Are New Builds More Energy Efficient?

new builds with solar panels

Did you know how we live in our homes can have a massive impact on the environment? With growing climate change concerns and rising energy prices, more homebuyers are asking, “Are new homes more energy efficient than older ones?” and housebuilders are now prioritising energy efficiency to meet modern needs and environmental goals, making energy-efficient properties more popular.

Energy Efficiency in New Builds

Making our homes more energy-efficient is important. It helps us reduce our carbon emissions and save money on energy bills. With stricter building regulations, new build homes now include better insulation, double-glazing, and low-carbon heating systems, like air source heat pumps. For older homes, this could involve adding loft insulation or installing new, energy-saving boilers.

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are helping, too, by showing how energy-efficient homes are and suggesting improvements. The UK government is also getting behind this shift, offering grants and incentives to encourage everyone to make their homes more eco-friendly.

What is an EPC rating?

epc rating graphic

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is like a report card for your house’s energy use, scoring it from A (the best) to G (not so great). This rating is calculated based on how well a building is insulated, the materials used in its construction, and the efficiency of its heating systems. It helps determine how energy-efficient a building is and how much it will cost to keep it warm or cool. 

A certified energy assessor checks the property’s energy credentials to generate an EPC rating and puts them into government-approved software. The score ranges from 1 to 100, and homes get put into EPC bands from A to G. The EPC report also suggests ways to make your home more energy efficient, like switching to energy-saving light bulbs. This rating system is a big help if you want to live more eco-friendly and save money on your energy bills. EPCs are valid for 10 years once you get one.

Even if you’re renting, EPC ratings are important.

Are New Builds More Energy Efficient? UK Stats and Analysis

As building techniques and regulations have changed over time, older houses tend to use more energy than newer ones. New houses are built with modern insulation, double or triple-glazed windows and use renewable energy sources, which helps keep energy consumption and costs down. In fact, data from the UK government shows that new homes in the UK are much more energy-efficient than older houses.

For instance, homes built after 2011 had a median energy efficiency score equivalent to band B, while those built before 1930 had a median score equivalent to band E. This means that new builds and existing dwellings are far more likely to achieve the top A or B ratings for energy efficiency, making them more environmentally friendly and cost-effective in the long run.

4 Benefits of Choosing New Builds

new build houses with solar panels

Choosing a new build home can be a wise decision for various reasons. Apart from being easy on your pocket, it also benefits the environment and overall comfort. Here’s a quick look at why going for one of these modern homes is a win-win:

Lower Energy Bills

Thanks to the latest building techniques and technologies, new builds need less energy to keep you warm in winter and cool in summer, so you’ll see your energy costs drop. It’s good for your bank balance and great for conserving energy.

Better Air Inside 

With eco-friendly materials and top-notch ventilation systems, the air inside a new build home will be cleaner and healthier. This means less dust, fewer allergens, and a lower chance of mould, making your house a fresher place to live.

Kinder to the Environment 

By using less energy and incorporating things like solar panels, new build homes reduce our impact on the environment. Lower carbon emissions mean you’re doing your bit to fight climate change right from your living room.

More Comfortable Living

New builds are usually designed to maintain a comfortable temperature all year round, so you won’t have to blast the heating or air conditioning. Plus, they’re often built to keep out unwanted noise so that you can enjoy peace in your cosy space.

Challenges and Considerations

When buying a new build property, it’s important to consider the upfront costs versus the long-term savings. Finding eco-friendly new-build homes in the real estate market can be tricky. Pay careful attention to all the details and ensure you understand what makes a property truly green. Make sure to consider these factors before making a decision.

FAQs

What is the most important feature of an energy-efficient new build?

The most important feature of an energy-efficient new build is its insulation. Proper insulation in walls, roofs, and floors minimises heat loss in winter and keeps the home cooler in summer, significantly reducing the need for heating and cooling. This not only saves energy but also improves comfort inside the home.

Do energy ratings affect the value of a new build?

Yes, energy ratings, shown through Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs), can really bump up a new build’s value. Homes with better energy ratings (like A or B) are more attractive because they promise lower energy costs, more comfort, and they’re better for the planet. This can make them worth more and appeal to more buyers, especially those keen on being green.

Can eco-friendly homes save me money over time?

Absolutely, eco-friendly homes can lead to savings over the years. While they might cost a bit more upfront for energy-efficient technologies and materials, the amount you’ll save on your energy bills can be significant. Investing in things like efficient heating systems, solar panels, and solid insulation means spending less on heating, cooling, and electricity in the long run.

Is it worth investing in solar panels for a new build?

Getting solar panels on a new build is generally a smart choice, especially in sunny spots. They can generate clean energy right from your roof, cutting down on your electricity bills and reducing your carbon footprint. Plus, with solar panel funding schemes that pay you for generating extra power, you might even make some money back. Over time, the investment can pay off, making solar panels both an eco-friendly and wallet-friendly option.

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