Each year around 240,000 homes are built, however the vast majority of these houses are not constructed to high energy efficiency standards. 

Recent attention has been paid to the eco credentials of properties, with countries making commitments at the recent COP 26 conference in order to cut their carbon emissions. 

This initiative is led by the UK Government and includes policy changes to force homeowners into improving properties that are not up to certain standards. 

Its goal right now is to get as many houses as possible to be rated C by 2035. However, a deadline earlier than 2028 will apply for properties that are buy-to–let.  

The UK is on a green homes drive, but new builds in the UK mostly achieve an Energy Performance Certificate rating of B, rather than the optimum A rating

UK green home drive is underway, however, most new UK buildings achieve an Energy Performance Certificate rating rating B rather than A.

Housebuilders are crucial in meeting these goals because it’s easier to construct a new energy-efficient home than to renovate an old one.   

This is Money reached out and asked the UK’s top ten housebuilders for their EPC ratings. These are the largest builders in terms of volume. 

The industry seems to be on the wrong side of customers when communicating with them about the issue. 

Our responses suggested that new-builds are currently rated B and would therefore be able to meet the 2020 target. 

As home heating technology improves, so will energy efficiency standards. 

Even if customers don’t want it, data indicates that they are increasingly interested in living in energy-efficient homes. 

A recent Halifax survey found that A-rated properties were worth up to £40,000 more than G-rated homes, for example. 

It appears that the number of homes rated A is a tiny fraction of all the homes constructed. One builder admitted this, saying that they accounted for only 10% of their output during the previous financial year. 

EPC is a rating scheme which bands properties between A and G based on their energy performance, with an A rating being the most efficient and G the least efficient

EPC (Energy Performance Classification) is an energy rating system which ranks properties from A to G according to their energy performance. A ratings are the most efficient, while G ratings are the lowest.

A third builder also said that they still built some C-rated houses.  

Retrofitting homes to increase their energy efficiency is expensive. New-builds should be given A ratings in order to protect buyers from future upgrades and to reduce energy costs. 

An energy-efficient home could also translate into a lower mortgage rate. Lenders are offering increasingly ‘green’ mortgages, which offer higher rates and larger loan amounts for those who have certain EPC ratings. 

Plans to require lenders to disclose the EPC band of properties on which they lend mortgages are being considered by Government officials. This could make it more difficult for those with low credit ratings to get a loan.  

Five questions were asked to the UK’s biggest housebuilders about how energy efficient their homes are. Only one – Bellway – came back with answers to all five. 

The housebuilders were surveyed 

These were the five questions that we asked housebuilders 

1. Are you able to provide a minimum Energy Performance Certificate Rating that new houses must attain? 

2. How many homes were completed last year in full? What percent achieved the EPC rating for each home? 

3. How do you determine which specifications and features your home will require to achieve their EPC rating when designing it? (Eg. (Eg. 

4. What is the point of building homes not built to meet an EPCA? 

5. Are you looking to increase the EPC rating of your properties or improve their overall energy efficiency? They are what? 

Four more – Barratt, Bellway, Persimmon, Redrow and Taylor Wimpey, provided us with a general comment about energy efficiency.

Countryside and McCarthy & Stone declined to comment, while Berkeley, Bovis Homes and Crest Nicholson did not respond.

According to the latest Energy Performance Certificate data, 84% of all new properties received an A rating or B rating between July 2021 and September 2021. Only 82 percent of existing homes were awarded a C orD rating.

Responses suggested that most new-build homes are currently achieving a B energy efficiency rating – but three of the five builders that responded admitted that they did still build some homes that were a C or below.

Bellway and Barratt are the only builders to have homes that achieved at minimum a B. 

Bellway was only builder to give a breakdown on its EPC ratings. 

We were told by it that 10% of homes completed in its last fiscal year received an A rating and 90% achieved a B rating.

According to the company, its EPC average was 84. The required score for a rating B is between 81-91.

Redrow claimed that the majority of homes it owned achieved a grade B or better, Taylor Wimpey stated its homes had an average B- or better rating and Persimmon indicated that almost all were rated at B or higher.

Most people were unable to build new houses to earn an A rating when asked why.  

Redrow technical manager Daniel Hastings said that it would be a substantial increase in property costs if all of our homes were built to EPC A ratings.

“We don’t want to make this a standard. We prefer to give our customers more value by giving them the option to increase their EPC rating, if desired through various solutions.

He said that solar panels were an option homeowners might consider, and they could also be added to their home at an additional expense.

Installing an air source/ground source heatpu is another option to raise a home’s EPC rating.

According to the Centre for Sustainable Energy, the typical cost of installing an air source heat pump unit is £6,500–£10,000 depending on the size of the property it needs to heat. 

One housebuilder, Bellway, said it was exploring installing eco-friendly air source heat pumps as part of its standard home design. The cost of getting one can be up to £10,000

Bellway Housebuilders stated that it is looking into installing environmentally-friendly heat pumps in its homes. The cost of getting one can be up to £10,000

Neil Jefferson, the managing director for industry group, The Home Builders Federation said that there weren’t enough qualified installers making it possible to have a heat-pump in all homes. 

He said that heat pumps were an essential technology in new homes. However, there are many challenges, including the need for increased installation and service skills.  

“The amount of heat pumps installed at the moment is insignificant compared with the homes built each year, therefore a significant increase in their capacity is needed.” 

Heat pumps are installed annually in the number of around 30,000.

Bellway stated that heat pumps were not part of the standard design. 

According to it, “We are testing air source heat pumps in order to verify that they can be configured properly and incorporated into our Bellway design principles for low CO2 emissions and low running costs to our customers.”

Others builders stated that they are not building any more homes according to EPC A standards because the current regulations do not permit them to. 

Housebuilders said building new homes with an EPC A would add to the cost for buyers

The cost of building new homes without an EPCA, according to housebuilders.

Bellway said that: “The threshold of the current and incoming building regulations are below an A Band EPC. Depending on the solar PV installed and plot orientation, some will be awarded an A-band.

Taylor Wimpey told us, too that a specific EPC rating wasn’t required by current regulations and instead used a “notional dwelling approach”. 

Money also asked the builders if they were considering improving their EPC band in the future.

Persimmon claimed it has been involved in technological trials. It said: ‘We are investing in a number of technology trials – including a ‘zero carbon ready’ house – to secure further improvements in energy efficiency and also reduce carbon emissions.’

Barratt stated that it also had just launched a “Real-Time” e-commerce site.New flagship zero-carbon home concept containing the technology that will be the blueprint for sustainable living.

Bellway stated that it had also conducted a heat pump test and was “conducting research projects to determine what energy efficiency solutions would be included in model design strategy and the Future Homes Standard.”

New homes must comply with the standard which will be implemented in 2025. produce 75 to 80 per cent less carbon emissions than homes delivered under current regulations.

The company stated that its research was concentrated on the achievement of maximum savings in running costs for customers using new technologies.  

It stated that homes which exceed the Future Homes Standard will be constructed on several locations in the UK. The energy performance of these homes would then be measured to provide insight into how they perform in real-world environments. 

“With energy costs a serious issue in many UK homes, we’re testing to determine the most effective alternative technologies. However, consumers must also be aware of the potential cost implications for their daily lives as we abandon traditional gas boilers.

The Future Homes Standard is set to be introduced in 2025, and means that new homes will have to produce 75 to 80 per cent less carbon emissions than they do currently

The Future Homes Standard is set to be introduced in 2025, and means that new homes will have to produce 75 to 80 per cent less carbon emissions than they do currently

This is Money was informed by the Home Builders Federation that their industry is committed to reaching the targets for energy efficiency.

Jefferson declared that the industry was committed to meeting the Government’s environmental goals and continued to collaborate with stakeholders in order to achieve the timeline for implementation of the Future Homes Standard starting 2025, as well as interim regulatory uplifts.

“New builds are significantly more efficient than older houses, which can save homeowners hundreds of pounds per year. This is a rising benefit, as the cost of energy continues to climb.

“Crucially we need to make sure consumers feel comfortable using new technology as they will eventually need to buy and live in the new home of tomorrow.”

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