Housebuilders say government target for zero carbon homes is unrealistic and will impact on sector’s ability to increase volume

The government’s target for all new homes to be zero carbon by 2016 is “unrealistic” according to a report released today.

The Knight Frank ’Green Homes 2010’ study into the impact of zero carbon requirements on the housebuilding industry confirm a general disappointment with the lack of policy direction provided over the last few years.

This is coupled with “a more worrying concern” over the impact of the zero carbon homes agenda on the ability of the sector to raise development volumes.

Of those who responded to the survey, 40% said they believed that the absence of a firm definition of zero carbon had reduced development volumes, over and above the reduction attributed to the impact of the credit crunch and recession.

Over 80% believed that the ambition for mandatory zero carbon residential development from 2016 is not compatible with a significant growth in development volumes.

The study also reveals that respondents believe build costs will rise 22% in the shift from Code level 4 to level 6 homes. Although some of this increase in costs could be offset by a premium on the sale value of a Code level 6 home there was a feeling that this was limited and respondents expect land values to fall, sale prices to rise and quality and specification to decline.

However, despite these concerns Knight Frank says there is some evidence of housebuilders and developers taking clear steps to prepare for the 2016 target.

Over 70% had either implemented, or were planning to implement solar renewables and many were using or planning to use Passivhaus standards of insulation and thermal efficiency as well as install biomass and district heating systems.