As reported by Property Investor Today – May 2019

Eco-homes – are these the property investments of the future …?

With environmental issues high up on the news agenda and a recent rise in sustainable living, there has been an increasing focus in recent months on eco-friendly homes and developments that could help us all to live more sustainably in the future.

Whether through David Attenborough’s latest BBC documentary, the controversial Extinction Rebellion protests, the activism of Greta Thunberg and other schoolchildren across the globe, or the strong performance of green parties in recent elections, there is a greater awareness than ever of the threats posed by climate change and global warming and how these can be tackled or offset.

One housebuilder, Newark-based Gusto Homes, is doing its bit by building the second phase of an eco-development near Lincoln.

Nestled on a leafy 12-acre site just five miles from Lincoln city centre, Woodlands Edge has its own private woodland, as well as a tennis court, ponds and an allotment for every household. The company, who have been specialising in eco-housing since 1999, is aiming to lead the way in the future of eco-housing.

Once complete, the development – whose first phase was completed around two years ago, with a further 11 homes currently being built – will contain just 29 homes. On other sites of a similar size you would typically expect to see approximately 100.

“Twenty years’ experience of building eco-homes has gone into this site, not just the sustainable houses but the community element as well,” Steff Wright, Gusto Homes chief executive, who lives on the development himself, said.

“We’ve really pushed the boundaries and built something absolutely unique in terms of the energy performance of the houses and the lifestyle. This is how housing should be.”

The 11 homes currently being built consist of six four-beds and five two-beds, ranging in price from £300,000 to £499,000.

The homes are all fully electric, with solar panels and electric car charging points coming as standard. They generate the majority of their power from the integrated solar panels on the roof and also contain air filtration and heat recovery systems, while the heating can be controlled by a smartphone app. Typically, running costs are less than £1 a day.

However, the house-builder is keen to insist that its eco-credentials are only a small part of life at Woodlands Edge, with everybody who purchases a property also getting a share in the resident-owned management company, giving them input into improving and managing the site.

There’s also a desire for a strong community vibe to be created, with regular activities on offer including Bollywood dance classes, tai chi lessons and even an annual gin festival. Meanwhile, for those that really want to get their hands dirty, there’s a plant store on site containing lawnmowers and rotavators, while regular working parties are organised to carry out tasks such as bulb planting.