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Early energy deals seen as key to hit zero carbon goal

House builders should sign service agreements with energy and telecoms suppliers for zero carbon developments to meet Government regulations, according to Barratt chief executive Mark Clare.

Mr Clare said companies like his will be required to hook up with firms such as E.ON and BT at the design stage to provide complete energy facilities for a zero carbon development.

To achieve zero carbon, dwellings will have to provide their own energy. Government regulations say that by 2016, new developments will have to use a local source. Off-site energy sources will not count towards a zero carbon development.

Mr Clare, recently appointed chair of the zero carbon committee for the UK Green Building Council, said: “I can see multi-utility and energy service companies in the future -being formed to cope with the demand for on-site energy.

“This will be a new step for the house building industry. Big firms will be able to do this but smaller firms will need to look at a third-party provider.”
The committee held its first meeting yesterday.

Mr Clare, formerly finance director of energy firm Centrica and managing director of British Gas before joining Barratt last year, ruled out house builders adding energy supply to their remit.

Barratt was selected on Friday by English Partnerships to build the UK’s first zero carbon development at Hanham Hall in South Gloucestershire near Bristol.

The project also involves targets for domestic waste recycling and water consumption.

The firm will set up a not-for-profit development trust to manage the 200-home site. This will be made up of residents, businesses, Sovereign Housing Group, English Partnerships and South Gloucestershire Council.

Barratt will finish building a zero carbon house at the Building Research Centre in Hertfordshire by March.

Analysis: Vital but way off a finished product

Pooran Desai

To deliver zero carbon homes, energy service companies or multi-utility service companies will be essential.

We are tendering for a firm to run an energy service company at our new development in Brighton being delivered by a joint venture with Crest Nicholson.

Increasing numbers of house builders are realising their importance but they are still a long way off the finished product.

In theory, getting one company to provide all energy or amenity services will be ideal.
But there will be less need for them in smaller developments of around 100 homes because the cost will not be justified. And at the moment, you can’t just get services off the shelf. There will also be issues with machinery, fuel supply and billing.

Though there’s still a lot of work to be done in educating the house building industry, in about three years’ time the process will be a lot easier for house builders.

Pooran Desai is sustainability director for green building developer BioQuintain