surface Water Run-off
- Health and Wellbeing
Although not mandatory, many local authorities now require a CSH assessment as part of the planning application process. We assess our new homes as standard to ensure they are as environmentally friendly as possible.
Our latest two developments in South Yorkshire - Forge View in Sheffield, and Mayfield Court in Dodworth - are perfect examples of how we are continually striving to build more efficient homes.
Here are just a few examples of how we are achieving our eco targets.
Energy & C02 Emissions:
- Our aim is to make our homes at least 25% more efficient than houses built to current building regulations, through the use of 65mm Ecotherm cavity wall insulation, as well as uprated insulation in floors and roofs.
- To further assist with reducing running costs, all white goods we install i.e. fridge / freezers are A+ rated.
- Solar photovoltaic renewable energy systems are installed where it is possible to do so, which could save hundreds of pounds a year in electricity bills.
- Low-energy recessed lighting is also installed throughout.
- Part of the Code refers to provision of cycle storage to encourage homeowners to leave the car at home and cycle more often. Where possible we provide cycle storage racks for each property.
- External drying space is provided, such as installation of a rotary dryer, to decrease the use of tumble dryers therefore reducing running costs and carbon footprint.
- This relates to the energy efficiency of the construction materials used for windows, walls, roofing, flooring etc.
- We are achieving high ratings for our use of double glazed uPVC windows, traditional ie. natural stone and blockwork, ethically sourced FSC timber trusses for the roof (FSC), and similar for internal walls and floors.
- We provide new properties with a compost bin to help to reduce the amount of household waste that is sent to landfill.
- Another important area to take into consideration is emissions, in particular the efficiency of the boiler installed. The more efficient the boiler, the less Nitrogen Oxide (greenhouse gas) emissions are released into the atmosphere.
- Our aim is to always install a compact and efficient A rated boiler to increase efficiency and reduce emissions.
- The protection and enhancement of ecological features is also important to increase a site’s biodiversity. For example we add more plant species and install bat boxes where appropriate.
The net result of all these measures is that the houses at both Forge View and Mayfield Court have a SAP Energy Rating of B, while older properties of a similar size would more typically have D or E ratings.”
To see the latest new, energy-efficient homes from Conroy Brook click here.