Green homes could cost 30% more than Part L

A zero-carbon development could cost up to 30% more to build than a project that meets Building Regulations today, experts at Faithful + Gould (F+G) have claimed.

Their research has shown that a zero-carbon office development could cost about £500/m2 more than those built to current Part L standards. This is because of the costs involved in generating electrical energy using renewable sources.

Sean Lockie, regional director of F+G, said: “For a project that requires a large amount of electricity, such as a mixed-use project with a high number of residential units, or an office scheme, you won’t get enough electricity generated by on-site wind turbines. The technology that is going to deliver this kind of electricity would be photovoltaics, which have a high capital cost.”

The research also shows that a development built to level three of the new Code for Sustainable Homes, which proposes a 25% carbon reduction on current standards, would be 5-7% more expensive than current homes. This is equivalent to an additional capital outlay of about £45-50/m2.

From next month, all English Partnerships and Housing Corporation schemes will have to comply with level three of the code.

The research comes as a report released this week found that 20% of adults would specifically look for green features in a new house. The survey, by insurer More Than, found that almost one-third said they would pay up to £500 to make their property greener, while 18% said they would set aside between £500 and £1,000. Seventeen per cent said they would be prepared to pay more for a green home.

Last month a report by Cyril Sweett for English Partnerships said it would cost up to £3,900 to reach level three of the code using renewables.

• Cyril Sweett is urging developers to register projects before 10 April, when the code will replace EcoHomes as the environmental standard for public sector housing. The firm is warning clients that compliance with the code will be significantly more challenging and expensive than present standards.