Eco homes: where to find the most energy-efficient UK properties

Fans of Grand Designs will already know all about the UK's new-found love for eco-friendly houses. As the name suggests, these properties are designed to be more energy efficient, saving you money on your bills (while also doing a world of good for the environment).

If you're looking to snap up your own eco home, here's where to look.

The Beacon, Hemel Hempstead

Enjoying views over the Box Moor wildlife conservation area, The Beacon is being touted as the world's most sustainable development. Construction is due to be completed this year, and lucky residents won't have any energy bills to pay: electricity is generated by solar panels, and hot water is provided from ground source heat pumps.

The Wintles, Shropshire

The Wintles was one of the first projects developed by The Living Village Trust, which has been instrumental in developing eco-friendly villages across the UK. Homes in the Wintles are powered by solar, have wood-burning stoves and large south-facing windows to light and heat the properties naturally. The village also has areas of shared woodland, orchards and allotments, which add greenery to the area and help to reduce its carbon output –a large proportion of which comes from food production.

BedZED, London

When this sustainable community was completed by Bioregional in 2002, it was at the forefront of eco-home technology. It has 100 homes and communal facilities such as a college, co-working space and on-site car club. While the properties sell for 5-10% more than similar sized homes in the area, it's estimated that residents save £3,258 a year compared to the average London household.

Build your own, wherever you like

Eco-home developments are understandably in high demand, so a lot of people choose to buy a plot of land and build their own. Environmentally-friendly modular homes (also known as ‘pre-fabs’) are a quick and cheap way to do this, with companies like Green Unit and Dwelle creating stylish properties with great green credentials.

Another option is to retrofit your home to match PassivHaus standards, which is one way to make your property appeal to eco-friendly buyers.

 

Photo credit - Tom Chance.