On the 17th December the UK government published its proposals for achieving zero carbon developments. The proposed definition of a zero carbon home includes a very high level of energy efficiency plus the ability to import offsite and near site energy efficiency measures. See New Zero Carbon Targets.
A minimum level of carbon reductions that would need to be achieved (carbon compliance level) compared to today’s Building Regulations of between 44 and 100 percent of emissions from the home (not including cooking and appliances, which are not at present covered by Building Regulations).
The remaining carbon emissions (including from cooking and appliances) would need to be addressed via a proposed list of allowable solutions comprising:
i) Credit for any energy efficient appliances or advanced forms of building control system (such as smart systems which automatically adjust energy settings if the home is unoccupied) installed by the house builder that reduce the anticipated energy demand from the home
ii) Where, as a result of the development, low carbon or renewable heat (or cooling) is exported from the development itself, or from an installation that is connected to the development, to existing properties that were previously heated (or cooled) by fossil fuels, then credit will be given for the resulting carbon savings
Near-site carbon offsetting
iii) Credit for S106 Planning Obligations paid by the developer towards local low and zero carbon energy infrastructure
iv) Retrofitting works undertaken by the developer to transform the energy efficiency of existing buildings in the vicinity of the development
v) Any investment by the developer in low and zero carbon energy infrastructure (limited to the UK and UK waters) where the benefits of ownership of that investment are passed to the purchaser of the home
vi) Where offsite renewable electricity is connected to the development by a direct physical connection, a credit for any carbon savings relative to grid electricity
This is great news for not only developers, but also the climate and renewables industry as it is clear that the UK Government has finally recognised the fallacy of requiring 100% on-site renewables and has now allowed ( in consultation at least) the concept of carbon offsetting to meet demands.
The real question is where will this take us and what will it inspire…watch this space
January 5th 2008