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New ‘Zero Bills’ Green Homes Scheme to Launch in Essex

The first two ZERO bills homes built in North Yorkshire.
The first two 'zero bills' homes, which will be made available for shared ownership, have been engineered at Ilke Homes’ factory in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire. (Image credit: Octopus Energy)

A new green homes trial in Essex is being launched where residents may not have to pay energy bills. 

Octopus Energy has joined forces with housebuilder Ilke Homes for the trial which is designed to encourage households to move away from fossil fuels. 

The renewable eco homes built under the scheme will include an air source heat pump, solar panels and solar batteries - technologies which can all help homeowners pay less for their energy usage.

The pilot trial will consist of a pair of two-bedroom, semi-detached family homes in Stanford-le-Hope, Essex, which will available to buy under shared ownership in the coming weeks. There are plans to expand the scheme to more than 10,000 homes by 2030. 

The homeowners will be signed up to a bespoke Octopus tariff whereby, provided they do not use more than 10MWh of energy, they will not have to pay energy bills. Octopus estimates this is triple the standard annual usage of a household. 

However, while the low-carbon technologies installed in the homes will save them on long-term costs, they will have to pay an extra £8,000-£9,000 when they purchase the new homes. 

The Premise is to ‘Empower Customers’

Energy price rises hit millions of households in April, and Ofgem confirmed in May that the Energy Price Cap will again rise in October, this time to £2,800, which could mean millions of households pay an extra £800 per year. 

Octopus and Ilke say the ‘zero bills’ households will save over £2,000 on energy costs per year based on current prices. 

Giles Carter, CEO at Ilke Homes, said: “The premise of this partnership is to both empower consumers, who are faced with one of the worst cost-of-living crises in decades, and demonstrate that net-zero and construction can work hand in hand.”

Greg Jackson, founder of Octopus Energy Group, added: “This is yet another demonstration that clean energy is cheap energy, and the best answer to the fossil fuel crisis is accelerating the transition to renewables.”

Jack has worked in journalism for 11 years and is the News Editor for Homebuilding & Renovating, a role he has had since 2019. He strives to break the most relevant and beneficial stories for self builders, extenders and renovators, including the latest news on the construction materials shortage and hydrogen heating. In 2021 he appeared on BBC's The World at One to discuss the government's planning reforms. 


He enjoys testing new tools and gadgets, and having bought his first home in 2013, he has renovated every room and recently finished a garden renovation.