Carbon cut targets slashed for house builders
The government has scaled back carbon reduction targets for house builders that will come into force ahead of the move to ‘zero carbon’ in 2016.
A consultation on building regulations published this week suggested a target for a 25 per cent reduction on 2002 levels by 2013, which was proposed by the Labour government, should be cut to 8 per cent so schemes remain viable.
Andrew Eagles, managing director of Sustainable Homes, said: ‘Many organisations are already meeting this target, and those in London building to code level 4 are exceeding it. It’s too low and will leave too great a jump to zero carbon in 2016.’
The government also backed calls from the Zero Carbon Hub to introduce a benchmark for quality assurance - a Publicly Available Specification that would narrow the gap between the calculated and actual - or ‘as built’ - performance of buildings.
As part of this it proposes the post-construction testing of the energy efficiency of new build properties to ensure they meet the Publicly Available Specification standards.
The consultation also suggested if a council wanted to set environmental targets for new homes higher than the building regulations then it would be subject to viability testing under the National Planning Policy Framework.
The NPPF has caused controversy over the ambiguity of its presumption towards ‘sustainable development’.
The planned changes to building regulations would also force landlords to undertake energy efficiency works when carrying out extensions and conversions, in move designed to boost take up of the green deal scheme.
Dr Neil Cutland, director of Cutland Consulting, said the introduction of consequential improvements was ‘brilliant’ but warned that this was the third time they had been mooted - and each time they had been abandoned due to fears it could cause a slump in the construction market.