Frugal fires


Not only do fires and stoves provide a luxurious traditional aesthetic, but they can now also achieve high levels of energy efficiency. Annabelle Carvell of Stovax gives the argument for why they should be high on developers’ agenda.

New build homes are designed for energy efficiency – they tend to be cheaper to run, with ‘sealed’ rooms and improved water bills, not to mention being much warmer than older houses. On top of this, they come with the appeal of an easy move experience that cuts out long chains, plus the available finishing touches and upgrades give the customer the same sense of satisfaction from renovating an older home, but with much less stress. So, what makes a stove or fire an essential centrepiece, when it seems that a new build property already has it all?

The saying goes that we consume with our eyes. Developers’ showhomes already do an excellent job of ‘building the lifestyle’ in a visual way, so that prospective owners can truly imagine themselves in the comfort of a new home – but what visually differentiates one developer from another?

Enter the stove or fire. Including a fireplace within a new build property at the ‘discovery point’ in the customer journey adds an extra edge that allows the developer to stand out against their competition. The fireplace is often seen as the heart of the house, around which the entire family spends their time creating that feeling we call ‘home.’ It makes sense to include a fireplace to sell the bigger picture, and include a glimpse of the character and interest that customers often are looking to inject into their future property to truly make it their own.

Additionally, a stove or fire can invite a sense of luxury. Installation does not need to be complex either – while there are plenty of options with woodburning or gas appliances, one of the easiest ways to create a homely atmosphere is to install an electric fire. This only requires a threepin plug socket to function, so can easily be built into the scheme of a showhome, and offers an easy way to add value to the property as a functional and fashionable finishing touch. With energy efficiency on the top of the agenda, today’s electric fires feature a host of energy-saving features, including open window detection, scheduled heating, and much more that goes hand-in-hand with a typical new build home.

Talking of energy, the benefits of a stove or fire go beyond their aesthetics. Although new build homes already boast a warmer environment, a stove offers the ability to warm rooms without using central heating. An electric fireplace goes a step further, letting the customer enjoy the ambience of a fire with or without the heat. This is an essential feature in a new build property in particular, as localised on-demand heat is a must for an already efficient environment.

So, what are the different fuel types, and what are their benefits to the new build? It’s easy to see the appeal of an electric fireplace from the start – the convenient heat, energy-saving features, ease of installation, plus the ability to ‘upsell’ with a luxury item and finishing touch in the property.

Gas offers a similar degree of convenience, with most offering remote control access, and some even offering app-based control. Living flames can be turned on or off at the touch of a button, and some are even available for fitting into the internal leaf of a cavity wall – so no chimney is required at all. It’s a happy medium between the ultra-modern electric fireplace, and the real woodburner.

Finally, for most, the allure of real flames and logs is what draws them into purchasing a woodburning stove, but many believe a real woodburner is out of their reach if they own a new build property as typically it is only older houses that come ready with a chimney for making their own. By simply opting for a prefabricated system that works in the same way as a chimney, a developer is able to not only offer all of the appeal of the new build property, but also the real experience of burning wood in the home – offering the customer all of the character and charm they might otherwise believe is not possible from a brand new build.

Annabelle Carvell is communications officer at Stovax.