Eco-homes are becoming affordable for the average home-buyer, giving them the opportunity to  save the environment and save money. Eco-communities such as Rackheath in Norwich, BedZED in Surrey and Fairglen in Cornwall have made green living realistic and affordable option for all home buyers.

Greener building for tomorrow
Greener building for tomorrow

The Fairglen project is an eco-community of sustainable homes in Hayle, Cornwall which is now moving into Phase 2 of the build. Percy Williams and Sons, the creators behind Fairglen, have been in business for almost a century and wanted to provide for the families of tomorrow, offering a sustainable, green alternative to new builds elsewhere.

Simon Williams reports: “We have found that the 3 bedroom properties have been the most popular, with many families thinking of the long term benefits of near-zero energy bills”.

Although an eco-home will come in at a few thousand pounds more than its resource hungry equivalent, the savings in heating, electricity and water bills will quickly make up the difference.

Green properties like these achieve a near carbon neutral status, with photovoltaic (solar panel) roof systems, high efficiency heat recovery ventilation systems, rainwater recycling, and superior insulation. Hot water is generated by ground-source heat pumps, and the houses are designed with under-floor heating making use of this free heat.

Eco-homes are far from the basic lodgings you might imagine; in fact a major attraction over the ‘traditional’ house is the superior comfort of the living environment which provides an all-year round stable temperature and excellent air quality. Alongside the under-floor heating, large windows and modern architectural design, you may not even realise how green you are until your bills arrive.

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  1. J. Shepherd Reply

    This is excellent – if true ! The proposed Rackheath ‘eco-town’ is simply a low-cost housing estate, planned to be dumped on a greenfield site with no changes to the existing poor infrastructure. An eco-disaster in the making which is being rammed through the planning process over the objections of local residents.

  2. Hi J Shepherd,
    My understanding of Rackheath is that it too would benefit from the significantly reduced heating and water bills associated with these new build eco homes.

    It seems a perrenial problem that planning departments everywhere are eager to build new houses on any available ground, and rarely listen to the intelligent odjections of local residents – so I sympathise with your argument (a housing estate sprang up on 4 fields behind my parent’s home in Cornwall about 5 years ago – another green field site).

    But if we accept it as an uncomfortable fact that like or not more houses will continue to be built, surely it is better for everyone if they are at least eco-friendly? Helping save resources (aside from building materials perhaps) and also enable those living in these homes to save significant amounts on their utility bills may hopefully offer a glimmer of hope to Rackheath?

  3. John Allaway Reply

    No problem at all with what you say about the importance of saving energy & reducing bills, Josie. It is very important that CO2 emissions are cut as far as possible, and ensuring that ALL new homes & workplaces are built to the highest possible energy conservation standards is would be one step in the right direction.

    What you probably don’t know about the Rackheath scheme is that it consists of 4000 houses, ie: a massive development, imposed upon the currently rural area in the face of huge public opposition. The opposition is to the scale of the development and the way it is being imposed – not to its supposed ‘eco’ qualities. However, as it turns out, its ‘eco’ credentials are nothing like as green as you might imagine. The standards will not be the highest possible by a long way, but generally two stages below the maximum possible energy conservation standard. The ‘eco’ tag is being exploited in an attempt to win over well-intentioned but naive people. It isn’t working though!

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