Are new homes energy efficient?

As energy prices and household utility bills continue to rise, the importance of having an energy efficient home has never been greater. The UK has some of the least energy efficient housing stock in Europe, with over 70% of our homes built before 1980.

The market for retrofitting existing homes to make them more energy efficient still has a long way to go, with few viable options available, but UK house builders are increasingly embracing new technologies to realise potential environmental and financial savings.

At Hopkins Homes our Fabric First approach to house building means that energy efficiency is weaved into the fabric of each property, rather than added as an afterthought. All our new homes are EPC rated A or B for energy efficiency, with less than 4% of older homes achieving the same grade*.

Whilst energy costs have risen by 80% this year, a recent report by the Home Builders Federation has shown that owners of new build homes are saving on average £2,600* on energy bills each year, with owners of apartments saving on average £1,200*.

By July 2023, the housebuilding industry needs to have reduced its carbon footprint by 31%, increasing to 75% by July 2025.

At Hopkins Homes, we are already achieving up to a 50% reduction in carbon footprint on homes with a gas boiler and up to a 60% reduction on homes installed with an air source heat pump**.

Many of our developments already feature:

  1. Air source heat pumps, which absorb heat from the outside air and boost it to a higher temperature. This is used to heat radiators, underfloor heating and hot water. For those homes still with conventional gas boilers, we have introduced ‘flue gas heat recovery systems’ saving 10% on heat recovery.
  2. Underfloor heating, which is more energy efficient than other forms of central heating, helping to reduce energy bills. It uses 40% less energy than a conventional radiator when used with a heat pump.
  3. Car charging points (or an allowance for, wherever possible), providing the convenience of charging electric vehicles at home, more quickly and affordably than a charging station.
  4. Wastewater heat recovery, a process that extracts heat from shower or bath water as it drains away. The water is used to warm the incoming mains water, reducing the energy required to heat it to temperature.
  5. Photovoltaic panels (PV) integrated into roofs, which capture the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity.
  6. Zoned heating, which is used to eliminate variations in temperature and improve energy efficiency.

From July 2023, we will be installing air source heat pumps and ground floor underfloor heating, as well as a provision for car charging as standard on the majority of all newly commenced homes.

This is in addition to the usual energy efficient savings expected from a modern home, including insulated lofts and cavities, double glazed windows, LED lighting and water efficient sanitaryware, kitchen fittings and appliances.

So, in answer to the question, are new homes energy efficient? YES.

*Data source: ‘Watt a save’ report (12th October 2022), the Home Builders Federation

** Based upon assessment of house types 1550 and 882 at Wickham Gate, Suffolk.