Housing

A new home has been built that could save you £2,000 a year in energy bills

Modular house manufacturer ilke Homes says its zero energy bill home in Essex is a UK first and will save the homeowner thousands of pounds.

ilke homes tackling cost of living crisis

This zero-bill home, as shown in this artist's impression, is set to be in place in Essex in May – just a month after energy bills are set to soar. Image: ilke Homes

The UK’s first home promising zero energy bills is set to go on the market in May – just a month after the energy price cap rise sends household spending soaring amid the cost of living crisis.

Modular housing manufacturer ilke Homes will install the factory-built family home at Hope Green in Stanford-le-Hope in Essex. It claims the state-of-the-art design will save the homeowner £2,000 a year on energy bills through low-carbon technologies, solar panels that store energy through batteries, a heat pump and insulation.

It arrives as the cost of living crisis squeezes families while property prices continue to soar and the UK races to become net zero by 2050.

Giles Carter, ilke Homes chief executive, said the innovative new housing model is a first indication of how those short and long-term issues can be tackled. 

“The cost-of-living crisis is here and now. Since the turn of the century, UK households have become overly reliant on gas imports, leaving consumers at risk from rising wholesale gas prices,” said Carter.

“Thanks to advances in manufacturing, materials, and renewable energy, we have created homes that not only drastically reduce household bills but also give consumers greater control over their own energy usage.

“There’s a huge opportunity here to tackle fuel poverty while helping investors meet their green targets, which is why we’ve spent years investing into our manufacturing capabilities. The launch of the zero bills home is a great example of how the private sector can respond to politicians’ net-zero pledges and address some of society’s most prominent problems.”

The two-storey home will be built at ilke’s Knaresborough factory before being transported to the wider 153-home development in Stanford-le-Hope to be assembled. It will then be available to purchase under the shared ownership scheme.

The home will use low-carbon technologies to provide cheap, clean energy and solar panels on the roof will be used to capture renewable energy through sunlight. The solar energy can be saved for later use due to battery technology installed at the property. The energy will then be used to power the home’s air source heat pump which will handle all heating and hot water.

As well as harnessing cheap, clean energy, the modular home also clamps down on heat lost through poor insulation. The home will feature insulation in the walls, floors and roof while all windows and doors are airtight to retain heat and stop draughts.

The home also features LED lighting to maximise energy efficiency.

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The result, ilke Homes claim, is that residents should be able to get energy bills down to zero, saving up to £2,000 a year, even if they use more than the average amount of energy. However, the firm did clarify that extremely excessive use – such as leaving a tumble dryer on for 24 hours a day – would see families incur bills. 

The North Yorkshire-based manufacturer teamed up with asset management firm Gresham House and shared ownership developer SO Resi to install the home. The development in Essex will also feature 101 zero-carbon homes as part of a push to deliver 1,000 each year across the UK.

Alistair Wardell, investment director at Gresham House, said: “This project will deliver real-world benefits to residents in Hope Green and is another step on the journey towards widespread development of net-zero residential homes across the UK.”

The UK government is spending £6.6bn on decarbonising buildings as part of its net zero strategy and recently announced a £200 loan for household energy bills to help households absorb rising energy costs before paying back the sum over the next five years.

Kush Rawal, director of residential investment at SO Resi, said construction firms can also play their part in tackling both issues. He added: “The housing sector clearly has a big part to play in driving down carbon emissions and moving towards more sustainable methods of construction and environmentally friendly homes.”

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