First “Free Energy Bills” Homes Set to Be Launched in UK

The UK’s first factory-built, energy-bills-free homes are set to be launched in Essex next year at a time when energy costs are soaring for households nationwide.

We all know British homes are notoriously bad at keeping the heat in, having some of the ‘oldest and leakiest’ properties in Europe. Nine in ten households (more than 26 million homes!) also rely on gas boilers, making domestic heating is responsible for a whopping 20% of the UK’s total emissions.

On top of that, energy bills are set to double for at least three-quarters of UK households, leaving many concerned about how they will pay their bills.

Ilke Homes, in partnership with Gresham House, believes their new project could be the start of a new type of build, combatting heat loss, cutting down on energy bills, and helping the environment.

The modular houses will be located in Stanford-le-Hope, Essex, and use low-carbon and battery technologies to save owners up to £40,000 on bills over 20 years.

Ilke Homes has already trailed these new builds in London, Newcastle, Sunderland, Gateshead, and Newark and is now seeking partners to help roll them out more widely with the goals of delivering 1,000 homes annually.

They have said that their houses “will deliver real-world benefits to residents and is another step on the journey towards widespread development of net-zero residential homes across the UK.”

Of course, this sounds amazing, but how has it been achieved?

Well, the two-story homes will be built in a factory in North Yorkshire before being transported to the Essex site and craned into place.

To achieve the ultra-low energy bills, they will utilise a mix of artificial intelligence, robotics, and digital design to create “incredibly well insulated” homes where very little heat escapes.

Not only that, the homes will have highly efficient LED lighting, solar panels, and an air source heat pump that provides all heating and hot water.

Battery technology is used in combination with the solar panels to ensure any excess energy is stored and can be rereleased for later use.

The homes are expected to be completed in June and scheduled to go on sale in May. This will be via the shared ownership website So Resi with buyers able to purchase a 25% share at £100,000, taking the home’s total value to £400,000.

The project is part of a wider 153-home scheme, and Gresham House and Ilke Homes will also be delivering 101 operational zero-carbon homes via the company’s Ilke Zero offering.

Giles Carter, Chief Executive at Ilke Homes, said on the project, “The cost-of-living crisis is here and now. Since the turn of the century, UK households have become overly reliant on gas imports, leaving consumers at risk from rising wholesale gas prices.

“Thanks to advances in manufacturing, materials, and renewable energy, we have created homes that not only drastically reduce household bills but also give consumers greater control over their own energy usage.

“There’s a huge opportunity here to tackle fuel poverty while helping investors meet their green targets, which is why we’ve spent years investing into our manufacturing capabilities.

“The launch of the Zero-bills home is a great example of how the private sector can respond to politicians’ net-zero pledges and address some of society’s most prominent problems.”

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