Carbon zero deadline tightened up for new homes

All new homes must be carbon zero ready by 2025 and existing ones must meet higher energy standards, the government announced.

Gas-fired boilers are to make way for energy heat pumps in new housing and existing home repairs and replacements are to be more energy efficient. For example, the specifications of extensions, replacement of windows, new lighting and cooling systems are to be raised.

Housing minister Christopher Pincher said: "The radical new standards announced will not only improve the energy efficiency of existing homes and other buildings but will also ensure our new homes are fit for the future, by reducing emissions from new homes by at least 75 per cent.

"This will help deliver greener homes and buildings, as well as reducing energy bills for hard-working families and businesses."

The government expects these homes to produce up to 80 per cent lower carbon emissions compared to current levels. Mr Pincher said to ensure industry is ready to meet the new standards by 2025, new homes will be expected to produce 31 per cent lower carbon emissions from 2021.

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) described the timetable as challenging with the National Federation of Builders (NFB) calling for an extension for both deadlines.

Mr Pincher said stringent transitional arrangements would be in place to provide all developers with certainty about the standards and that these would last for one year and apply to individual homes. 

Current stock key for reaching green goals

Both the FMB and NFB argue making existing homes more energy-efficient should be just as important as concentrating on new builds.

FMB chief executive Brian Berry said: "These homes need to be retrofitted to help deliver the government's net-zero carbon targets as well as creating much-need jobs and training opportunities in each community across the country."

The FMB estimates 85 per cent of Britain's existing homes will still be in use by 2050 – the government's deadline for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero.

Bridging loan intermediary, Hank Zarihs Associates said development and refurbishment finance lenders were keen to offer funds to support builders entering the green retrofit sector.

The government has also announced a consultation on higher performance targets for non-domestic buildings which will mean they will be zero carbon ready by 2025. It wants to see additional ventilation of high-risk buildings such as offices and gyms to reduce infection spread is to be introduced. The consultation closes on 13 April 2021. 

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