Etopia Group is rolling out a state-of-the-art new home building technology that will reduce household bills for customers by hundreds of pounds
A first-of-its-kind partnership between a technology company and an SME housebuilder has rolled out new home building technology that will reduce household bills.
In the context of the current energy crisis, it is expected that customers will welcome the chance to save hundreds of pounds of energy bills a year.
The new technology is being pioneered on a site in the Midlands for Rippon Homes – a company that has a 750-home pipeline – with a promise that all homes will achieve an EPC rating of at least 88 and will be net-zero ready. The panelised system is precision-engineered along production lines at the company’s factory in Cheshire and then shipped to site once complete.
The announcement comes in just as Ofgem raises the price cap – energy bills are expected to rise by up to £700 from April 1 in response to soaring wholesale gas prices. Interest rates have also gone up by 0.5%, meaning monthly bills have increased on standard variable and tracker rate mortgages.
How does the new home building technology work?
Etopia Group will provide Midlands-based housebuilder Rippon Homes with its Powered by Etopia (PBE) system on a number of sites. The pre-manufactured panels will form the home’s structure – such as walls, roof and flooring. Rippon Homes will then be able to design the property’s facade.
The proprietary technology enables homes to be incredibly airtight and energy-efficient, which means that green mortgages will be available to the homeowners. The homes will have at least an 88 EPC rating which will reduce household bills as mortgage repayments for customers. Additional solar panels are optional to homeowners – but offer an EPC rating of 104 – making them an attractive energy-saving device.
This type of technology will reduce household bills by a third when compared with traditional methods. For example, the average electricity bill for a four-bedroom home in the UK is currently £1,639, but this is soon set to rise. Solar panels would further reduce these costs as homeowners will have the ability to sell excess energy back to the grid.
What are the benefits of the PbE system?
- Homes are constructed 60% faster when compared to traditional construction methods
- All homes will be able to achieve an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating well above the highest category of ‘A’. In the UK, only 1% of new builds are ‘A’ rated, while the average rating is ‘D’
- Flexibility to change a home’s exterior can be designed to meet local vernaculars
- Capable of helping contractors, developers and housing providers deliver up to 2,000 net-zero homes a year
- Low-carbon technologies such as electric vehicle charging points are available
- Panels can be configured by hand and is as little as 72 hours
The partnership meets and exceed upcoming changes to building regulations that are being introduced as part of the Government’s Future Homes Standard.
The new rules demand that new-build homes constructed from 2021 are required to reduce emissions by 31% in preparation for the 2025 Future Homes Standard. The 2025 Future Homes Standard requires fossil fuel heating systems, such as gas boilers, to be replaced by low-carbon heating solutions.
Etopia Group is helping to remove the need for costly retrofitting programmes later down the line by providing ‘zero-carbon ready’ homes. For context, the typical cost of retrofitting a home in the UK at circa £30,000. Consider the 19 million homes in the UK already in need of retrofitting, and total costs could reach over £570 billion.
Work has already begun on delivering the partnership’s first 39 homes in Leicestershire. Marquis Gardens, the mix-tenure development will consist of nine three-bedroom homes and 14 four-bedroom homes – all of which will be made available for private sale. Sixteen affordable homes will also be delivered on the site – a mixture of one and two-bedroom apartments.
‘Helping SME housebuilders… has never been more critical as the UK continues to tackle the climate and housing crisis’
Founder and CEO of Etopia Group Joseph Daniels said:
“Helping SME housebuilders, who don’t always have the resources and capacity to innovate, has never been more critical as the UK continues to tackle the climate and housing crisis.
“For investors and developers, Etopia Group’s PBE system offers a ready-to-go, plug-in solution to delivering zero-carbon homes today. And as financial institutions look to green their books, the system also offers its partners an opportunity to tap into vast sums of capital that are waiting to be deployed into ESG-linked investments. We’re already seeing some of the UK’s largest lenders offer interest-rate reductions on loans if they meet social and environmental milestones, such as Lloyds’ Clean Growth Fund.
“In addition, with homebuyers increasingly being incentivised to purchase energy-efficient properties by some mortgage lenders via cashback offers, such as those recently launched by Nationwide and NatWest, the PbE system’s green credentials have huge cost-saving implications for the end-user.”
David Sheinman, CEO at Rippon Homes, added:
“We’re thrilled to be implementing Etopia Group’s innovative system into the properties at our Marquis Gardens development in Leicestershire.
“With energy bills making a sharp increase in recent months, this technology will allow new homeowners to make big savings whilst also having a positive impact on the environment.”