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Next steps to zero carbon homes: Allowable solutions

The Government is committed to implementing zero carbon homes from 2016. The zero carbon homes standard will require house builders to decrease all carbon emissions from energy arising from fixed heating and lighting, hot water and other fixed building services (e.g. ventilation) in new homes.

Objectives of the consultation

The Government recognised that it will not always be cost-effective, affordable or technically feasible for house builders to reduce all carbon emissions through on-site measures, like fabric insulation, energy efficient services or renewable energy generation (e.g. solar panels).

This consultation set out and sought views and further evidence on the main principles, price cap and processes for the delivery of ‘allowable solutions’, the off-site projects or measures that reduce carbon emissions, which house builders may support to achieve the zero carbon homes standard. The consultation closed on 15 October 2013.

Supporting papers

To download papers that supported this consultation follow the links below.

CIBSE response

CIBSE welcomed the overall thrust of zero carbon buildings policy framework to reduce energy use and carbon emissions from homes but also highlighted concerns in relation to the proposed allowable solutions.

As UK have to acknowledge EU policy when developing domestic policy it is relevant to look at the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) as recast and its definition of “nearly zero energy buildings”. CIBSE believes that analysis have to been undertaken to assess how the domestic zero carbon buildings policy fits with the EU nearly zero energy buildings. It would be unfortunate for the UK to set off on a path of Allowable Solutions in 2016, only to be hauled back in 2020 because the policy was deemed not to be compatible with EU law at that point.

CIBSE believes that the proposed Allowable Solutions do not merely substitute for improvements to the wider building stock that would otherwise have to be made under other programmes and in many cases, especially new homes build under this regime, may contribute to the ongoing issue of fuel poverty.

Allowable solutions offer a fiscal alternative to meeting the zero carbon target. Whilst there are good arguments for doing this under certain constraints, one consequence of the Allowable Solutions regime may be to reduce or even remove the need or incentive for innovation in the delivery of zero carbon or nearly zero energy homes. CIBSE believes that this has wider implications for future building standards which need to be addressed.

To read the full CIBSE response follow the link below.

Results of the consultation and next steps

Department for Communities and Local Government published the consultation summary report on 8 July 2014. The report presents the feedback received during the consultation period, an analysis of the responses and the Government’s position following the consultation. To download the report follow the link below.