Sunday, 24 May 2015

Ministers given zero carbon proposals

The Zero Carbon Hub has published its final report on the energy efficiency standards that all new homes will meet from 2016.

The hub’s report confirms a lowering of targets for offsetting carbon emissions using renewable energy generators such as photovoltaic panels, and rejects calls for local authorities to have a say on zero carbon targets as part of the government’s commitment to localism.

But a number of key decisions, such as how much money developers might pay for ‘allowable solutions’, which are fees used to pay for green infrastructure or possibly retrofit work, have been deferred to the government.

Under previous definitions of zero carbon, developers were expected to use renewable technologies to make up 70 per cent of the 150 per cent reduction in carbon emissions from a home. The hub today confirmed that it would water this down to make zero carbon development viable. The new targets are roughly 60 per cent for detached houses, 56 per cent for other houses and 44 per cent for low-rise apartment blocks.

But developers will now have to demonstrate that their homes meet the zero carbon definition once they have been built, rather than simply using the design of the properties, as before.

A target for high-rise blocks will require further specialised, work, the report says. It also recommends that the government takes regional weather patterns into account when considering whether a development is zero carbon.

The recommendations will now go before housing minister Grant Shapps before a final definition is announced. David Adams, director of the hub, said: ‘These recommendations to the minister represent an important step toward finalising a workable definition for zero carbon homes.

‘Whilst the 2016 commitment may seem some way off, an early statement by ministers in response to these recommendations will further build confidence that the zero carbon objective is achievable and on track to be delivered.’

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