The minister also said the government is working on an approach to finalise the definition of zero carbon homes.

The Zero Carbon Hub submitted evidence to the minister on how to set a national benchmark for measures that can be taken on-site to reduce carbon emissions.

The Hub included the organisations WWF, the Energy Saving Trust and the UK Green Council. Their findings were reported to the government on December 20.

The recommendations include building homes with renewable energy technologies on site, such as solar power and heat pumps.

Mr Shapps said that the government is exploring how house builders can reduce the carbon footprint of new homes by supporting renewable energy schemes in their local area.

Many groups have argued for a Community Energy Fund, which would enable zero carbon to be met partly through contributions to a fund used to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Mr Shapps said the Community Infrastructure Levy, which was recently finalised, will give councils the option for new housing development in their area to contribute funds towards local renewable energy generation.

Housing Minister Grant Shapps said: “We are committed to ensuring that new homes do not add to our carbon footprint.

“But whilst making sure these tough environmental standards are met, we will not dictate how every home should be built.

“So I welcome the findings of the Zero Carbon Hub, and will consider them with real interest.
“We’re serious about building greener homes, but also committed to finding the most practical way of doing this.”

The UK Building Council welcomed the Housing Ministers statement. Chief executive Paul King said: “Government deserves a lot credit for sticking to the ambitious timetable for zero carbon.

“The picture of how this will be achieved is gradually becoming clearer, which is essential to give industry confidence and to drive investment.

“Confirmation of the 2019 target, for all new non-domestic buildings to be zero carbon, is particularly welcome.

“Our research for government earlier this year, which we’re able to publish today for the first time, shows that industry is up for this challenge, they just need policy certainty to be able to get on and deliver it.”

Alison Brown

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