GOVERNMENT-backed affordable homes specialist, Plumlife, is seeing a sharp rise in demand for its eco-friendly homes with top-grade insulation and energy-efficient features. And the recent arctic conditions are set to ignite even more interest when potential buyers get their post-cold snap heating bills.

According to property website, Rightmove, new homes are up to four times more energy efficient than a traditional second-hand home.

And a recent YouGov survey for the New Homes Marketing Board revealed the ‘green factor’ has climbed into buyers’ top 10 criteria – overtaking even considerations such as location.

Plumlife, part of the award winning Manchester-based Great Places Housing Group, builds highly-insulated homes across the north west, ensuring they are as snug as possible. From chic urban apartments, to family houses in the countryside, all require a low level of energy to keep homes warm and condensation-free. Other eco-features include: • Homes orientated to ensure (as far as possible) they benefit from solar energy • Super insulation levels well above current building regulations requirements • Double or even triple glazing • A + rated ultra efficient condensing gas boiler systems Sarah McClelland, environmental officer for Plumlife, part of the Great Places Housing Group, said: “Homeowners who already live in one of our energy efficient homes will be saving a fortune during the current cold snap.

“Where we can, we use the very latest energy saving, renewable technology, including solar panels to produce electricity or hot water and heat pumps which can be up to four times more efficient than traditional heating systems. Some of our large family households pay less than £300 per year on heating bills.”

Plumlife specialises in helping first time buyers on to the property ladder, with the help of government-backed schemes for any household earning under £60,000. These include Shared Ownership, Rent To HomeBuy and a new equity loan scheme, Homebuy Direct.

Matthew Harrison, deputy chief executive of Plumlife, said: “Old terraces ripe for doing up used to be the first choice for first-time buyers. But today’s young professionals are short of both time and disposable cash, and they want places they don’t need to do anything to, or spend any real money on, other than their mortgage. “Electricity and gas costs have increased year on year, and are predicted to rise significantly over the next ten years. A new build home is a smart choice for anyone looking to reduce bills.”