North Warwickshire

Eco House Agent, United Kingdom

Rampant Energy Bill Rises Pave the Way for Sustainable Housing

Matthew Dodsley and his father-in-law have combined forces in the family’s latest business venture in North Warwickshire. The latter is a hardened builder with 35 years of experience under the belt. But this time round is trying his hand at something entirely different, sustainable housing. Matthew is the marketing expert and has used his skills to develop a web site for this specific project and has increased the visibility of the venture by making use of the social networking site-Twitter- where the progress of the project can be tracked.

The new venture comes with a catalogue of new demands and challenges. The business had to engage in an enormous amount of research in order to conform to the standards set for building eco homes. Take for instance building materials. Its not just a question now of competitive costing. In order to be compliant, they had to adhere to the Government owned national standard for ecohomes called The Code for Sustainable Homes {CSH} There are nine categories of sustainable design with mandatory performance requirements in six catergories, In order to ensure these standards are met and buyers get the highest quality homes, compliance is tested twice: An initial assessment is carried out at the design stage and the final assessment and certification is carried out at the post construction stage.

So why is an old established builder stepping out of his comfort zone into a venture in which he has no experience, which is far more regulated and with a higher element of risk? Matthew’s response is that sustainable housing is a unique product and with escalating energy costs {which he mentions in every piece of correspondence to me} an enormous gap has opened in the market. He believes:

Eco housing is the future, you only have to see the electricity and gas bill rises which come out nearly daily to realise people simply can’t afford the energy bills these days and fuel poverty is only becoming more widespread.  Even the big boy builders will have to fall in line soon, even if they are dragged kicking and screaming!”

As sure as the sun rises in the east, cheap energy bills are a thing of the distant past. There has been across the board increases as five of the big six energy firms have now announced substantial increases. The price rises will see the average gas bill increase from £665 to about £740 a year. The average household bills of gas and electricity combined are set to breach the £100 p.m. There is no end in sight to the misery. Furthermore there are 3.5 million older people living in fuel poverty in the UK - defined as spending at least a tenth of income on energy bills. The implications are brutal, 25,400 deaths were caused by cold weather last winter, according to the Office for National Statistics, with most of the deceased aged 75 and over. Compounded by the austerity cuts {the government is cutting winter fuel allowances from £250 to £200 for those aged 60-80 and from £400 to £300 for the over 80s the number of deaths this year is set to rise significantly.
And with indefinite global energy crises there is no solution on the horizon, with the exception of sustainable energy.  The arguments for eco homes are compelling:

  • Sustainable homes like Church Hall Gardens with photovoltaic roof panels which generate electricity from daylight and the air source heat pumps which generate heat will negate energy bills saving each household approximately £1200 per year.
  • Furthermore the government pays for every unit of energy under a scheme called the Feed In Tariff. Households are paid 41p per kilowatt of energy produced 43p unit sold to the National Grid. Every household has an earning potential of £1500 pa over a 25 year period.
  • The rainwater catchment system {Halstead surface tanks}  provides recycled water for the WC and garden hoses meaning that up to 50% of household water consumption is reduced.
  • ROI is very high. The Feed in Tariff is Index Linked and Tax Free so return on investment can be as high as 9% The Sunday Times listed Solar Panels as one of the Top 5 Investments for your Savings.
  • Peace of mind. Knowing that you are living in an idealistic carbon neutral home like Church Hall Gardens  without the extreme anxiety of exorbitant energy bills for the rest of your life.

One warning though don’t blink! The window of opportunity will certainly close in the future. In line with the cuts in all sectors the government has indicated that it intends addressing the subsidies. So if you are in the market and don’t want to be at the mercy of the rapacious energy providers for the rest of your living days. JUMP NOW!
For further information about sustainable homes and Matthew Dodsley contact or follow on twitter: @ukecohomes

Author Guy Mulvaney


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