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Government pins down meaning of zero-carbon

The government has set out its definition of a zero-carbon emission home.

In his pre-Budget report, chancellor Gordon Brown revealed that all new-build homes will be zerocarbon-emitting by 2016 but, as reported in Mortgage Strategy, both industry and the government were in the dark over what a carbon-free house was until now.

At a recent round table hosted by the House Builders Federation, housing minister Yvette Cooper outlined the Department of Communities and Local Government’s thoughts on what the government will demand from new-builds.

The DCLG definition states that a zero-carbon home is one that has “zero emissions of carbon dioxide from all energy use in the home. Over a year there are no net carbon emissions resulting from the operation of the dwelling. This could be achieved either through steps taken by the individual or through site-wide strategies.”

The definition reveals that the government does not feel that micro eco-power plants will be needed for every new home.

A spokesman for the HBF says: “This is a useful start and we have no objections to the target. But we don’t think the definition is perfect – it is not robust or accurate enough. We have to roll up our sleeves and get on with it.”

The government is also lobbying for more green mortgages. With backing from 12 other MPs, Colin Challen, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group, has written to the UK’s top lenders urging them to increase the number of green products.

Challen says: “The APPCCG is adding its voice to the demand for these products.

“Home owners should be encouraged to save energy, cut emissions and save money. This could be an effective way of delivering better environmental standards in older housing stock.”

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