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Zero Carbon Homes House of Lords News
Sustainable Housing UK: British Built Environment Policy News
27 Apr 2016
House of Lords Zero Carbon Homes Ruling
House of Lords Reinstate Zero Carbon Homes Policy
In a report published today the House of Lords ‘Select Committee on National Policy for the Built Environment’ announced a strong statement to the Government to reinstate the Zero Carbon new homes standard.
Amongst other items it concludes:
“The Government should reverse its decision to remove the requirement for new homes to generate no net carbon emissions (known as the “zero carbon homes” policy)…. The Government must set out and implement a viable trajectory towards energy efficiency and carbon reduction in new homes.”
House of Lords Select Committee on National Policy for the Built Environment – Zero Carbon Homes Excerpts
53. As part of its wider effort to increase housing supply the Government has also committed to reducing the amount and extent of regulation facing housebuilders. This was emphasised in the Productivity Plan, which stated that the Government did not intend to proceed with the zero carbon allowable solutions carbon offsetting scheme, or an increase in on-site energy efficiency standards that had been proposed for 2016.
201. In July 2015, the Government announced it was scrapping a proposed regulation to require all new homes to be carbon neutral from 2016, known as the “zero carbon homes” (zch) policy.213 This was justified in the Government’s 2015 “Productivity Plan” on the grounds that it was seeking to continue to reduce the overall burden of regulation on housebuilders.
204. Elaborating on this point, we were told that the removal of the zero carbon homes requirement had generated uncertainty for housebuilders: “In the last 10 years we have had this very clear trajectory and everyone has known where they are going and have had a lot of time to put in place the strategies. Now we do not know where we are going. We do not know when the next update to building regulations might be and, therefore, industry has nothing to place its investment in. Not only have we had wasted investment, but we now have no replacement trajectory. The arguments for repeated investment next time, based on a governmental policy, will be much harder to make”.
206. We disagree with the Government’s decision to remove the zero carbon homes policy and the Code for Sustainable Homes. These decisions are likely to add to long-term housing costs through a reduction in energy efficiency, and we have heard no clear evidence that they will lead to an increase in housebuilding. Nor has the Government given a clear explanation as to how new homes will be energy efficient and environmentally sustainable without the provision of such standards.
207. The Government should reverse its decision to remove the requirement for new homes to generate no net carbon emissions (known as the zch policy, ref above item 201) and its decision to remove the Code for Sustainable Homes. The Government must set out and implement a viable trajectory towards energy efficiency and carbon reduction in new homes.
SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
35. The Government should reverse its decision to remove the requirement for new homes to generate no net carbon emissions (ref. item 201 above) and its decision to remove the Code for Sustainable Homes. The Government must set out and implement a viable trajectory towards energy efficiency and carbon reduction in new homes. (Paragraph 207)
For more info:
Sustainable Buildings : Brief informal discussion re some of the issues
image from architects
Carbon Emissions News – external link to BBC report
So what can architects do to assist?
The RIBA Sustainability Hub includes sustainability information such as design strategies and case studies.
Sustainable design aims to reduce the adverse effect of human activities on our world, particularly climate change.
Architecture is responsible for about 45% of the carbon dioxide (greenhouse gas) emissions in the UK. Architects are a large part of the problem of tackling climate change, and consequently the solution – sustainable architecture.
Comments / photos for the House of Lords Zero Carbon Homes Ruling – Sustainable Architecture page welcome