WHEN they were looking for their forever home, saving time and energy on DIY was a priority for Ken and Michelle Apple-Perry – the fact that it was net zero was a bonus.

The couple relocated from Maidenhead in Berkshire to a new build home from the Edenstone Group at St Mary’s Garden Village in Ross on Wye.

In doing so, they’ve reduced their energy bills to just a fraction of what they were paying previously – despite moving to a larger property. Plus, they can earn from any surplus solar generation they export back to the National Grid.

Michelle explained: “As recent newly-weds we wanted somewhere that would be our together, forever home.  We had a tiny two-bedroom maisonette so wanted something more spacious, and closer to where my daughter lives.

“We were specifically looking for a new build for the convenience. I’d bought a new build before and liked the idea of a 10-year warranty and didn’t want to spend a lot of time on repairs that an older property was likely to need.”

They chose a three-bedroom semi-detached Chepstow style property, with a lounge at the front and a combined kitchen and dining area with French doors opening out to the rear garden.

“We liked the idea of having three bedrooms and three bathrooms – including the family bathroom, en-suite to the main bedroom and downstairs cloakroom. The Chepstow ticked all the boxed for us,” Ken added.

“The fact that it was net zero was an added bonus. We liked the idea but didn’t realise we could get something as advanced as this within our price range.  It has solar panels with a battery backup. Everything is electric. We have ceramic panels in the ceiling rather than radiators and a water tank that heats up between 3am and 6am, when electricity is cheaper.”

Their home is part of Edenstone’s wider ambitions to move to net zero energy across all its developments by 2025, thereby reducing energy bills for its customers.

Along with solar panels the couple’s home also includes the Wondrwall home automation and energy management solution.

Initial indications are that the system is already outperforming average predictions, generating more energy than it consumes.

“The first month the solar panels were connected our energy bill was £20 and the last one was £50, but the weather hadn’t been so good,” Michelle explained.

“We know in the winter we’ll pay more but we don’t expect it to be more than £100 a month. On our previous property we were paying about £200 a month for gas and electricity and that was with solar panels too.”

Michelle works from home as an accountant, which offered them flexibility in terms of the location of their new home, while Ken had recently retired.

“We’d been looking at other developments but when we came to St Mary’s Garden Village it was so pretty. It’s a short walk into the town, and there’s a good area to walk our dogs – it looked like a really nice place to retire to,” Michelle recalled.

“Moving has made a huge difference. I can have an office and a spare room, which is great for our grandchildren to visit. Our neighbours are wonderful, it’s a really lovely place to live. We moved in knowing no one and I think I have more friends here now than I did after 20 years of living in Maidenhead.”

Edenstone operations director Chris Edge said: “We’re extremely proud of our green credentials. We built our first zero carbon home in the Vale of Glamorgan in 2019 and are working hard to realise a long-held ambition of leading the development of mainstream net zero energy homes at scale. As part of our commitment to creating sustainable communities, alongside new homes at St Mary’s Garden Village we’ve also built a net zero energy community hub. It should produce all the energy it requires and feedback any surplus into the grid.”

Nestled on the outskirts of Ross on Wye, St Mary’s Garden Village will eventually feature 348 homes and community facilities including a play area, formal garden, allotments, walking and fitness trails with equipment, community hub with gym, kickabout and cycle-hire.

There’s a range of properties from two to four-bedroom styles available from the Edenstone Group’s two housing brands – Edenstone Homes and Bluebell Homes.

For the latest availability and pricing see www.edenstonehomes.com/st-marys-garden-village, or www.bluebellhomes.co.uk/stmarys.