Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

For sale: the eco-house that costs nothing to run

Northern Ireland’s first A-rated house was unveiled today.

The five-bedroom property in Holywood is the province’s first carbon neutral home, which means it has no running costs.

And the lucky home-owner who buys the 2,500 sq ft, high-tech home is set to save thousands of pounds a year with no gas, electricty or heating bills to pay.

The new residents won’t even have to pay rates as carbon neutral homes are zero-rated for the levy.

And the builder has claimed that number 5a The Esplanade is so energy efficient, that Northern Ireland Electricity will owe the home-owner £200 at the end of the year as the property generates its own electricity through solar panels, with water heated by an air source pump.

The A Energy Performance Certificate is the first to be issued in Northern Ireland, making this house the most energy efficient. The average rating for houses is E.

The innovative new property, built by Sky Developments, harnesses all the available technology in a bid to keep running costs at rock bottom.

The property was constructed using SIPs (structural insulated panels), because of their superior heat retaining ability rather than traditional blocks.

It also has quadruple glazing in all the windows and solar panels on the roof.

Meanwhile, remote-controlled blinds also minimise the effects of the sun during the summer months.

There is underfloor heating to the first floor, but Stephen McCready, managing director of Sky Developments, has claimed it is not necessary: “The underfloor heating is there in case someone wants to use it, but it will not need to be on because of the superior level of insulation here.”

Other state-of-the-art features include a ventilation system which takes cold air from outside feeding it to where it is required every 15 minutes, resulting in a condensation-free home.

The one-off home, which has sea views and a south-facing back garden, is due for completion in two weeks, when it will go on the market with an asking price in the region of £700,000.

Stephen said: “The technology here will provide 130% of electricity required for lighting, heating and cooking.

“The largest watt light bulb is 18w and there is a fuel-burning stove. The total emissions for this house are 0.21 tonnes a year.”

When complete, the high tech property will have an open plan reception room, kitchen with designer appliances, five bedrooms, three bathrooms, plasma screen TVs, pre-programmed Lutron lighting, a terrace, garage with utility room and garden.

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