New homes are the most energy efficient, but could they be better?

Elmhurst recognises that new build homes are better from an energy point of view than the vast majority of existing homes. In fact the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) recently released statistics that show that 75% of new builds are ‘A’ or ‘B’ rated on the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) scale and only 12% of existing dwellings are the same.

However the statistics also show a worrying trend for the new build industry and in our opinion set off alarms bells for consumers. Only yesterday a new push has been made by the House Building Federation; this followed  a demand from HM treasury that the industry delivers the promised 1 million new homes in this parliamentary term (see news item).

The new statistics reveal that there were 47,435 EPCs lodged for new build homes in England and Wales in Quarter 1 2016; this was a decrease of 5% compared to the same quarter in 2015. The EPC is produced at the end of the building process and is a legal requirement to present when marketing the home and is given to potential purchasers. The drop in numbers seems odd, as the housing industry suggest that they are building more new homes?

The following table also displays that the average new build home in England and Wales is using more energy per m2 and also emitting more CO2 emissions, than last year.  This is very worrying and something we need to keep an eye on.

What this means for home owners is they will have larger fuel bills for these properties, year after year that they live in them, and they will emit more carbon dioxide due to this. This comes against a back drop last year where the Government out of the blue removed any new intention to improve the building regulations to aim towards the zero carbon targets; which had previous been expected and planned for by the industry. This removal was seen as a carrot to builders, to remove unnecessary regulation (red tape) and get on with building more new homes.

Effectively this shows that the new 1 million homes that we build will consume more energy than would have otherwise been the case. In an effort to drive up home building volumes the standards are not changing. We at Elmhurst believe that whoever is the next Government will regret this, and will end up building more Power stations than would otherwise have been needed; and more importantly the consumers who purchase the shiny new home will be left with larger fuel bills than could have been expected.

Elmhurst is disappointed in these figures and hope that the trend doesn’t continue, but with no new targets to aim for the only losers will be the general public. We at Elmhurst appreciate that new build homes are better from an energy consumption point of view than the vast majority of existing properties, but we also believe we as a nation can and should do better, we can drive down energy costs and build better homes for this and the next generation. These figures display a worrying trend and something that needs to be addressed.

 Stuart Fairlie – Head of Technical

For the Full DCLG report:

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