Article from FOCUS Magazine – Winter 12 issue.
Whether you are keen to save money on the running of your home or want to do your bit to reduce global warming, properties which are energy efficient or have eco features make sense.
“In years to come the prevalence of energy efficiency in homes will increase as it starts to separate those who do have eco features and those who don’t. Nowadays, all new builds include energy efficient features and slowly these elements have been adding to the desirability of properties as people become increasingly aware of the importance of being green” says Matthew Abernethey from Savills’ Richmond office.
He is selling The Printworks in Retreat Road, Richmond, which is being built on a site once owned by Frederick Dimbleby, grandfather to David Dimbleby, who ran the Richmond & Twickenham Times. It was edited there for over 100 years up until 2001. Now, developer Lyndal Mount is creating two townhouses, two lodges and 10 one to three bedroom apartments, including one large three bedroom penthouse. Most of the apartments have balconies. The building has solar panels on the roof to help keep the communal heating costs down and the properties have highly energy efficient boilers and a high level of insulation. The site is between Richmond Green and the river, and the apartments are priced from £500,000 to £2.25 million.
Octagon has just launched a development of 13 period style family homes in Esher laid out in two landscaped cul-de-sacs – St George’s Place and Wootton Place (photo above). The eight semi-detached townhouses and five detached houses are off Esher Park Avenue and will include air source heat pumps for eco-friendly heating and hot water, efficient under floor heating throughout and insulation levels which are above the Building Regulations minimum standards. All the houses have fully landscaped rear gardens and four to five bedrooms. Three of the detached properties have basements, each with a double garage and glass-walled gym. The townhouses also have stone-tiled terraces linking the garden-level kitchen and family rooms to their private rear gardens. Savills’ Esher office is selling the houses from £2.75 million to £4.5 million.
“Luxury house buyers are just as concerned about eco-friendly features and conserving power supplies in their homes as anyone else. We have for several years now been installing air and ground source heat pumps, along with still glamorous but low energy lighting. We always deliver higher than recommended insulation levels, and believe our under floor heating is both cost effective and cleaner than conventional wall-mounted radiators” says David Smith, Octagon’s Head of Group Marketing.
On a magnificent 19 acre private estate within The Warren at Kingswood are Octagon’s impressive fourteen detached houses, each with super sized ground floor family living space, and upstairs, five double bedrooms and four bathrooms. For families yearning for open green spaces in tranquil surroundings, but still needing easy access to London and the M25, Octagon’s Kingswood Warren Park may well be the answer. All the houses come with Octagon’s famed high and energy efficient specification. Marble entrance halls and staircases are made welcoming with under floor central heating, bespoke crafted kitchens come with Miele appliances, the sumptuous bathrooms have generous walk in showers and hidden storage space. Each home has its own stylishly co-ordinated interior design scheme involving wall colours, tiles, flooring and fitted carpets. The houses start from £2.5m. A fully furnished showhouse is open every day 10am – 4pm. Telephone 020 8619 2211 or view details on Octagon’s website www.octagon.co.uk.
Strutt & Parker is selling Rustles – a modern, but not newly built, home with almost 6,500 square feet of space, in Effingham, Surrey. The vendors designed and built the house, which has seven bedrooms, open plan kitchen/family room/dining room, drawing room and large terrace. In the basement, there is a cinema room, wine cellar and gym and the 1.5 acre garden backs onto Effingham golf club. Eco features include under floor heating, rainwater harvesting and solar heating and it also has a central vacuum cleaning system. Rustles is on the market for £3 million.
In Weybridge, Sedona – a five bedroom Huf house which was completed in 2006, is on the market. This is a very energy efficient, eco-friendly house with under floor heating and cooling with an energy efficient air flow system, the ability to connect to a heat pump and solar technology, an automatic irrigation system using water collected from rainwater harvesting and a private bore hole, plus CAT7 cabling and its own three phase electrical sub-station.
On three floors and with over 9,500 square feet of space, the property has two reception rooms, library and study and large kitchen/breakfast room. There are electric shutters to act as a sunscreen in the summer and an acre of beautiful gardens with a sweet little tree house with wood shingle tiles, water and electricity. The property is on the market with a guide price of £6.95 million through Savills and Sotheby’s International Realty.
Another contemporary semi-detached new property is for sale in Glentham Road, Barnes. This three storey house, which has been developed by Harepath, has been constructed using the highly energy efficient EBS elk timber building system. The property also has a whole house ventilation and heat recovery system, LED lighting throughout and a high level of thermal insulation. On the ground floor there is a massive entertaining room with wooden floor and helix staircase, a kitchen/family room and a triple height internal courtyard with bi-folding doors and electronically controlled sliding roof. On the first floor there are three bedrooms and on the top floor, a studio room with balcony and fourth bedroom. With landscaped garden and off-street parking, the house is for sale through Knight Frank and Featherstone Leigh for £3.95 million.
Further west in St. Peters Road, Twickenham, John D. Wood is marketing a newly completed five bedroom house with several energy efficient features. These include low voltage ceiling down lighters, the highest specification Uponor hot water and heating system, a high level of insulation and a comfort cooling heat recovery system. The four-storey semi-detached house has direct access to St Margaret’s Trust Grounds and has a reception room and kitchen/dining room, plus a double height glass atrium. It is on the market with a guide price of £2.35 million.
But it is not only new homes that have energy saving features. Owners may have put them into older properties to reduce their heating costs or developers included them when doing a major refurbishment of a period property. “People are increasingly conscious about the benefits that an energy efficient home can bring and it is now commonplace for potential buyers to enquire about the eco-credentials of a prospective new home” says Chris Mullin of Hamptons. “As well as the feel good factor of knowing that you are being kinder to the environment, eco-friendly homes can also be extremely cost-efficient. We recently sold a four storey period property which, after having had solar panels installed, cut the heating bill in half. This was a big selling point for prospective buyers and the house went under offer quickly”.
Wonham Mill in Betchworth is a conversion of a historic mill alongside the banks of a mill pond. The Grade II listed Mill House has been turned into a smart five bedroom home with three reception rooms, four cellar rooms and a private garden and the old mill building has been converted into three three-storey townhouses with many original features. All the townhouses have three bedrooms, two of them have terraces on all three floors and the third has a garden and internal courtyard. There are also three newly built mews houses. These have three bedrooms and open plan kitchen/dining/living room. All the properties benefit from under floor heating on the ground and first floors, a water source heat pump, which is situated in the mill pond and generates heat and hot water, plus a rainwater harvest tank for all grey water uses. The Mill House is for sale through Jackson Stops & Staff for £1.395 million, the townhouses from £899,950 to £975,000 and the mews houses from £549,500 to £595,000.
Sharron Skinner from the developer Jedris says “we were in the perfect situation for using water as a heat source as there is a current all the time. The people who have been to see the houses have been very interested in the heat pump, because it means their energy costs will be almost negligible throughout the year. They also like the idea of using rainwater for certain purposes”. Owners should also be able to benefit from the government’s proposed renewable heat payment scheme, when it comes into being next year.
Because older properties do not offer the same degree of energy efficiency as new build or recently refurbished, many purchasers are prepared to pay a premium at the outset for new properties because they know they will make longer-term savings on bills. “However, it is worth noting that the Government is going far to encourage all homeowners to make energy-saving improvements. The Green Deal scheme which will be available from the New Year is one such example” adds Mullin.
The Green Deal, in a nutshell, is a framework enabling private firms to offer consumers energy efficiency improvements to their homes at no upfront cost and recoup payments through a charge in instalments on their energy bill. So in future, owners of both new homes and some period homes, should be able to see a reduction in their fuel bills even if the charges go up – which must be good news for the homeowner and the world.