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Next steps to zero carbon homes: Small sites exemption

The Government has announced that from 2016 all new homes built in England will have to be ‘zero carbon’. This means that there should be no carbon emissions generated from the energy required to heat and light a home. The government recognises that achieving the zero carbon standard could be particularly challenging for small builders and proposes an exemption for small sites. 

Objectives of the consultation

The Government has decided that smaller housing sites in England should not face the total cost burden of delivering zero carbon homes. Therefore, it announced that there would be an exemption from part of the zero carbon commitment for small sites. The purpose of this consultation was to explore how this proposed exemption might work and to inform further development of the policy. The consultation closed on 7 January 2015.

Supporting papers

To download the consultation document, please follow the link below.

CIBSE response

CIBSE response to the small sites exemption consultation was developed with input from members of the CIBSE Homes for the Future Group, which met in December 2014 and discussed the proposed changes. 

CIBSE Members agree that small sites should not receive an exemption from the zero carbon homes policy as this will create two standards of housing being built and will impose long term penalties on consumers in the form of higher energy bills to heat the exempt properties.

The institution firmly believes that the proposed exemption will create significant long term disbenefits that far outweigh any short term advantages, and that the policy is in conflict with the long term goals of the government’s construction strategy.

CIBSE believes that the focus should be on building efficient, sustainable homes with the lowest possible life cycle costs for all and proposes that what is needed for smaller sites and housebuilders is simple guidance on how to comply with the requirements, not lower standards.

To read the full CIBSE response, please follow the link below.

Results of the consultation and next steps

Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) published a summary report to the small sites exemption consultation on 25 March 2015. The report sets out the government’s response to the issues raised during the consultation and explores how an exemption might work. It includes a summary of the views and comments submitted for each consultation question as well as tables showing how different organisation types responded to the questions.

To download the DCLG report, please follow the link below.