Green house effect: You don't have to compromise on design when opting for an eco-friendly home

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

As soaring fuel bills force homebuyers to act green, many movers are opting for the lower running costs of a new-build property which, on average, are six times more energy-efficient than older homes. The message coming through is that you do not have to compromise on comfort, style and luxury, or even pay a premium, for a low-energy new home that offers a better, cheaper lifestyle.

Green design has entered the mainstream housing market, with most developers leaning towards contemporary architecture and utilising hi-tech factory production.

All new-builds are covered by the Government's Code for Sustainable Homes, a green standard that works on a points system and grades properties on a scale of one to six, using criteria such as water-saving features and on-site power generation, from solar panels to mini wind turbines and ground source heat pumps. Level six is the top rating and requires all energy supplied to come from zero-carbon sources.

Hanham Hall, being built by Barratt in Bristol, is Britian's first large-scale level six development – 185 homes around a listed former hospital. Properties will be connected to an on-site combined heat and power plant, have rainwater harvesting systems, greenhouses, allotments and "smart meters", which enable householders to monitor their energy consumption as they use it.

Four modern town houses at Aubert Park, Highbury, north London, are so energy-efficient that virtually no heating is required. Triple-glazed, south-facing and thoroughly insulated, they promise an astonishing 90 per cent saving in energy. The 3,000sq ft homes use a German construction method dubbed Passivhaus, which has ground-source heat pumps and an air-cooling and ventilation system. The timber frame structure has a thermal skin wrapped in white render, wood and zinc cladding. Internally, every room has a full-width wall of glass allowing light in. Bedrooms have terraces, and the galleried lounge looks out over the garden. Hot water and heating costs are around £30 a month. Prices from £2.25m. Call Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward on 020 8222 7200. While in Notting Hill architect Seth Stein has created a £9m luxury eco-home in the space behind a traditional terrace façade (www.aylesford.com).

London architect Justin Bere specialises in Passivhaus new-builds and retrofits, and has completed one-off projects in Camden and Stoke Newington. Because developers have to meet eco-ratings based on everything from how close a home is to public transport to how thermally efficient it is, how well it tackles recycling and whether it uses sustainable materials, green housing is not just about technology it is about how it fits into the local environment.

Seven luxury town houses at Crabtree Fields in Fitzrovia conform to code level four by enhancing wildlife habitats through nesting boxes and sedum roofs. Biomass boilers use woodchips, resulting in cheaper fuel consumption. Prices from £2.99m. For details call EA Shaw on 020 7240 2255.

Architect Luke Tozer ingeniously squeezed a low-energy house on to an 8ft-wide plot between two listed houses in a Bayswater conservation area. Called Gap House, its traditional, white-rendered façade hides a Tardis of contemporary living – almost 2,000sq ft of space with three bedrooms and an open-plan family area linked to a courtyard.

Below the courtyard are three boreholes serving a heat pump which provides heating and hot water for the house. Rainwater collected from the roof is used to flush toilets and water plants. "Because it's airtight, the house doesn't take much to heat," explains Tozer, who lives there with his wife Charlotte and their two children.

'We pay £1,000 a year for energy'

There is underfloor heating throughout and all energy is from renewable sources, powered by electricity drawn from cheaper night tariffs.

"We pay about £1,000 a year in energy bills, which is pretty good for a house of this size," he says. Built for £500,000, it meets code level four and has won the coveted Manser Medal awarded by the RIBA. "Legislation has to lead the way to give momentum to the development community," Tozer says. "People tend to do what they have to do rather than what they are encouraged to do."

Green developers can benefit

Developers can score brownie points with planners by going green. Code level four high-rise living is coming to Docklands, East London. Silvertree is a 24-storey eco-tower with 161 apartments where the colder north face will have a half metre-wide strip of unusually dense insulation.

The south-east side will be heavily planted to help moderate temperatures, while the south-west elevation will be covered with solar panels to provide occupants with up to 70 per cent of their electricity needs. Apart- ments will be available next year and cost from £250,000 from Knight Frank.

Turbine time

A cylindrical skyscraper called The Tower, being built on the Vauxhall waterfront, will have a dramatic wind turbine generating 20,000kWh of energy per year for the 223 flats. Boreholes have been drilled 160 metres to reach the London aquifer. Water is pumped from the boreholes and used to heat apartments and provide hot water. Prices from £720,000. Call St George on 020 7042 7700.

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
News
Tottenham legend Jimmy Greaves has defended fans use of the word 'Yid'
people
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West, performing in New York last week, has been the subject of controversy as rock's traditional headline slot at Glastonbury is lost once again
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living