The government have laid down a target – zero carbon construction by 2016.
Sounds simple enough but what does zero carbon mean?
The NHBC Foundation says;
“The definition for a ‘zero carbon home’ is still to be set for the purposes of the 2016 ambition, but it is broadly understood to be one with ‘zero net emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from all energy use in the home’. This encompasses those energy uses that are currently part of building regulations (space heating, hot water, ventilation and some lighting) as well as all other energy uses such as cooking, TVs, computers and all other appliances. It means that, over a year, there should be no net CO2 emissions resulting from the operation of the home.”
Basically this means that we will start to use zero carbon power generation methods such as wind power, solar power and geothermal power to light and heat our homes and our water.
What does zero carbon construction mean for existing home owners?
Over time existing homes will have the opportunity to be upgraded to start taking advantage of sustainable power sources such as the initiative currently in place regarding solar panels.
What does zero carbon construction mean for future self builders? Will new build homes and self build homes all start to look like Scandinavian eco homes or European PassivHaus constructions?
The government has urged architects to design traditional British style homes, retaining the characteristics that we are used to seeing but embrace the necessary techniques to achieve a zero carbon rating.
“I am clear that the beginning of zero carbon does not need to mean the end of Great British design.”
Embracing the PassivHaus standard requires a change of lifestyle and so may not be practical for all. PassivHaus standards rely on Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery (MVHR) meaning frequent changing of filters, costing time and money.
So the challenge has been thrown down, design Great British zero carbon homes and buildings.
There are exciting times ahead as we embrace low energy and low carbon technologies and maybe we are looking forward to a future where wind turbines become as common place in our gardens as water features are now…
If you have found this post interesting please be sure to use the share buttons bellow to let others in your online community know about it, there's a good chance some of them will find it interesting.
Please also remember you can follow Block Architects on our Facebook Page by clicking here.