Let’s talk about eco houses: Insuring a non-standard home in the UK

A few weeks ago there was a news article about a new zero carbon neighbourhood in South Wales getting the green light for construction.

Homes in this neighbourhood will be built to generate more energy than they use, replacing energy drawn from the grids during times like cold snaps with clean energy during leaner months.

Exciting, isn’t it?

Sustainability is no different from other frameworks; it is often easier to incorporate right from the start rather than inserting piecemeal into already existing systems. Of course, this is a luxury not afforded to pioneers.

The oldest house in Britain might be a stone house built in Saltford, Somerset which contains details from as far back as the 12th Century AD.

Houses like those are few and far between. Much more common are Georgian, Edwardian, Victorian and 1930s semis, with the odd art deco building thrown in for variety.

Upgrading old homes and building new houses is a great way to address one of the critical issues of the day – the housing crisis in the UK. As technology improves, older homes are being retrofitted in some very cool ways, making them much more energy efficient and habitable.

Last year, our blog featured two guest posts on retrofitting.

Retrofitting with Natural Materials offered a peek into architect Natalie Black’s new and improved London home while How to live in comfort and style and reduce your energy bill! showcased the home of architects Marion Baeli and Robert Prewett.

Another great example of retrofit is the Zetland Road Passive House in Manchester, retrofitted by Ecospheric. This home was the first in Europe to achieve Passivhaus EnerPHit Plus certification.

One of the unintended consequences of ventures like this though is that the insurance industry struggles with insuring homes that are different since it does not know how to judge the risk that comes with new territory.

It does not yet have a benchmark for these non-standard homes, which makes getting insurance for such constructions a challenge for home owners.

As the UK works towards incorporating green practices into the construction industry, it is critical that the insurance industry not lag behind.

Cheeky little note – If you’re struggling to find insurance for a home that falls outside the scope of standard construction, check out Naturesave Insurance. As one of the premier providers of green and ethical insurance in the UK, they specialise in insurance for unusual homes and non-standard construction. Some of the houses insured through them have been featured on Grand Designs!


Preeti is the Marketing Manager at Blue Patch. Born and raised in India, she spent some time in the US, completing a degree in Psychology and Biology, after which she moved to the UK in 2010 to study an MSc in Finance and Management. She can often be found obsessing over her plants, trying to clamp down on an ever-increasing collection of nail polish or exploring and taking photos of random corners of London. She likes unusual homes, particularly interiors, though her own style tends to contemporary and minimal, and enjoys Grand Design. People build such cool homes sometimes.

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Retrofitting with natural materials

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How to reduce your energy bills via retrofitting

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