Here is the text of the background document to today’s announcement on zero-carbon Homes.
New homes built to a zero carbon standard
The Government is committed to implementing a zero carbon standard for
new homes from 2016. But it is not always technically feasible or cost
effective for house builders to mitigate all emissions on-site.
The Government would set a minimum energy performance standard through
the building regulations. The remainder of the zero carbon target can be met
through cost effective off-site carbon abatement measures – known as
‘allowable solutions’. These provide an optional, cost-effective and flexible
means for house builders to meet the zero carbon homes standard, as an
alternative to increased on-site energy efficiency measures or renewable
energy (such as solar panels). Small sites, which are most commonly
developed by small scale house builders, will be exempt. The definition of a
small site will be consulted on shortly, and set out in regulation.
The Zero Carbon Home standard will be set at Level 5 of the Code for
Sustainable Homes, but the legislation will allow developers to build to Level 4
as long as they offset through the allowable solutions scheme to achieve
(This is a strange piece of text, the Coalition is using Code Levels to explain an energy compliance scheme. The 2016 standard has almost nothing to do with Code Level 5 and Code Level 4 has very little to do with Building Regulations 2014. Its as though the Code was only an energy standard, and all the other elements didn’t matter so much)
Energy efficiency requirements for homes are set in the Building Regulations
2010 and are made under powers in the Building Act 1984. But there are
insufficient powers in the Building Act to introduce off-site allowable solutions,
so the Government will now bring forward enabling powers for this.
I am assuming that this exemption applies to London, and that anything built within the London Plan zone will continue to meet London Plan requirements irrespective of scale.
The question of what represents ‘small’ is going to be interesting. How small is small?