Featured image for Achieving zero-energy bills

Achieving zero-energy bills

In a time where energy costs are rising and the impact of climate change is becoming increasingly evident, reducing energy bills is not just a matter of financial savings but also a vital step towards sustainability.

For many homes, the struggle with energy bills is a major concern. In England for example, the number of households officially classed as “in fuel poverty” is expected to increase to 14.4% (3.53 million) this year.

To combat this issue it is crucial to focus on innovative building design. In this article we discuss new opportunities to realise the dream of zero-energy bills.

The zero-energy bill

Leading energy suppliers are now presenting real possibilities of achieving zero-energy bills for new projects. This ambitious goal involves not only designing to reduce energy consumption but also implementing strategies for generating and storing renewable energy. If certain design criteria can be met, suppliers such as Octopus Energy are willing to offer occupants 5 years of free energy.

Energy efficiency

From the concept design stage, it is essential to focus on energy efficiency to achieve the predicted energy use targets set by energy suppliers. This means designing high performing thermal envelopes, using heat recovery and installing low hot water use fittings.

Collaborating with suppliers, we have been able to understand how their schemes operate in detail and what they can offer to occupants. Then, through approved calculation processes, we work with the supplier on the client’s behalf to demonstrate that the buildings meet the energy use criteria.

Orford mews V21

Zero fossil fuels and renewable energy

Eliminating fossil fuels is a key part of the requirement, alongside local solar power generation. This can mean designing the roof to fit solar module sizes in order to maximise the installed capacity. Orientation, pitch and minimising shading are other key concepts.

Heat pumps are another important renewable energy solution although other forms of electric heating can be viable.

Energy storage

The final ingredient is energy storage. Currently the requirement is a dedicated battery, however in the future we hope other forms such as Vehicle to Home (V2H) will become allowable.

The design of the system is important as the storage system must meet certain size and manufacturer specifications to ensure effective energy storage and management.

Early stage commitment - case studies

The Arbour, a scheme we recently completed alongside developers GS8 and architects Studio Anyo, was able to secure zero-energy bills with the energy supplier for a minimum period of 5 years. These nine mews homes in Walthamstow are powered by large solar arrays and use heat pumps, intelligent energy management systems and have a dedicated battery set.

Currently, we are also working on a modular timber home development aiming to secure zero-energy bills for affordable homes to be built around the country.

If you are interested in achieving zero energy bills for your scheme please get in touch to find out more: hello@integrationuk.com