Housing minister Grant Shapps has announced that new homes will qualify for energy efficiency grants under the government’s green deal.
Mr Shapps made the announcement at the Zero Carbon Hub’s inaugural conference at King’s Place where he invited the industry to work with government on a plan to incorporate new build into the green deal.
The green deal is expected to provide homeowners with approximately £6,500 in grants to make energy efficiency improvements to their homes with the money to be paid back in a difference to their energy bills.
When asked when a definition for zero carbon would be reached, Mr Shapps said “I think we are already there because we know homes will have to emit no carbon in future or if they can’t reach that level they have to mitigate that with something down the road like combined heat and power resource - the work for Zero Carbon Hub now is to define what those allowable solutions will be.”
The department for communities and local government had hoped to have a final recommendation on a definition for zero carbon from the cross industry task group in time for the conference but it has been delayed due to a question over whether the classification should change depending on the location of the home.
Delegates at the conference also raised concerns with the minister that the cost of building zero carbon homes was prohibitive.
However Mr Shapps said that the cost had fallen dramatically from estimates of £50,000 to less than £10,000 today
He announced that new homes would be included in the green deal but added that building new green homes was not sufficient in reducing the UK’s carbon emissions to get in line with EU regulations.
Construction material producer Saint-Gobain welcomed the extension of the green deal to include new homes.
Group residential sector director, Stacey Davis, said: “The extension of the green deal would create an opportunity to fund improvements in the fabric of the homes we are now building and which will still be in use in 60 to 100 years time.
“It will also aid the adoption of new technologies as they become available and help stimulate consumer demand for new homes that are built to low and zero carbon standards.”
In response to questions from industry members at the event, Mr Shapps said technology included in the green deal would be “whichever technology best cuts CO2 emissions.”
He added that he would like to see codes for sustainable homes merged with the zero carbon definition going forward to ensure clarity of regulations for the construction industry to work towards in future.