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Carbon Compliance levels recommended

16/12/2010 16:06:05

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Since September 2010, Cutland Consulting Ltd’s founder Neil Cutland has been representing AECB and the Passivhaus Trust on the Zero Carbon Hub’s Carbon Compliance Standard Task Group.  “It’s been an exhilarating and sometimes gruelling ride,” said Neil, “but the group has now made its recommendations to the Minister for Housing and Local Government”.
 

Carbon Compliance – that is, the overall cap on a home’s on-site emissions – forms the middle slice of the triangular definition of zero carbon homes; the other slices are the fabric energy efficiency standard (FEES) and the off-site “allowable solutions.”  From 2016 zero carbon will be mandated for all new homes by Building Regs Part L.


The Task Group found that the previous proposal from July 2009
, to set the carbon compliance standard at a 70% reduction from 2006 levels (equivalent to 6 kg CO2/m2/year), may not be achievable in all cases.
 

The new recommendations are that the 'built performance' emissions from new homes should not exceed: 

    10 kg CO2/m2/year for detached houses (60% reduction from 2006 levels)

    11 kg CO2/m2/year for other houses (56%)

    14 kg CO2/m2/year for low rise apartment blocks (44%)

 A key element of the Group’s recommendations is to ensure that the potential gap between 'as designed' and 'as built' standards is closed.  The recommendations are based on detailed modelling of technical feasibilities.  They take account of cost and also reflect a wide range of other factors.
 
“This will probably be reported in some circles as a cop-out, or letting the housebuilders off the hook,” said Neil Cutland, “but in truth it is anything but.  Whether or not you agree with the policy of zero carbon, it is policy - so we must make sure that these houses are actually buildable in the mainstream. 

“It’s essential that we set the Carbon Compliance standard at a level which the experts in AECB and elsewhere know is achievable in practice.  And shifting the compliance point from ’design’ to’ built product’ is a massive step forward for the cause of energy efficiency.”

The interim Task Group report is available to download from the Zero Carbon Hub website www.zerocarbonhub.org.

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December 2010

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