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EPCs: new builds beat older homes hands down, says trade body

Research from the Home Builders Federation claims owners of new homes will save an average £135 a month on running costs under the new energy price cap. 

The average energy bill saving increases further when comparing new houses (as opposed to flat) with older counterparts, making average monthly running costs £183 cheaper.

HBF’s new report claims new builds consistently achieve high energy performance levels, with 85 per cent being awarded an A or B EPC versus just four per cent of older properties. 


The analysis of also suggests new homes use 55 per cent less energy and 60 per cent less carbon than older counterparts.

The HBF is also calling on the government to work with lenders to establish a proper market for green mortgages.

As it stands, most mortgage affordability assessments are based on the same energy bill assumptions, despite the HBF claims that “EPCs providing an indication of household running costs.” 

It says lenders will therefore apply the same assumed monthly expenditure to households regardless of the performance of the property they are purchasing.

The house builders describe this as “a missed opportunity to offer improved mortgage deals that incentivise environmentally conscious and long-term money-saving buying decisions, which would also support the next generation to realise their homeownership ambitions.”

The report also looks ahead to examine the performance of new property built to increasingly rigorous building standards, including Part L requirements introduced last year and the Future Homes Standard set to come into effect in 2025. 

It estimates new homes constructed to 2022’s Part L criteria will emit 71 per cent less carbon than the average older property.

The federation concludes that as the 2025 carbon net zero housing target nears, the government must intervene to ensure the supply chain and skilled workforce exists to enable home builders to deliver ever more technologically-advanced and energy-efficient new homes the country needs.

HBF managing director Neil Jefferson says: “The action industry is taking to continually improve the energy and carbon efficiency of new homes is contributing significantly towards government’s net zero action plan and helping to ease the mounting pressures on household incomes across the country.

“As mortgage affordability gets tougher, rental costs increase and the country’s need for homes grows increasingly desperate, lenders and government must review affordability assessments in consideration of these numbers to support more people to get onto the housing ladder.

“Meanwhile, if government is serious about delivering the number of homes the country needs and achieving against its environmental commitments, nationwide investment in skills programmes, retraining and apprenticeships is essential.”

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  • George Dawes


    Modern building standards are a joke compared to the old days

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    A modern house maybe more energy efficient, but they are cramped, tiny little things with no redeemable features other than slightly lower gas and electricity bills 👎🏻 No thanks, I will stick with my detached Victorian property with high ceilings and bags of room and charm.

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    I pay the utility bills for 9 houses ranging from EPC A to EPC E. The only one that has noticeably much higher bills is a 6 person HMO which does a lot of cooking. Two of the tenants bake bread daily and they all seem to use the oven one after the other instead of simultaneously. The electric bill drops significantly when either of the keenest bakers are on holiday.

    The only way to really cut energy bills in most existing houses is a combined use of solar panels, batteries and time of use electric tariffs. That's assuming they've already done all the standard low energy light bulbs, cylinder jacket, smart heating programmer and loft insulation stuff.
    The biggest challenge is getting occupiers to engage with whatever energy saving systems are in place. It doesn't matter if it's an A rated modern house or a D rated Victorian terrace, a tenant can still have ridiculous bills if they use the heating system in the wrong way.

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    Well of course a small soulless modern rabbit hutch is going to be cheaper to heat than any pre 1919 house. The older house will still be standing strong in another 50 plus yrs but the hutch will be a maturing slum.
    As for the green creds, building bad box housing is in itself a carbon catastrophe especially vs v retro fitting older stock.

    Another self serving piece of trollop.


    I really wish these Green zealots would look at the whole life environmental cost of things, whether houses, cars, consumer goods etc.

    Modern rabbit hutches in peripheral estates will have a much higher carbon footprint than a Victorian mid terrace or tenement flat within walking distance of amenities.

    I read that an electric car has a higher carbon footprint than a petrol car until it's covered 77,000 miles and a hybrid will NEVER have a lower footprint than a petrol car.

    Greens need to focus on really green proposals like ensuring good products can be repaired without the parts being ludicrously expensive

    I have a perfectly good fridge freezer in my garage which had all the plastic drawers broken by a tenant. Replacement drawers cost over £40 each so I bought a new fridge freezer and for the rental property and keep checking the local dump for suitable drawers every time I am there.

    Replacement parts for self closing fire door closers are also ludicrously expensive.

    Legislating to make such spares available at realistic prices would reduce my carbon footprint by avoiding forcing me to buy replacements.

    Selling washing machines without new hoses, mobile phones, tablets etc. without chargers would reduce waste by reducing duplication of items that could still be used.

    However I don't expect our current loony Green politicians to understand how the real world works or how it could really be made greener without costing everyone a fortune.

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    Wholeheartedly agree with you Robert. The whole of life cost needs to be taken into consideration and if things were repairable instead of throwaway the true environmental impact would be much less again.


    What do you expect the HBF to say. Timber frame is susceptible to fire, damp and dry rot. Foreign OSB seems very poor and will not last. Longevity is not their strong point.


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