Moving towards ‘zero carbon’ homes – an update.

wooden homes make better ecobuilds

To get an idea of where a UK home builder is at the moment, take a look at The Green Code (pdf, pg.6) of Linden Homes. They were interviewed on BBC radio4 about one of their current housing developments, specifically on how well they are managing to practically get their new build homes down to ‘zero carbon’.

Their representative explained that they were probably 40% there, but were struggling because;
(a) cost is higher but buyers aren’t willing to pay more for low carbon homes.
(b) some technologies do not work well in built up areas (eg. wind turbines).
(c) more R&D is needed to make the zero carbon home more realistic.

An Energy Savings Trust (EST) representative on the radio programme didn’t disagree that the ‘zero carbon’ home is an ambitious project. He believes more needs to be done to help existing homes lower their carbon footprint as new build only makes up 1% of housing stock in any given year. Better insulation is key, with cavity and loft insulation and double or even triple glazing useful as well.

The annual Ecobuild Show is now on in London. Plenty to look at on their site too.

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6 Responses to Moving towards ‘zero carbon’ homes – an update.

  1. Alan Burgess says:

    Zero carbon homes IS ambitious, however some people just dont believe claims being made because they come from Double Glazing companies.

    Fact, my comany was the FIRST window company of any kind to get an Energy Rating
    Fact, my company was the FIRST window company to achieve a C Energy RECOMMENDED status from the Energy Savings Trust
    Fact, our sash windows save threequarters of the heat, energy and carbon that would otherwise be lost through existing single glazed sash windows
    Fact, our sash windows are the ONLY “secure” sash windows (as defined by the police forces Secured by design scheme)

    check out http://www.energyratedwindows.co.uk http://www.securedbydesign.com http://www.est.org.uk

    happy to comment further
    Alan Burgess

  2. matt says:

    Alan,

    Thank you for visiting our site. Must say it’s a first to have a company selling a product visit The Coffee House. Very welcome. I for one didn’t know PVCu box sash windows were available on the market but then, I haven’t been looking! Lots of environment related info on your site which is great to see. Good luck with your business venture.

  3. danlewer says:

    I feel the key barrier is really the existing housing stock. New planning regulations mean that companies will invest in R&D and people will have to pay for more efficient new homes whether they like it or not. But the vast majority of us will continue to live in old homes and buy old homes when we move.

    Technology and regulation to make these properties more efficient will have to be more innovative than for new houses.

  4. matt says:

    You’re right Dan. The only policies that currently exist on existing housing stock that I’m aware of are;

    a. subsidy to low income households for cavity & loft insulation
    b. ‘encourage’ private landlords to do the above

    Various commentators bang on about higher energy prices encouraging more people to insulate their homes etc but I don’t think this approach goes far enough. Having said that it’s hard to know how the government can legislate wider & faster change with private housing stock. Still, they’re managing it in other areas; cigarette smoking in public places & car emissions being just two examples off the top of my head.

  5. Pete Smith says:

    Panorama on BBC1 tonight reviewed the carbon-cutting experiences of the ‘ethical man’ and his family. They were told that, although they were leaking vast amounts of heat through the roof and windows, it was uneconomic to insulate because the payback time was too long. There’s something wrong somewhere.

    At least they were (eventually) given the right advice on the roof turbine.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/panorama/6411421.stm

  6. matt says:

    Thanks Pete. Very interesting and very watchable. Just what the average bod needs to watch. Worth a blog entry of its own. 🙂

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