First factory-built homes to guarantee zero energy bills

Aaron Morby 5 months ago
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A modular housing pioneer and a specialist alternative asset manager are set to deliver homes that promise zero energy bills, saving new owners up to £40,000 over 20 years.

Zero bills home designed for Essex scheme
Zero bills home designed for Essex scheme

Offsite specialist ilke Homes, in partnership with Gresham House and shared ownership agent SO Resi, will install the factory-built home on a site in Stanford-le-Hope, Essex as part of a wider 153-home scheme.

To reach the ZERO bills specification, as it is branded, ilke Homes will install low-carbon technologies to provide cheap, clean energy.

Rooftop solar panels will produce electricity to power the home’s air source heat pump, which provides all heating and hot water.

Crucially ilke Homes will also install battery technology into the home. This allows any excess electricity, usually sent back to the grid, to be stored for later use.

The two-storey family home, which is to be made available for shared ownership, will be precision-engineered along production lines at ilke Homes’ factory in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire. Once complete, the home will be transported to site and craned into place in a matter of hours.

By harnessing artificial intelligence, robotics, and digital design, ilke said it is capable of creating homes that are incredibly well insulated, meaning less heat escapes and consequently reducing bills.

ZERO bills specification


  • Fabric: walls, floors and roofs are highly insulated, while all windows and doors are airtight to retain heat and stops draughts. Being manufactured in a factory – as opposed to a field – results in a higher quality output
  • Efficiency: highly efficient LED lighting that uses less than a quarter of the energy of a halogen bulb is incorporated into the design, as well efficient water fittings and ventilation systems
  • Renewable energy: fossil-fuel gas boilers replaced by low-carbon air source heat pumps that use a third of the energy. In addition, solar panels, which can now cost less than traditional roof tiles, generate more electricity than a house requires, providing free energy for consumers and income from exported electricity

The ZERO bills home is being delivered at Hope Green, a 153-home shared ownership development in Stanford-le-Hope, Essex that is being funded by Gresham House Residential Secure Income LP. As part of further enhancements to the project, Gresham House and ilke Homes will also be delivering 101 operational zero-carbon homes via the company’s ilke ZERO offering.

Launched in July 2021, ilke ZERO aims to deliver 1,000 operational zero-carbon homes per year for major investors, housing associations, and councils across the UK. The homes have already been trialled in London, Newcastle, Gateshead, Newark, and Sunderland, and are now ready to be rolled out en masse.

Giles Carter, CEO at ilke Homes, said: “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.”

Alistair Wardell, Investment Director at Gresham House, said: “We are committed to helping alleviate the shortage of affordable housing in the UK and to delivering sustainable and innovative solutions to this problem.

“This project will deliver real-world benefits to residents in Hope Green and is another step on the journey towards widespread development of net zero residential homes across the UK.”

 

 

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