Dr Sarah Payne has published a timely new report responding to the UK Governments Zero Carbon Buildings policy entitled ‘Towards Zero Carbon Housing futures?’
The Zero Carbon Buildings policy forms part of Government’s wider strategy to achieving the Climate Change Act (2008) target, while at the same time assists in tackling other important issues including energy security and fuel poverty. In July 2015 after the completion of Dr Payne’s research, the Government scrapped the policy. This singalled the end of a 10 year policy towards carbon neutrality of new homes.
Dr Payne’s report is timely as it address’ the vacuum and action that needs to be taken to move forward on this agenda, if the Government is committed to reducing carbon emissions from UK housing stock.
The policy originally required all new homes from 2016 to mitigate, through various measures, all the carbon emissions produced on-site as a result of the regulated energy use. All new homes would have to demonstrate that over a year, the net carbon emissions from energy use in the home are zero. This includes energy used to provide space heating and cooling, hot water and fixed lighting, as outlined in Part L1A of the Building Regulations.
Dr Payne’s report is an Economic Social Research Council (ESRC) funded project and an examination of preparations for the now defunct 2016 policy. Her research also provides recommendations for future policy makers and policy development.
Zero carbon housing (ZCH) is emerging as a key policy priority around the globe, with many Governments developing policies to intervene in conventional market-driven housebuilding practices. These policies often require significant changes to traditional building techniques.
Dr Payne commented;
“This research highlights a number of barriers that volume housebuilders face in the market delivery of low and zero carbon homes in Britain and suggests that without further Government action, the mass production of truly zero carbon homes will remain unfeasible and unviable. The research offers a series of recommendations that policy makers should consider when developing future energy efficiency policies relating to new and existing homes”.