Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Your First Home Should Be Cheap to Run

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Your First Home Should Be Cheap to Run

Article excerpt

Byline: Ruth Bloomfield

FIVE years into a recession, many of us can empathise with the famous complaint made by Blackadder to his faithful servant Baldrick: "Sometimes," said the hapless TV character, "I feel like a pelican: whichever way I turn I have an enormous bill in front of me."

But the future residents at The Greenhauses development near desirable Brook Green, west London, will shudder less than most when the utility bills drop through the door. Because, thanks to high-spec sustainability features built into the scheme, their bills are likely to reduced by about two thirds compared with regular homeowners.

The development of 30 homes, which include 13 shared-ownership properties priced from [pounds sterling]73,750, will be movein ready next spring.

It is built to "passivhaus" standards with a heat recovery system which "recycles" warmth.

Octavia Housing, which is developing the scheme, has spent the last year monitoring the power usage of two three-bedroom Victorian homes in west London -- one a regular home with basic insulation the other fitted to meet passivhaus standards.

The annual power bill for the "regular" home was [pounds sterling]2,026 while the bill for the retrofitted home came in at just [pounds sterling]772 -- a discount of more than 60 per cent. Carbon emissions were around 70 per cent lower, too.

The Greenhauses has one-bedroom flats starting at about [pounds sterling]73,750 for a 25 per cent share, two-bedroom units from [pounds sterling]98,000 and one three-bedroom flat at [pounds sterling]125,000 for a similar share.

Priority will be given to residents of Hammersmith and Fulham, and applicants should have a household income of between [pounds sterling]19,000 and [pounds sterling]60,000 to qualify. Though the scheme will not officially launch until next year, expressions of interest are already being taken at Octavia Housing is proud to be pioneering green technology in the shared-ownership sector, but it is not alone in experimenting with environmentally (and purse) friendly techniques. Catalyst Housing (chg. …

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