Following the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, the UK government vowed to reach net zero by 2050. As households account for 26% of UK carbon emissions, a revolutionised approach to home construction is an essential part of the UK reaching that target in the next quarter century.
Inefficient heating systems powered by fossil fuels and poor insulation are the main reason that traditional housing stock in the UK is such a significant contributor to our collective greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, the latest government building regulations aim to radically improve the energy performance of new homes with a greener approach to construction and home heating technology, and modernised appliances.
Discover how new build homes are being constructed to meet modern energy efficiency standards.
Green energy technologies are one of the key reasons that properties in new build housing developments are more eco-friendly than traditional homes. More efficient gas boilers and compact electric models form the cornerstone of the heating systems, with some houses also boasting solar-power capabilities.
From 2025, gas boilers will be banned from new build homes entirely. The latest green heating systems such as ground or air source heat pumps will be used to warm homes instead.
Many materials used in traditional construction are not sustainable. For example, the manufacture process for brick and concrete results in CO2 emissions.
In addition to using modern methods of construction to lower the carbon footprint of new homes, these properties are also constructed in part using eco-friendly materials. These materials include reclaimed wood, recycled steel, and wool.
One of the main reasons that older properties are not energy efficient is that they have poor insulation: in fact, traditional housing stock in the UK is some of the leakiest in Europe.
New build homes are designed to have vastly improved insulation when compared to their existing counterparts. Well-insulated cavity walls keep the heat in the home and prevent air from coming from outside. In addition, all new build homes have double- or triple-glazed windows and excellent roof insulation.
Lastly, thought has also been given to the appliances within the home and how these can improve energy efficiency. For example, traditional gas cookers have been replaced with induction hobs and lights are fitted with LED lightbulbs. These changes help new build homeowners to save up to £3,000 on annual energy bills.
Some new build properties also take advantage of energy saving smart technology products such as improved thermostats, heating systems that can be controlled via an App, and sensors that shut-off electricity to devices on standby.