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Zero-Carbon Homes (Carbon Neutral)

It is widely accepted that man-made carbon CO2 emissions is the main reason behind climate change. Most scientists now agree that there is a direct connection between higher carbon CO2 levels and concentrations in the atmosphere and the increasing global temperature we are experiencing.

The government has a long-term goal to reduce carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. Domestic properties account for approximately 27 per cent of the UK's overall carbon emissions. This clearly demonstrates the need we have to change the way we build our homes and wider communities.

According to Communities and Local Government (CLG), a zero carbon home is one whose net carbon dioxide emissions, taking account of emissions associated with all energy use in the home, is equal to zero or negative across the year.

For a new home to be genuinely zero carbon it will need to deliver zero carbon (net over the year) for all energy use in the home; cooking, washing and electronic entertainment appliances as well as space heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting and hot water.

In July 2007 the Government's Building A Greener Future: Policy Statement announced that all new homes will be zero carbon from 2016. Related energy efficiency building regulations will increase every 3 years; carbon emissions are planned to reduce by 25 per cent in 2010 and by 44 per cent in 2013, up to the zero carbon goal in 2016.

The proposed zero carbon home goal is based on:

  • Construction using high levels of energy efficiency materials
  • a minimum level of carbon reduction to be achieved onsite or through directly connected heat; and
  • a list of allowable solutions for dealing with the remaining emissions (including from appliances)

Why build zero carbon homes?

  • should offer security to homes being future-proof
  • they will not adversely affect climate change
  • the occupiers will be less likely to experience fuel poverty
  • the occupiers have a degree of protection to the effects of international fuel markets.

The Zero Carbon Hub

The Zero Carbon Hub was established in 2008, the Zero Carbon Hub supports and reports to the 2016 Taskforce. It is a public/private partnership established to take day-to-day operational responsibility for co-ordinating delivery of low and zero carbon new homes. This purpose will be fulfilled by monitoring, coordinating and guiding the zero carbon programme and engaging organisations active in low and zero carbon homes.

Zero Carbon Hub is developing 5 integrated areas:

  • energy efficiency
  • energy supply
  • examples and scale up
  • skills and training
  • consumer engagement.

More information on the Zero Carbon Hub can be found here.

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