On Wednesday I sat in on a Zero Carbon Hub consultation event relating to the defining-zero-carbon-homes-presentation2zero carbon definition for buildings. I did manage to send some tweets via twitter during the session, and here, I have pulled these together to give a view on the consultation paper.
The event was not quite what I was expecting, as confusingly although the document out or consultation is entitled Definition of Zero Carbon Homes and Non Domestic Buildings, it doesn’t, Neil Jefferson head of the Hub informed us, cover Non Domestics – a separate consultation is expected soon.
Key to the proposal and principles are three elements expressed in the pyramid:
There is so much thinking, science , technology and even politics behind this hierarchy that isn’t (imho) expressed in the paper, but was covered in the slides from the session, handed out on USB drive and from here : defining-zero-carbon-homes-presentation2.
Some interesting thoughts:
As to the rate of homes being built to CSH 6 (zero carbon) the following profile helps to explain the anticipated progress to 100% post 2016:
The aspirational target is a UK version of the German PassivHaus concept. (as Denise Chevin mentions in Building Its principles are simple – the best way to go low carbon is to build a well-insulated, airtight envelope that is nice to live in. It also comes with a copper-bottomed pedigree, with thousands of completed buildings over its 17-year history.)
Nearly 50% present at event were developers and contractor and saw the on site achieving of standards as most demanding aspect of zero carbon. (Cost and quality)
Will allowable solutions be just another complex carbon off-setting scheme? Could offsite allowances mean business as usual for designers / developers / builders ? although 2/3 of those present thought that offsite renewables should n0t be included within carbon compliance.
New build house projects to (could?) decarbonise existing housing stock – this is an exciting new idea but received low interest in terms of potential (votes) from those present
And as to who should monitor and police zero carbon? Given three options ( Local Planning Authority/ Building Control Bodies/New form of accredited body) those present opted for c, New form of accredited body.