Government has launched a consultation on its proposals to make the 2016 zero carbon new homes target a reality.

The consultation covers a range of issues that have been raised by the building industry, which has previously complained that the zero-carbon definition is too narrow to be achievable (see related story).

The consultation looks at setting a minimum level of carbon reduction that developers must achieve on-site, requiring developers to tackle the remaining carbon emissions of new homes from a list of “allowable solutions”, and setting a limit on the amount expected to be spent on these solutions.

Housing Minister Margaret Beckett said: “Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing the world, and introducing zero carbon homes is an important part of our plans to tackle this, as well as further action to tackle emissions from the existing housing stock.”

The UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) welcomed the consultation but warned ministers not to dumb down the definition of a zero carbon home and risk reducing the effectiveness of the policy.

Chief executive Paul King said: “We are pleased Government has listened to the advice of the UK-GBC in scrapping the problematic requirement for all renewable energy requirements to be provided either on-site or by a direct physical connection.”

He added: “The industry needs clarity as soon as possible on how much carbon should be mitigated on or near site through technology like solar PV or community heating systems – the so-called Carbon Compliance level.

“Where that line is drawn could make or break some types of emerging low-carbon technologies so it’s important to decide on what will be required.”

Mr King also called for Government to move more quickly on clarifying how developers should meet the target for zero carbon commercial buildings by 2019.

The consultation document can be found here.

Kate Martin

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