Zero Carbon Hub closes following green building policy changes

An influential public-private body tasked with transitioning all new homes to be built under zero-carbon regulations has today (31 March) confirmed it has ceased operations following the Government's controversial decision to stop pursuing zero-homes targets.

The Zero Carbon Hub was established in 2008 to remove barriers that would halt the implementation of the Government’s zero-homes policy, which it subsequently abandoned last July. Due to the lack of focus on this concept, the Hub has announced that industry funding has been withdrawn and, as a result, it has shut down.

Zero Carbon Hub’s chair Paul King said: “Zero Carbon Hub has been remarkably successful in bringing together a wide spectrum of stakeholders with an interest in the world-leading zero carbon target across public, private and third sectors.

“It has been a model of collaboration between industry and government, helping translate policy aspiration into reality. I would like to thank the many individuals and organisations who have supported us on this remarkable journey and their commitment to improving the quality of new homes.”

For the past eight years, the Hub has been influential in supporting new homes in the industry deliver higher energy efficiency standards. In the aftermath of the zero-homes closure – which saw the Allowable Solutions and carbon offsetting scheme scrapped – the Hub was still working to improve heating efficiency within homes.

Writing on the wall

The Hub was cited as a potential resurrection device by the Universities of Westminster and Hertfordshire as recently as last week, as the institutions called on the Government to fix its ‘deregulation agenda’ and re-introduce the zero-homes policy.

However, with the strength of the zero-homes policy watered-down in 2014, the Hub has been swimming against the tide for some time, despite calls from more than 200 businesses to support the initiative.

Commenting on closure, UK Green Building Council policy director Richard Twinn said: “It’s incredibly disappointing to see the closure of the Zero Carbon Hub, although sadly not a shock given the direction of travel in terms of policy. It could have helped to guide the industry in delivering better quality buildings during its current housebuilding push.

“We will continue to work with the industry to realise their investment in zero carbon innovation, and help ensure that the houses being built now are fit for the future. But continuing to deliver better quality homes is far easier when there is long term certainty and sensible regulation from Government.”

Earlier this year it was announced that up to 8,000 zero-carbon homes would be built in the UK through a £1.1bn multi-national deal with a number of Chinese firms. The designs of the homes are supposedly ‘easily applicable’ for upscaling but without the help of the Hub this may not be possible.

Regulatory Challenges at edie Live

From May 17-18, the edie Leaders Theatre at edie Live will explore policy regulations and drivers, and what is on the policy horizon in regards to green building policy and business sustainability.

One of the edie Leaders seminars will examine the importance of long-term guidance when complying to carbon regulations.

View the full edie Live agenda here.

Matt Mace

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