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How can our homes be more environmentally friendly?

Whether your home is a period house or a new build, minimising its environmental impact should be something we all aim to do. From monitoring our energy consumption using smart meters to building a carbon neutral house in entirely sustainable materials, there are lots of ways to lessen our homes’ negative impact on the environment, and most of them will save on running costs too.


Solar power, insulation and triple glazing can all be retrofitted, while new builds with an eye on eco living will focus on energy storage, rainwater harvesting, green roofs, timber frames and recycled materials.

Of all the energy sources, solar has the least negative impact on the environment. Installing solar panels on your roof can be expensive – but long term benefits are significant. The average cost of installation is £4,800, and while it will probably take at least 15 years to recoup your costs in energy savings, you will be able to pump unused energy back into the grid and be paid for it. Remember that south-facing roofs will fare better, and the further south your location, the better too: the Energy Saving Trust estimates that panels in Manchester could save you between £95 and £230 each year on your electricity bills, compared with around £100-£240 in London. And when it comes to selling, homes with solar panels already installed can achieve a premium and are likely to attract buyers with an interest in eco living.

Hatcham Park Mews, New Cross, SE14

This contemporary three bedroom house in New Cross comes with solar panels, placing it in energy efficiency category B, and it’s on the market at £1.15m.

Contact Winkworth New Cross for more information.

Sustainable developer Igloo won the WhatHouse sustainable development of the year award in 2016 for 400 Caledonian Road, a low-energy, eco-focused project. Sustainability features include solar-supplemented photovoltaic electricity, combined heat and power heat and electricity generation, rainwater harvesting, green roofs, super insulation and airtightness, intelligent thermostats, and mechanical heat recovery. Winkworth is selling a one-bedroom apartment in the development, with floors made from sustainable bamboo and triple glazing for full insulation.

Caledonian Road, Islington, London, N1

This outstanding first floor one bedroom flat with private terrace measures 555 sq ft and is tucked away within the prize winning, eco-friendly, mews development, and thanks to its array of eco-friendly energy sources, monthly bills are kept to a minimum.

Contact Winkworth Islington for details.

Another award-winning development is Granville Place NW2, built in 2010 and awarded the most eco-friendly development of its time. Its design takes into account reduced carbon emissions, effective energy/water usage and conservation, sound waste management practices and use of environmentally friendly building materials.

Granville Road, London, NW2

This two bedroom apartment is currently on the market within the development at £536,000 and is within easy walking distance from Golders Green Station.

Contact Winkworth Golders Green for details.

Finally, and featured recently in the Times and the Metro, Bay House as shown below, has a zero-carbon footprint because it is heated entirely by renewable energy via a Mitsubishi air source heat pump.

Court Street, Nayland, Colchester, CO6

Built in the 18th century, the three bedroom house in Nayland, a village six miles from Colchester, has a cinema room/study in the basement and fantastic views across grade I listed Alston Court from the first-floor drawing room; one of three reception rooms.

Contact Winkworth Long Melford for further information.

Creating an eco house can involve adding renewable technology to an existing house or building a new home with sustainable design at the heart of the plan. However large your ambitions – or your budget – there are ways for everyone to improve the carbon footprint of their home, and environmental impact is set to become an increasingly important factor in purchase decisions.

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