What makes a house energy-efficient?

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Saving energy in our homes has become more important than ever in recent times, both to help save money and also to lessen the impact we’re having on the environment. For those looking at buying a new home, whether first-time buyers or moving from an existing property, energy efficiency can be a significant factor in this decision. 

In this article, we look at what considerations help to make a home energy -efficient, how EPC ratings work and what they might mean for buyers. We also look at how Places for People are using energy-efficient house design and development to provide sustainable homes in thriving Communities across the UK. 

In this section:

Energy-efficient home design for new builds

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When it comes to modern new-build homes, energy-efficient home design is where the process starts, to ensure that properties incorporate high standards of efficiency throughout the build process. 

The priority is to build warm and comfortable homes that have low running costs and a low carbon footprint for the development process and beyond. This can be done through a series of considerations and measures, including specifying particular materials to be used during the build and ensuring that the home design includes all of the features needed to meet high- efficiency standards. 

Along with implementing modern methods of construction that are designed to have a lower environmental impact than some traditional building practices, there are also some key areas of the home that feed into more energy- efficient house design, including:

•    Insulation
•    Air quality and ventilation.

How good insulation improves new home energy efficiency

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Homes with poor or no insulation will experience high levels of heat loss in a number of ways. Most heat is lost through uninsulated walls and roof, which means that heating costs are significantly higher during the colder months, as the home simply lets the warmth out, forcing heating systems to work harder, and for longer, to maintain comfortable temperatures. 

With home heating in the UK currently being responsible for around 14% of total emissions, reducing this by producing new homes with high levels of appropriate insulation can make a significant difference over time. 

When homes are properly insulated, it means installing a thermal barrier between the inside and outside of the property, which not only helps to keep heat inside during colder months, it can also help prevent the home getting too warm indoors during hot weather.

While it isn’t possible to completely stop heat loss with insulation, it can be drastically reduced. This means that on colder days, the heating system won’t need to work as hard or for as long to get the home to an appropriate temperature, and then maintain it. It also means that the home won’t get as warm when it’s hot outside, reducing the need to run cooling systems. This is how insulation can help make a home more energy -efficient, by reducing the energy needed and therefore resulting in lower bills.

How good ventilation and air quality improve energy efficiency in homes

Good ventilation in homes is important to help remove pollutants from the air, to assist with controlling the temperature, help reduce condensation and minimise the risk of mould developing. 

There are many things that create condensation in a home, from the people living there just breathing, to moisture created by cooking, bathing and showering, laundering clothes and many more. Good ventilation helps this warm and moist air to leave the property and can circulate fresher air throughout the home too, which can help improve the air quality indoors. 

With well-designed and balanced ventilation, homes can have good even airflow between rooms, helping to control the temperature and reduce the need for excessive energy use.

More energy efficiency measures in new homes

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Along with ensuring that the new home is well- insulated and has adequate ventilation, many sustainable home developers take more measures to improve energy efficiency, including:


  • Fitting efficient heating systems that are correctly sized for the property
  • Fitting energy-saving appliances and LED light fittings/bulbs when applicable
  • Fitting water-efficient taps, showers and toilets, to use less water than average properties
  • Double-glazed windows

With new build homes being highly energy -efficient, buyers can see significant savings on energy costs. Research indicates that this could be well over £2,000 a year saved on energy bills for an average use household. 

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EPC ratings explained for new build homes

If you’re buying a new home, at some point you will come across an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). An EPC is a legally required document that gives information about the energy efficiency of a property that is being sold. It has ratings on a scale from A (highly efficient) right down to G (inefficient) to give potential buyers an idea of how economical the property might be to heat and light, and its carbon emissions.

The factors that are assessed for the rating process for new build properties include, but are not limited to:

  • Reviewing the home designs and materials used as well as the finished property
  • Insulation
  • Heating systems
  • Ventilation.

An EPC is valid for 10 years from the date of issue. 

As most new build homes are developed to very high efficiency standards, the vast majority of them will achieve an EPC rating of A-C. 

Energy-efficient new homes from Places for People

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At Places for People, we are proud that our energy-efficient new homes (all with an EPC rating of A-C) are kinder to the planet at the same time as offering residents low running costs for years to come. You can reap all of these benefits without compromising on enjoying a stylish, welcoming, warm and comfortable home that is designed and built for modern living. 

There are a number of different ways to buy one of our brand-new Places for People homes,  including Shared Ownership (England), Shared Equity (Scotland), Part Exchange or Easy Move, if you’re looking to start a new chapter as part of one of our sustainable thriving Communities.

Find out more about our energy-efficient homes.

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We hope that you’ve found this article useful in understanding more about what makes a house energy-efficient and the difference it can make to energy bills and other running costs, both now and in years to come. 

If you’d like to find out more about the homebuying process for an energy-efficient home from Places for People, you can take a look at our guide to buying a new home

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