Eco-Homes - Positive attitude to eco-homes points way to a greener future

Key Highlights:

  • 87% would not oppose retro fitting of green technology for houses
  • 86% want more information on impact of eco-measures in the home
  • 59% are willing to pay a premium for an eco-home
  • 43% consider environmental features important to current purchase

A report (‘Eco-homes, economically sustainable?’) published by Knight Frank LLP and EC Harris LLP reveals an optimistic assessment of attitudes towards eco-home development in the UK.

Recognising that although the Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) is voluntary at present it is already having a positive impact on attitudes towards property development and purchase. However the report also identifies concern among developers about both the cost levels and current availability of technological solutions aimed at achieving the government’s zero carbon targets by 2016, especially in the context of apartment schemes.

Despite this and the survey showing that practical considerations such as price, proximity to schools and privacy were of most importance to house purchase, environmental issues were a significant issue with 43% of respondents.

This attitudinal change in favour of eco-measures was more accentuated for future property purchase with 76% claiming energy efficiency to be an important factor. In fact 96% of respondents considered low running costs a significant factor for their property with 58% recognising the cost saving benefits of renewable energy sources as being important.

The report also shows that households who were installing energy efficient mechanism in their homes at present tend to opt for more traditional methods such as double glazing and roof insulation over more technological solutions. This is balanced by the finding that 87% said they would not oppose retro-fitting of further energy efficient features if such measures became compulsory and 86% receptive to the offer of more information on the subject of eco-measures.

Investing in high quality design is also seen as an important factor in the future. In this respect the prime development market, especially in London, has been a leading area for eco-experimentation in recent years and the report’s authors cite Morpheus Development’s Clareville Street in London SW7 as ‘a good example in a prime market setting’.

They also point to a mixed use development outside London, Urban Splash’s Lake Shore development in Bristol, as an example of how modern design and construction methods reflect ‘the emergence of a distinctive eco-friendly niche market.’

This focus on ‘strongly designed products combined with energy efficiency have led to pricing premiums in some schemes’ the report says. As a cautionary note it adds that once eco-homes become the norm, as required by the CSH, developers will face the challenge of how to maintain the bold architecture, design and build quality in future projects. However, with the survey showing 59% of respondents ‘would be willing to pay a premium for an eco-home’ the rewards are there.

Liam Bailey, head of residential research at Knight Frank commented:

“Over the next decade we expect to see the three strands of eco-awareness, design quality and place making, combining in terms of market placement – the key for developers is to ensure they are able to capitalise on these themes. However in the short-term the slow down in the housing market is causing many, especially first time buyers to put affordability above environmental priorities.”

Mark Farmer, head of private residential at EC Harris said:

“The real challenge for the industry is how to deliver the required step change towards zero carbon by 2016 within the parameters of technical and financial viability. Despite the likely increase in market sentiment towards eco friendly residential product and the ability for developers to drive value, the current cost premiums for compliance are not sustainable in real terms. Innovation and supply chain diversification will be key to creating a viable platform for delivery of zero carbon homes in the future.”

Courtesy: Knight Frank LLP & EC Harris LLP

Knight Frank LLP provides strategic advice, consultancy services and forecasting to a wide range of clients worldwide including developers, investors, funding organisations, corporate institutions and the public sector. All our clients recognise the need for expert independent advice customised to their specific needs.

EC Harris LLP is a leading international consultancy working on the real estate, industrial, infrastructure and construction sectors. The firm brings together professional skills, developed processes and information to successfully deliver all aspects of a capital project and its on-going operation. This consultancy can advise on the initial investment through each stage of construction to occupation and day-to-day operations. EC Harris has 45 wholly owned offices worldwide employing over 3,000 people and an annual Group turnover of £250 million.

For further information, please contact:

Liam Bailey, Head of Residential Research, Knight Frank
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 020 7861 5133
Mob: 07919 303 148

Mark Farmer, Head of Private Residential, EC Harris
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 020 7812 2910

Tania McNally, residential development PR, Knight Frank
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 020 7861 1068

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