WHY TODAY'S DEFINITION IS BEING RE-EXAMINED
The UK government’s target to make all new homes zero carbon from 2016 is one of the most stringent in the world, demanding that all emissions from the house and the activities that take place within it must be net zero over the course of a year.
WHERE THE DEFINITION STANDS TODAY
The definition of zero carbon was originally envisaged to be Level 6 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, which has only been achieved in practice by a handful of exemplar schemes. This definition presents considerable difficulties in mainstream roll out, not least because it treats every home as an individual energy ‘island’ which must generate all the power and heat it needs.
In December 2008, Communities and Local Government (CLG) launched its consultation on the definition of zero carbon homes in response to concerns that the existing definition – level 6 of the Code for Sustainable Homes – was an expensive option and one which would be unattainable on many sites.
KEY CONSIDERATIONS IN DEVELOPING THE NEW DEFINITION OF ZERO CARBON
Communities and Local Government asked the Zero Carbon Hub to assist in the development of a new definition for zero carbon that would both reflect the ambition of the 2016 target, whilst being technically achievable and cost effective for housebuilders. The new proposals have flexibility in mind and in addition to reliance on in-built energy efficiency and on-site renewable energy generation; a range of additional, mostly off site solutions (called Allowable Solutions) would be made available to developers as ways to meet the zero carbon standard.
Further clarification is available from 23 March 2011 Budget announcements. Please also view Countdown March 2011 for additional information.