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Zero carbon homes: Government sets out ‘allowable solutions’

by on July 17, 2014

The Government has published the results of a consultation into proposals to allow house builders to meet carbon reduction targets off-site, and has outlined key aspects of the scheme that will be fleshed out further in amendments to the Infrastructure Bill, currently under scrutiny in the Lords.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has confirmed that four ‘Allowable Solutions’ routes, which will not be mutually exclusive, will be available to house builders under the final scheme for Zero Carbon Homes.

House builders will be able to choose to take carbon abatement on site; to take off-site carbon abatement action themselves; to arrange for a third party to take off-site carbon abatement action on their behalf; or to pay into a fund that will invest in carbon abatement projects.

The fund will be the only price-capped delivery route, the Government said. No decision on the level of the price cap will be taken until further analysis has been undertaken, but the cap will be reviewed every three years once it has been introduced.

The department has also confirmed that a “national design framework” will be put in place for the scheme, rather than local authorities making individual arrangements.

“This approach will provide for greater efficiency in delivery and total coverage of the country, better ensure consistency, and maximise the opportunities to use allowable solutions to support strategic carbon abatement schemes,” said the DCLG.

Small sites, not yet defined, will be exempted from the zero homes carbon standard, the department said.
In a separate but related development, the Government’s official adviser on preparing for climate change has called for a new building standard to be introduced to prevent an increase in the number of premature deaths that could result from homes and buildings overheating.

A report from the Adaptation Sub-Committee of the Committee on Climate Change has recommended that cost-effective measures like “improved ventilation, tinted windows, and external insulation, should begin to be installed in new and existing homes, hospitals and care homes to limit the health impacts of higher temperatures”.

The committee has warned that premature deaths from overheating could triple to 7,000 per year by the 2050s, as average temperatures rise.

Download ‘Next steps to zero carbon homes: allowable solutions’

 

 

Roger Milne
17 July 2014

* Due to technical issues this week’s news stories are published on the Director’s Blog. They will be published on the Planning Portal in due course.

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