Call for extension of social housing energy rule

Families who buy homes built by private developers in the next two years will be hit with higher energy bills because new regulations won't enforce high efficiency standards, it has been claimed.

According to the National Housing Federation, people who buy privately built homes between now and April 2010 will end up spending £75 more on energy bills than those living in housing association accommodation built in the same period.

The National Housing Federation, which represents housing associations, said social housing was now required to meet level three of the Code for Sustainable Homes, which meant carbon emissions would have to be slashed by 25 per cent.

But privately developed houses do not have to meet the same standards until 2010, although it is now mandatory to have a rating for new homes against the code.

The federation wants private homes to meet the same standards as housing association homes, in order to drive down the costs of installing energy efficient measures in all properties.

The NHF said research by the organisation showed that a family buying a privately built house will spend £1,477 more on gas and electricity in the first 20 years than their social housing equivalents.

And if they were to re-fit their home with eco-friendly technology and improvements such as energy efficient 'argon' windows and super-efficient combi boilers, it could cost as much as £11,000, the federation said.

The NHF's chief executive David Orr said: "Our research shows that homes built by private developers over the next two years will not only emit more carbon than those built by housing associations, but also hit their owners in the pocket.

"The Government should compel private developers to meet the same energy efficiency targets as associations, as this would benefit both the planet and house-buyers."

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: "Through the Code for Sustainable Homes the Government has set the strictest timetable for reducing carbon emissions in new build homes anywhere in the world.

"That's why we're leading by example by making it a requirement that all Government funded housing from April 2008 is built at least to the Code's three star level.

"We have already tightened building standards for all new build homes, whether publicly or privately funded, delivering a 40 per way improvement in energy efficiency compared to 2002 levels, and we will go further still in tackling climate change by making all new homes zero carbon from 2016."

Image: David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation

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