Senior government ministers are preparing to launch proposals for a Green Deal-style incentive scheme for new-build houses, H&V News understands.
The initiative, which would effectively allow housebuilders to pay for the upfront cost of making a home zero carbon through future electricity savings, is expected to go out to consultation imminently.
Communities secretary Eric Pickles (pictured) is thought to be seeking Chancellor George Osborne’s permission to lay out in more detail the government’s approach to zero-carbon homes.
The government was accused of betraying its green agenda by diluting the definition of zero carbon in its recent Plan for Growth.
Housing minister Grant Shapps is likely to make the statement and to launch a consultation on the second Green Deal scheme, which he first mooted at a Zero Carbon Hub event last month.
The government published its Plan for Growth alongside the Budget, confirming zero-carbon targets for new homes from 2016 would only cover emissions from areas covered by Building Regulations - not from electrical appliances used in the home.
The move was widely criticised by green campaigners as it means the policy now only covers direct mitigation for two-thirds of emissions - a major retreat from the previous government’s position.
UK Green Building Council chief executive Paul King said the move was a “big step backwards”.
It is thought the government will encourage housebuilders to go beyond minimum standards on site and recommend offsite measures as an alternative.
It is also expected to claim the new approach will reduce the cost of making a typical home zero-carbon to about £4,000.