With rising energy bills and uncontrollable household spending, it is time for a new standard in the construction industry. For years, eco-housing has been a niche market, saved for the forward-thinking & those with available property funds. No longer for the environmentalist, eco-housing is finally beginning to transform the landscape of the UK’s property & investment market with several eco-friendly villages leading the way.
The Struggle for Sustainable Homes
Many of us would positively encourage the building of houses which are not only affordable but can save money on our household bills too. Sadly, the construction industry and those who are looking for an energy efficient home, have not had the support needed to produce eco homes en masse.
In 2006, the picture was promising. The Government had introduced a zero carbon homes policy that stated that all new homes from 2016 would generate as much energy as they use. Sadly, this scheme was scrapped in 2015, to reduce the regulations on housebuilders. Instead of planning for the future, the objective was to meet the housing demand quickly, and the regulations of carbon-neutral homes were deemed too difficult to achieve.
Leading the Way with Sustainable Homes
Carbon dioxide emissions from homes are predicted to be up to 55% of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. With this worrying statistic, there are, fortunately, building firms who are edging away from convention.
With support from groups such as the World Green Building Council and the Living Villages Trust, housebuilding firms have begun to build eco properties. We are now seeing people investing in property featuring thick and insulated walls, sloped and angled roofing to maximise solar storage and rain collection, as well as cooling tubes and double glazing.
What Needs to Happen Next?
Unfortunately, eco homes in the UK are still yet to become a mass market product, something we have seen with other property investment platforms that are revolutionising the market, such as property crowdfunding. It may be down to a lack of regulatory environment. For example, in Germany eco homes are an attractive property investment, because there is a more stringent commitment to energy-efficient homes.
Another issue that must be addressed is cost. Many people believe that eco homes cost a lot more than conventional homes. In a recent report, the Business Case for Green Building, it was suggested that developers overestimate the cost as much as 29% more. Understandably, this will put many house buyers off, particularly if they are looking for sustainable housing to save money on their heating bills.
In fact, while eco homes can be more expensive, it is usually only up to 12% more on average and can even be cheaper than traditional counterparts. It is clear that eco homes are the future for affordable energy bills, but the support and structure needed in the UK are still lagging behind the European counterparts.