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Code for Sustainable Homes

In 2006 the UK government announced its intention for all new homes to be ‘zero carbon’ (ZC) from 2016 onwards. Alongside this the Code for Sustainable Homes (CfSH) was launched; a voluntary standard based on 9 sustainability criteria. Dwellings are rated 1-6; 6 being an exemplar building. The initial definition of ZC outlined in (DCLG, 2006) was equivalent to a Code level 6 rating in the CfSH, or zero emissions resulting from the use of heating, ventilation fixed cooling, hot water and lighting, also including what are termed ‘unregulated emissions’ from cooking and appliances. To facilitate the delivery of the 2016 ZC standard, the Zero Carbon Hub (ZCH) was jointly set up by government and industry, initially funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). ZCH convened industry experts to undertake research on the technical an economic feasibility of the target and how the details of the initiative would be delivered.

Figure  Revised definition of Zero Carbon for 2016

Concerns over what realistically achievable in the industry, led the ZCH to review the level of carbon compliance; or emissions mitigated through onsite means. This preceded recommendations for an incorporation of a Fabric Energy Efficiency standard (FEES) into the 2016 targets.

Figure  Evolution of the Zero carbon definition

After the consultation period the ZC carbon compliance levels (TER) for zero carbon homes were eventually defined as follows:

  1. 10kgCO2/m2/year for detached houses,

  2. 11kgCO2/m2/year for attached houses

  3. 14kgCO2/m2/year for low rise apartment blocks

This equates to a 60%, 56% and 44% reduction in regulated emissions compared to Part L1A 2006.

The Allowable solutions concept

The standard also includes what are termed ‘Allowable Solutions’ these are emissions reductions that do not have to be met through onsite efficiency measures or carbon compliance

The Allowable solutions concept was based on market driven emissions permits. House builders would make a payment to an Allowable Solutions provider, who will take responsibility and liability for ensuring the required emissions reductions are met through certified carbon-saving projects The Allowable solutions mechanism was divided into two routes:

Type 1 Allowable Solution

‘To pay into a carbon fund here the payments from developers would be accumulated and the fund manager will take responsibility for investing in suitable Allowable Solutions projects – a wide range of carbon-saving projects could qualify as Allowable Solutions It is expected that Local Planning Authorities will have the option to set up carbon funds and may establish local priorities for particular Allowable Solutions.’

Type 2 Allowable Solution

‘To invest in carbon-saving projects associated directly with their own developments here the most obvious example would be when a developer invests directly in an extension of an existing district heat scheme.’