Supposed 'Eco-Friendly' Homes Doubled Owners' Energy Bills

Pavilion Gardens: Eco-friendly homes?

They were supposed to be the models of environmentally-friendly construction, but these supposedly "green" homes at Pavilion Gardens -- that promised to keep energy efficiency high and electricity bills low -- did anything but.

Despite being highly insulated and packed with green features -- heated, supposedly, by biomass boilers or air heat pumps, and equipped with solar panels -- homeowners at Pavilion Gardens complain that their homes are racking up bills twice as much as a regular electricity bill.

Pavilion Gardens electric bill"We thought it was going to be our dream house," resident Sunny Tanday told The Daily Mail. Tanday's electricity bills have been averaging 500 British pounds (around $780) a quarter, and he has had to borrow money just to cover the charges. "[The homes] are not what we expected them to be in terms of power-saving and being cheap to run. We moved in here to be a family, but it's just tearing us apart because the big bills are making us argue all the time. There are people in the street who already want to move out because it's just too expensive."

These people include neighbors Danny and Jacqueline Hall, who echoed the Tanday family's concerns. After only six months of living at Pavilion Gardens, the Halls received a bill for 1,600 pounds -- almost double what they paid at their previous (non "eco-friendly") home.

The problems weren't just financial, either. When the Halls moved into their home, there was no water in the toilets because the water recycling system had not been activated. Other residents also complained of faulty equipment.

A spokesman for the Bradford Council, where Pavilion Gardens is located, has assured The Daily Mail that they will work with residents to "find a solution" to the problem. But if that doesn't work, Pavilion Gardens residents can always turn to off-grid living for a guaranteed reduction in energy costs (or, for the brave-hearted, school bus living).

Build Your Own Eco-Friendly House
See Gallery
Supposed 'Eco-Friendly' Homes Doubled Owners' Energy Bills

Home is wherever you want it to be. This 150-square-foot home can be shipped almost anywhere and then assembled like Ikea furniture in about four days.

House Arc was created as an emergency shelter for disaster victims, but it could also be a cool guesthouse for the backyard.

According to architect Joseph Bellomo, it can be put together on site by anyone who has simple carpentry skills in about four days.

"We designed it to be a kit house that can be assembled quickly -- like prefab furniture," he said.

Just as importantly, it can be easily disassembled and shipped to where it's needed again, he said.

Source: CNNMoney

The curved structure of the House Arc allows for more space, light and air.

For Bellomo, it was important that the modular home be attractive and comfortable, especially for those who may have lost all of their belongings in a disaster.

Plumbing, a ceiling fan and solar panels can be added.

Source: CNNMoney

The House Arc is designed to ship in a 3-by-4-by-10-foot container box, a lot smaller than the container Bellomo used to ship a prototype to Hawaii for a client.

One house currently costs a hefty $55,000, but Bellomo hopes to slash the cost at least in half by mass-producing the units.

Source: CNNMoney

Bellomo designed House Arc with an egg in mind.

Eggshells tend to be strong because the curves distribute loads along the surface rather than concentrating the weight all in one place as they would be on a flat plane.

Bellomo said House Arc can withstand high winds due to its tubular steel structure. His firm has worked with this material before, building bike shelters.

"The connections are super strong," he said. "There are no wall-to-wall connections, which are inherently weak."

Source: CNNMoney

House Arc is eco-friendly with a roof that can support solar panels for energy generation, windows that allow for cross ventilation, a shade trellis, and a raised floor that air can flow under and cool the interior.

Bellomo said that it can be insulated to endure cold temperatures as well, making another potential use as a hunting cabin.

Source: CNNMoney


See also:
Solar Power at Home Saves Money
Green Living for Renters
7 Green Home Trends: From Baby Steps to Extreme Updates

More on AOL Real Estate:
Find out how to
calculate mortgage payments.
homes for sale in your area.
foreclosures in your area.
Find homes for rent in your area.

Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate, or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebookand Pinterest.

Eco-Friendly Kitchen Makeover
Read Full Story

Find a home

Powered by Zillow