How can you find a carbon free eco home?

How can you find a carbon free eco home?
In 2017, a 'Passivhaus', 'zero carbon house', or even an 'eco' house is hard to find and is still considered big news

Many people would like to buy an eco home, but with such a small supply it's practically impossible to insist on it being a must-have.

According to Louise Ridings of Stacks Property Search, retro fitting a property isn't cost efficient, and buyers' principles are eroded by the impact on their pocket. So how can eco-warrior property buyers take a stand that isn't going to be financially crippling?

Louise had this to say: “When the requirement for EPCs became law for those selling a property nearly a decade ago, they were largely ignored by buyers.

Today, as householders find it increasingly challenging to meet household bills, and with fossil fuels declining, the little graph on the back of property particulars receives a great deal more attention.

While we might expect period houses that haven't been refurbished for decades to perform badly on their EPCs, we could be forgiven for thinking that new homes should get full marks. Graded A-G, where A is 'energy efficient and well-insulated' and G is wind rattling and draughty, a quick assessment of most new homes show that an A rating is unusual.


In the 2011 budget, the coalition government confirmed the commitment that from 2016 all new homes would be 'zero carbon', but the definition was somewhat woolly, and the commitment was dropped before the deadline. The government recognises that the construction industry needs to employ eco-friendly methods and green specifications, but the process seems to be beyond slow.

Now, in 2017, a 'Passivhaus', 'zero carbon house', or even an 'eco' house is hard to find and is still considered big news. In 2015 Cardiff University set about proving that building energy efficient houses should not only be possible, but affordable. It took them just 16 weeks to build the property near Bridgend that cost £1,000 per square metre, and was said to export more energy to the grid than it used (carbon positive).

Gusto Homes is one developer who is building quality houses with eco features, and their development The Edge near Lincoln is particularly innovative. The houses (that come with come with communal allotments, tennis courts and acres of woodland) are said to cost less than £1 a day to run. There are two houses left in the first phase of the development which has proved to be extremely popular. Phase two of eleven properties is due to start this year, and there are more eco houses planned for Collingham in Nottinghamshire in the future.

Stacks has some top tips for finding your eco home

1. Make it clear to estate agents that this is important to you, so they'll flag anything that is remotely environmentally friendly.

2. Use property search engines that allow you to use keywords, and trial a range of phrases such as 'eco', 'energy efficient' 'environmentally friendly', 'Passivhaus', etc.

3. Pay forensic attention to EPCs, not just the little coloured chart, but the back-up information too. The 'potential' figure is important, as you may be able to make fairly simple changes that will bring up the percentage.

4. Sometimes eco-homes have an over modern look – it was historically a habit of architects to make eco-houses look radical, although the tendency is declining now. Don't let the appearance put you off!

5. Don't allow your determination to buy an eco-house to persuade you to buy in the wrong location.

6. Consider building your own. Finding a plot and starting from scratch is a daunting task, but gives you a great opportunity to incorporate as much eco-friendliness as you choose. But a good compromise is to buy a property with plenty of scope for extending, and incorporate energy efficiency into the additional build.

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Comments

  1. Alan ReadAlan Read28 February 2017 11:50:41

    Australia are leading the way in this I think. The trouble with Britain is we don't get enough sun to make use of solar power.

    Reply to this comment
  2. MarkMark01 March 2017 14:55:37

    Thanks for this article. Hopefully one day everybody's lifestyle will be eco-sustainable.

    Reply to this comment

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Latest Comments

MBM Homelets
MBM Homelets 23 Mar 2017

Although this is a very positive step, there is little or no guarantee of the standard of workmanship employed by the tenants. We have had experience of a professionally decorated property being ' painted'...

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ajay
ajay 21 Mar 2017

How is the "robust evidence" looking now?

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NathanG
NathanG 20 Mar 2017

I've been watching the series so far and am completely baffled by the cases that were presented. Though, I don't think that we can protect ourselves from every scam possible - it will just make the scammers...

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Landlady14
Landlady14 01 Mar 2017

You would think so Niraj Shah! My experience only proves that there are varying qualitiers of professional in all aspects of property letting. None of the ones I have dealt with, from letting agents to...

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Mark
Mark 01 Mar 2017

Thanks for this article. Hopefully one day everybody's lifestyle will be eco-sustainable.

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Ben Taylor
Ben Taylor 28 Feb 2017

I was convinced that London was the most expensive!

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Alan Read
Alan Read 28 Feb 2017

Australia are leading the way in this I think. The trouble with Britain is we don't get enough sun to make use of solar power.

view article
James Powell
James Powell 27 Feb 2017

This is a very good news.

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DanHumphreys
DanHumphreys 27 Feb 2017

It sounds like a good idea. Anything to help the younger generation get a foothold.

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Matt
Matt 20 Feb 2017

Is this fake news?

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Matthew Hollywood
Matthew Hollywood 07 Feb 2017

Matthew Hollywood - Director Mishon Mackay Land & New Homes - Brighton The shortage of New Homes is in part effected by the lack of land sales. Land sales are held back because there is a disparity between...

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CommercialTrust
CommercialTrust 30 Jan 2017

Hi Graham, Would be interesting to see the above figure calculated against an investment via a Lt Company /SPV structure and if the investor found themselves pushed in to the higher tax bracket. Mortgage...

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