The industry has welcomed the promise in last week’s Budget to define what “zero-carbon housing” actually means.

The pledge is important because the Treasury insists that only homes that produce all their own energy qualify. The industry is asking that zero-carbon homes be allowed to use electricity generated off site from renewable sources.

A working group from the UK Green Building Council is to consult on the definition over the summer. It is to be led by Mark Clare, chief executive of Barratt. A final formulation should be decided by the end of the year.

The Budget also contained plans to fund a body to co-ordinate the move to zero carbon by 2016, and committed all homes built on public sector land to achieve at least level three of the Code for Sustainable Homes.