All-electric modular homes. All-electric modular homes.

Insulated from energy price increases: The first families moving into a new development of “power homes”

All-electric modular homes. While 15 million households across Britain saw double digit rises in energy bills in 2021, and prices set to rise even further in 2022, families moving into a new development of ‘power homes’ in Kent are insulated from the price increases

Following one of the steepest ever energy price hikes in October, and more than 25 energy firms going bust in 2021, households have been faced with huge increases in energy bills.

According to OFGEM, last year’s price surge meant that people on default tariffs paying by direct debit saw an increase of £139pa from £1,138 to £1,277. Meanwhile, prepayment customers saw an increase of £153pa from £1,156 to £1,309.

Industry regulator Ofgem is due to revise the UK Government’s energy price cap next month, with an increase in bills due to hit customers in April 2022. It has been predicted by experts such as Martin Lewis that this could potentially lead to a minimum 50% increase in energy prices for consumers.

This could lead to a further rise of at least £600 in energy bills in the first half of 2022 according to Citizen’s Advice, with some predicting the price rises could cost households more than £700 more.

Meanwhile, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has warned that the government’s help to offset increasing energy prices is “limited”.

Before October’s increase in bills, around four million homes in the UK were classed as suffering from fuel poverty. The charity National Energy Action has warned that two million more households are at risk of fuel poverty – leading to a total of six million homes struggling to pay for energy – when the next price hike begins in April 2022. This would be the highest level of fuel poverty in the UK since records first began in 1996.

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However, for the Law family, who have just moved into a new generation of power homes, the energy price increases are one less thing to worry about.

Over the course of a year, these all-electric modular homes, built in a factory in Cambridgeshire, in partnership with the team from leading offsite manufacturer, Premier Modular Group, can generate more energy than they consume.

Featuring a roof which is covered in photo-voltaic solar roof panels – disguised to blend with traditional roof tiles – enables these properties to generate their own electricity.

In fact, the all-electric modular homes generate enough electricity to charge an electric vehicle for free every day and any excess electricity can be sold back to the grid. The overall energy bills will be up to 85% cheaper than those faced by an average household.

Boasting an EPC rating of A, the homes are kept warm by air-tight, high performance Structural Insulated Panels and consume less electricity by being fitted with A energy rated dishwashers, fridge freezers and washer/dryers. Meanwhile a traditional boiler is not needed to heat water as hot water is provided to the home by a hot water tank with an integrated air source heat pump.

While millions of families across Britain live in old, cold, draughty homes, for Jo Law and her children, Molly, 13 and Harry, 10, the homes from Public Sector Plc provide real peace of mind.

They were the first family to move into the new power homes in Kent in September 2021.

Jo, who works in a local bank, said: “Like most people, I have spent most of my life living in older homes which become difficult to keep warm in the winter.

“I am from Sittingbourne and one of my children attends school in the area, and we were looking for somewhere local for our next home. Saving money is a top priority, so the opportunity to live in a brand-new, energy efficient home was really exciting and we signed up right away. It’s absolutely been the right decision. 

“The past year has been difficult for us with some major life-changes. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and bowel cancer and had to undergo some treatment and operations, and had to shield for a long time. This house has felt like a weight off my shoulders – we’re unpacked, we’re settled and children feel safe and happy here.

“We love the energy efficiency and simplicity of these new homes and for the first time in our lives are not at all worried about needing to have the heat on all the time through the winter months. Our house is so energy efficient that we actually haven’t had to put on the heating at all yet– but when we do, we will have no worries of not being able to afford it.

“As we all start to become more conscious of climate change it’s heart-warming to know that we’ll not be wasting energy or wasting money this winter.”

Mark Davis, Partnerships Director at Public Sector Plc, said: “According to the UK Green Building Council, the built environment contributes 40% of the UK’s total carbon footprint.

“Instead of creating homes which only consume energy we wanted to flip this approach on its head and deliver homes which produce energy too. In achieving this, we’ve been able create new homes which act as mini power stations rather than major energy drains.

“Working with Belfast based Encom Energy, we have installed best-in-class technology to monitor the performance of our homes to provide real-time data on how the homes are functioning and the energy generated by the renewable technology.  

“As millions of us face steep energy price increases across the country we think it’s incredibly important to highlight that there are alternative types of homes to live in.

“The team at Public Sector Plc have designed the homes specifically for our Council and Housing Association partners and are currently working with a number of public sector organisations to develop new affordable homes across the UK. We’re looking forward to welcoming more public sector property, housing, place making and regeneration teams to our zero carbon showhome in Kent to discuss how we can deliver a new generation of Public Sector Plc homes.”

Property & Development Magazine

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