John Healey uses speech at UKGBC/Building sustainability conference to set minimum standard for zero carbon homes

The government has announced the minimum standard for the energy efficiency of zero carbon homes, moving a step closer to all new homes being zero carbon by 2016.

The new energy efficiency standards will be subject to the forthcoming consultation on the Code for Sustainable Homes, but it includes an energy efficiency standard of 46kWh/m2/year for semi-detached and detached homes and 39kWh/m2/year for all other homes.

Speaking yesterday at the Making Sustainable Development Happen conference, organised by Building and UKGBC, housing minister John Healey said his decision has been strongly informed by the specialist task group he asked the Zero Carbon Hub to assemble following his policy statement on zero carbon homes earlier in the summer.

Neil Jefferson, chief executive of the Zero Carbon Hub, said “The Fabric Energy Efficiency Standard is a critically important step towards the delivery of zero carbon homes from 2016.The group has agreed upon a performance level that it has judged to be stretching and appropriate for mass scale production in the UK."

In his speech, Healey also launched the consultation for all new non-domestic buildings to be zero carbon by 2019 and announced proposals for all public sector buildings to be zero carbon by 2018.

The consultation will adopt the broad framework set out for the domestic sector but adapted to reflect the variation of building types.

The proposal is to use a threefold hierarchy of energy efficiency, followed by on-site or linked low and zero carbon technologies followed by off-site solutions.

All the emissions produced by the building over the course of a year will have to be accounted for but different buildings will have different targets to reflect their potential for energy efficiency and on-site energy generation.