Next steps to zero carbon homes: small sites exemption

DECC is consulting on proposals for small site exemption in relation to zero carbon homes policy.

The Government has announced the requirement that, from 2016, all new homes built in England will have to be ‘zero carbon’. Hence, there should be no carbon emissions generated from the energy required to heat and light a home.

The Government states that practical challenges to this policy are the technical feasibility and economical viability of eliminating all carbon emissions by using on site measures, such as fabric insulation, energy efficient services, or the use of renewable energy sources such as solar panels. The Government is thus bringing forward proposals for allowable solutions, to allow house builders to offset residual carbon emissions from new homes against savings made on- or off-site, in order to achieve net zero carbon emissions.

This allowable solutions scheme is being introduced through the Infrastructure Bill currently before Parliament. A summary of responses to the earlier consultation has been published alongside further detail on how the scheme will work (Next steps to zero carbon homes - Allowable Solutions).

As well as the policy structure for delivering zero carbon homes, the Government is considering how to balance environmental protections alongside economy growth. Research published by the National House Building Council showed that there had been a significant decline in the number of small firms active in house building in recent years – halving between 2007 and 2013, with only 2,710 estimated to have been building in 2013.

The Government states that achieving the zero carbon standard could be particularly challenging for small builders. With this in mind, it has decided that smaller housing sites in England should not face the total cost burden of delivering zero carbon homes. The purpose of this consultation paper is to explore how this proposed exemption might work.

Date: 18/11/2014 Start of consultation

          07/01/2015 End of consultation 

Author: DECC

DCP link: This item updates DCP section 4.132

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