Britain’s first “zero bills” housing estate is to be built – where hi-tech eco homes will generate enough electricity to make their owners £1,000 profit annually.
The group of 91 properties will have solar-panelled roofs that create all the electricity they need – and have enough spare to sell back to the national grid.
Developers ZEDprojects have got planning permission to build the zero carbon village on seven acres in Bickleigh Down, on the outskirts of Plymouth, Devon.
They estimate that a similar five-bed, 141 square metre, detached house in the same area costs about £960 a year for gas and power.
Their “no bills” counterparts should generate so much electricity that excess can be sold for an annual profit of £965 – leaving homeworkers £1,925 better off.
The only drawback is the cost of the futuristic timber-framed properties, which will cost £160,000 or £1,135 per square metre, compared to £141,000 or £1,000 a square metre, for a conventional building.
Architect Bill Dunster said: “It does cost more to build to this standard. But if you compare it to a normal building and a conventional energy bill, there will be slightly less money leaving your bank account every month.
“And the best thing is that you fix your fuel prices for the next 20 years. Energy bills are going to go up substantially over the next five years.”
Homebuyers sick of soaring utility bills can choose from seven different property types – then help assemble them themselves from a kit.
Owners of electric cars will also be able to get free-fuel motoring by plugging into their own supply.
Mr Dunster said the key to the house’s amazing energy efficiency would be its solar panels which double as a roof, rather than the typical design where photovoltaic panels rest on an existing structure.
The panels have an output of 6KW to 9KW, double that of a conventional system.
ZEDprojects hopes the eco village will be a blueprint for similar environmentally-friendly housing estates across the UK
Mr Dunster designed the country’s first zero-carbon development, BedZED, which was completed in Hackbridge, south London, in 2002.
Developer Charles Everard said: “We are not like other developers, filling up the whole landscape with houses. We are keeping the village green.
“We think people will come here because of the chance to build their own community and to manage the woodland.”