The housebuilding industry needs to overhaul the way it works if it is to meet new energy efficiency standards from 2016, the Zero Carbon Hub has warned.
The cross-industry taskforce delivered its final recommendations to housing minister Grant Shapps (pictured), setting out 11 primary recommendations for delivering zero-carbon homes from 2016.
Ensuring new homes’ built performance on carbon compliance is in line with their designed performance will be a major challenge, the report says. This will “have an impact on every aspect of the housebuilding process”, it adds.
For that reason, the government needs to “make its decisions promptly to stimulate innovation” and give the industry time to respond.
The hub was charged with making recommendations on two elements that will make up the final zero-carbon definition.
The final “allowable solutions” element will be decided by the DCLG and Treasury.
The report says achieving zero carbon will require a reduction in land prices; a lessening of planning obligation requirements of local authorities; a reduction in the burden or costs of other regulations; and the willingness of house purchasers to pay more.
Without at least one of these, there is likely to be an “impact on the viability of housebuilding schemes and the delivery of new homes”.
Crucially for developers, the hub acknowledges it may be difficult for large-scale housing schemes to reach zero carbon on each home.
The report says performance emissions levels for new homes from 2016 should not exceed 10 kg CO2 (eq)/sq m/year for detached houses, 11 kg CO2 (eq)/sq m/year for other houses, and 14 kg CO2 (eq)/sq m/year for low-rise apartment blocks.
Mr Shapps said in May 2010 that he would be publishing a final zero-carbon definition “in a matter of weeks”. However, a series of delays have occurred since then.
The final report recommends one national definition but has made four secondary recommendations to apply if the government did allow local authorities to impose their own carbon compliance measures.
A DCLG spokesman said that the minister welcomed the report and a response would be published in due course.