Downsizing your energy bills

Energy bills in the UK are predicted to remain high this year due to issues that have increased wholesale energy costs.

Written by

Sheila Frampton

Beechcroft’s inhouse survey revealed that 91% of its customers at Cotswold Gate, Burford, stated that energy-efficiency is important to them. This isn’t surprising, particularly when energy bills in the UK are predicted to rise again this year due to issues that have increased wholesale energy costs that have subsequently put a number of energy suppliers out of business.

This could be the perfect time to downsize your energy bills by retiring to a brand-new Beechcroft home.  Not only could you make substantial savings, you could benefit the environment, have a home that requires far less maintenance and become part of a community of like-minded people.

And did you know you could save on more than just your energy bills with Beechcroft? Find out about the other savings you could make in our 'Downsize your cost of living' leaflet.

How much could a brand-new home save on my energy bills?

The latest report by the Home Builders Federation “Watt A Save” published in July 2023 reveals that new build home buyers save over £1,600 a year on household bills, equivalent to £135 a month – and those buying houses can save up to £180 a month.   New build homes are consistently rated with much higher Energy Performance Certificates than older homes.  For homes logged in the year to March 2023, 85% of new builds were rated A or B for energy efficiency whilst under 4% of existing homes achieved the same standards.  Of the existing homes, over 50% were rated D or lower.


Could I retrofit my existing home to make it more energy efficient?

Although older homes can be retrofitted to improve efficiency, research from Nationwide finds that the average bill facing those in homes currently rated D or E is over £8,000, and considerably higher for those in properties rated F or G.  The Government has tried, on several occasions, to introduce schemes to retrofit homes and improve energy efficiency but older properties still fail to reach the same standards as new build homes.

Maryland Place, St Albans
New homes Maryland Place

Is the energy saving enough to consider buying a brand-new home?

A recent UK-wide study of property buyers for new homes by a kitchen fixtures supplier has revealed that 61% of house buyers prioritise energy efficiency when looking for a new home.  Sustainability has become increasingly important and the features expected in new builds include double or triple-glazed windows, insulated walls, doors and roofs and energy-efficient heating systems.

A customer buying a new home

Would downsizing to a retirement community bring greater savings?

If you are downsizing from an older property with four or five bedrooms to a much more energy-efficient property with two or three bedrooms, then you’ll be making even more savings because you won’t be heating unoccupied bedrooms.  

Community lounge
Over 55's drinking wine

Why are new build homes more energy efficient?

New build homes have to comply with the latest building regulations, designed to ensure a minimum level of thermal performance and insulation which makes them far more energy-efficient. New homes have much better insulation – in terms of the cavity walls, flooring and roofing and this means they are far more energy efficient.  They generally have much better quality doors and double glazing which lets in the sun but reduces the heat loss – making it twice as efficient as double glazing from the 1990s. Modern boilers are more efficient and homes incorporate modern technology designed with energy-saving in mind and appliances with better energy-ratings and settings which can help save energy.

Cotswold Gate, Burford

Could I fit out my old home to make it more energy efficient?

It can be done but many older houses are revered for their architecture and cultural significance and can be difficult to heat and difficult to retrofit. Costs for retrofits vary depending on the size of the house, its age and energy efficiency. You will need a retrofitting expert to conduct an analysis and create a plan – which could cost anywhere between £40,000 and £200,000 and an older house, even if energy-efficient, will still require a good deal of maintenance. 

Solar panels on a roof
Energy saving lightbulb

What are Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)?

According to a survey published by the Home Builders’ Federation 54% of the people polled were not aware of the energy efficient rating of their current home when they moved in.  Indicating the energy efficiency of buildings, Energy Performance Certificates or EPCs are based on data about a building’s energy features including the building materials used, the heating systems and the insulation.  The data is collected by an accredited energy assessors and entered into government-approved software to generate a score for the EPC typically ranging from 0 to 100.  Domestic EPCs are banded from A to G with A being the most energy efficient.

What people say...

What are the average energy efficiency ratings of new homes versus older properties?

The latest research by the Home Builders Federation states that new build homes are consistently rated with much higher EPCs than existing dwellings. For homes logged in the year to March 23, 85% of new builds were rated A or B for energy efficiency, while under 4% of existing dwellings reached the same standards. In contrast, over 50% of existing dwellings were rated D or lower.

The Sidings, Wheatley
The Sidings, Wheatley

Is one type of property more energy efficient than another?

For all properties in England and Wales, flats and maisonettes were shown to be the most energy efficient. Detached dwellings are the least because of external wall exposure. In all categories, new homes were significantly more energy efficient than older properties.

Hampton Manor, Godalming

Does being more energy-efficient mean that new homes are better for the environment?

Yes. New homes also have significantly less impact on the environment that older properties.  EPC assessments include an environmental impact score based on expected carbon dioxide emissions.  The higher the rating, the less the impact on the environment.

What energy-saving features will I find in a new Beechcroft home?

In addition to high levels of insulation to minimise energy loss, LED lighting, double-glazed windows and energy-efficient boilers, Beechcroft homes include energy-efficient appliances and underfloor heating, which is more efficient than traditional radiators.  The new build homes also include air source heat pumps and whole house ventilation.

What are the best energy saving tips?

  • LED lights consume less energy and have a longer lifespan than other types of lighting
  • Double glazed windows prevent heat escaping.
  • Service your boiler on an annual basis
  • Install home automation solutions -such as home hubs- that control heating, lighting, Wi-Fi and other electrical appliances
  • Install a smart meter so you can see where you’re using most energy and reduce the usage.
  • Wash your clothes at 30-40 degrees centigrade – 90% of a washing machine’s energy expenditure is spent on heating the water.
  • Use a microwave, an air fryer or a slow cooker – each of which use less energy than an oven.
  • Turn the thermostat down by just 1 degree Centigrade – it can save you up to £100 per year.
  • Turn appliances off at the socket. 
  • Close curtains and blinds at night. 

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