New government white paper demands that all new homes must be ‘zero carbon’ by 2016
The highly anticipated white paper on climate and energy has reasserted targets for zero-carbon homes and schools.
Wednesday’s white paper, the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan, sets out the government’s plan for meeting its ‘carbon budget’, which requires the UK to cut emissions from 1990 levels by 34 per cent.
As part of the plan, the paper stipulates that, in addition to new homes, new schools, public sector buildings and non-domestic buildings may also be required to be zero-carbon within the next ten years (see the timeline below).
The paper had been expected to define the term ‘zero-carbon’, but stopped short of a detailed definition:
‘The Government has consulted on the detail of the definition of ‘zero carbon’ and will announce further thinking shortly,’ the paper says. ‘Progress towards the “zero carbon” standard will be made through the progressive tightening of the Building Regulations.’
The paper briefly described zero carbon as ‘meaning that their net carbon emissions over a year will be zero.’
The paper has been widely heralded by green building activists as placing the UK at the global forefront of tackling climate change and carbon emissions.
UK-GBC chief executive Paul King said: ‘The Government’s renewed commitment to zero carbon homes provides all-important consistency of direction, while responding to genuine industry concerns. Government has rightly said that of all the challenges facing the housebuilding industry, carbon reduction is not something that can be compromised on.
“This announcement confirms a sensible ‘hierarchy’ approach to carbon reductions.’
“This statement will provide increased confidence for an industry that needs to plan and deliver urgently needed new homes. But the final definition remains very important and we look forward to that in due course.”
In addition to homes and schools, the paper also sets targets for the London 2012 Olympic Park, with the aim to ‘reduce carbon emissions from the built environment in the Olympic Park by 50% by 2013.’
2016 – All new homes to be zero-carbon
2016 – All new schools proposed to be zero carbon (subject to consultation and confirmation)
2018 – Government ambition for all new public sector (non-domestic) buildings to be zero carbon (subject to further work)
2018 – New nuclear power stations could create or sustain up to 9000 jobs during the course of construction and operation (including supply chains)
2019 – All new non-domestic buildings to be zero carbon from this
date (subject to consultation and confirmation)
All new homes to be ‘zero carbon’ by 2016