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'Not too late' to deliver zero-carbon homes in 2016

There is still time to deliver zero-carbon homes by 2016 in spite of a watering down of the standard and continued uncertainty over the Allowable Solutions mechanism, the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) said today (27 January).

On the day of the final parliamentary debate on zero-carbon homes in the Infrastructure Bill, UKGBC said ensuring all new homes were built to zero-carbon standards from 2016 is still possible – as long as government sticks to the standard agreed by industry and sets out how it intends to implement allowable solutions.

Chief executive Paul King said: “With a year to go until housebuilders are required to deliver zero-carbon homes, we’re not where we need to be. The agreed standard has been significantly diluted and a question mark still hangs over how allowable solutions will be delivered.

“The clock is ticking, but it’s not too late to rescue this world-leading policy. One of the key priorities for the government in May [after the general election] must be to set the zero-carbon policy back on track.”

UKGBC has been briefing MPs on amendments to the Infrastructure Bill that support the previously agreed zero-carbon standard and the application of this standard to all new homes.

The proposed bill exempts small housing developments of 10 homes or less from zero-carbon building regulations, which the UKGBC estimates could affect 20% of new homes.

The Solar Trade Association, WWF and the Renewable Energy Association – with support from Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace – are also urging MPs to back amendments to the bill.

Emma Pinchbeck, head of climate and energy policy at WWF, said: “At a time when people are struggling to pay their energy bills and the UK is showing climate leadership on the global stage, we should be legislating for better housing – not worse.

“Reducing emissions from our homes is critical in tackling climate change, and doing so from newly built homes is much easier and cheaper than retrofitting at a later date. It just doesn’t make sense to make keeping our homes warm and reducing our carbon emissions harder than it needs to be.”

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