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Zero Carbon Hub publishes final recommendations for 2016 new build standards

The Zero Carbon Hub has published its final recommendations on 2016 zero carbon standards for new homes and called on government to “respond swiftly.”

The Hub’s report makes 11 key recommendations, however the final performance emissions levels remain the same as those published in its interim report in December.

These are that new homes constructed from 2016 should not exceed 10 kg CO2 (eq)/sq m/year for detached houses, 11 kg CO2(eq)/sq m/year for other houses, and 14 kg CO2 (eq)/sq m/year for low-rise apartment blocks.

However the Hub has made final recommendations including that there should be “no local power to set a different limit for carbon compliance, or to make other related stipulations,” which it acknowledges may clash with the government’s localism plans.

It also states that the ‘weather assumption’ for compliance calculations should be further considered by government, given that the task group’s modelling shows that differences in regional weather patterns make a significant difference to actual carbon emissions from otherwise identical homes.

Director of the Zero Carbon Hub, David Adams said: “While the 2016 Regulations to which it mainly relates are still some way off, an early statement by ministers in response to these recommendations will further build confidence that investment of time and money in developing solutions is soundly based and that the zero carbon objective is achievable and on track to be delivered.”

The report also emphasises the need for the wider house building industry to change significantly in order to achieve the standards and must ensure that built performance is in line with designed performance.

It states that the zero carbon levels for 2016 will have an impact on “every aspect” of the house building process and calls for an industry/ government group to be established to oversee the process of measuring and addressing the potential gap between designed and built performance.”

Home Builders Federation director of external affairs John Slaughter said: “The Hub has undertaken a difficult and complex task very thoroughly - involving all the key parties in assembling the evidence base for its recommendations on performance standards.

“These will be challenging for the industry to implement, but we are confident that the Hub’s ability to work through tough issues will provide a basis for the industry to resolve any concerns it may discover.”

Among the other recommendations by the task force is that government should commission “whatever further work is necessary in order to set the price and other parameters for allowable solutions with the least possible delay.”

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