Zero carbon homes: report publishes evidence to support national benchmark for onsite measures to reduce carbon emissions

Housing Minister Grant Shapps has claimed that the Government is on track to turn its commitment for greener homes into a reality, and set out the next steps to new homes being zero carbon from 2016. The UK Government has set out an ambitious plan for all new homes to be zero carbon from 2016.

As part of new plans aimed at encouraging low carbon development, it was also announced that councils will be able to use funds from the Community Infrastructure Levy to fund local renewable energy generation schemes.

To speed up progress towards finalising a zero carbon approach, Shapps asked the Zero Carbon Hub to gather the evidence about where to set a national benchmark for measures that can be taken on-site to reduce carbon emissions. The Hub's work brought together academia, industry experts and green groups such as the World Wildlife Fund, the Energy Saving Trust, and the UK Green Building Council.

The Zero Carbon Hub is a resource that helps users to understand the challenges, issues and opportunities involved in developing, building and marketing your low and zero carbon homes.

With over a quarter of all the UK's emissions coming from homes, there is widespread consensus that quick and effective action needs to be taken to set a clear environmental standard for future homes to ensure that they do not add to the UK's carbon footprint.

Their findings, presented to the Government and available on the Zero Carbon Hub website , set out the evidence for what works, and what will deliver real-world carbon savings. The recommendations include reductions that can be achieved beyond the bricks and mortar - building homes with renewable energy technologies on site, such as solar power and heat pumps.

Mr Shapps also confirmed the Government is exploring how housebuilders can reduce the carbon footprint of new homes by supporting renewable energy schemes in their local area. Many groups have argued for a Community Energy Fund, which would enable zero carbon to be met partly through contributions to a fund used to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Mr Shapps said the Community Infrastructure Levy, which was recently finalised, will give councils the option for new housing development in their area to contribute funds towards local renewable energy generation.

Housing Minister Grant Shapps said: 'We are committed to ensuring that new homes do not add to our carbon footprint. But whilst making sure these tough environmental standards are met, we will not dictate how every home should be built. So I welcome the findings of the Zero Carbon Hub, and will consider them with real interest.

'We're serious about building greener homes, but also committed to finding the most practical way of doing this. And for good reasons - if we're going to be successful in reducing our carbon emissions, we need to ensure the councils and developers who are actually going to deliver these changes are on board.

'That's why we're also giving the people at the sharp end of delivering zero carbon further options to invest in local renewable energy schemes, which will provide councils and developers the flexibility they need to meet these standards.'

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