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Cost Of “Zero Carbon” Building Halved In UK

Originally published on Energy Post.

New analysis produced by Sweett Group for the Zero Carbon Hub, a non-profit association in the UK, shows that “the additional costs associated with building to the proposed Zero Carbon Standard in the UK have declined significantly since 2011, and are expected to continue to fall as we approach 2020.”

DPR "Net Zero" energy building.

DPR “net zero energy” building.
Image Credit: Building Dashboard

In a press release the Zero Carbon Hub states that the key findings of the new research are that:

  • At today’s prices, the typical additional cost of building a semi-detached house to the zero carbon standard could be less than £5,000.
  • Since the Hub’s initial analysis in 2011, costs have roughly halved. There are a number of reasons for this including the falling cost of solar PV, changes in the zero carbon definition, and greater efficiency in meeting air tightness standards.
  • By 2020, the cost of building a new zero carbon semi-detached home could be less than £3,500.

Commenting on the report, Rob Pannell, Managing Director Zero Carbon Hub, said: “The Hub has always recognised the need to work with industry in developing a viable zero carbon definition. What this report shows is that the zero carbon policy, while ambitious, is becoming more cost effective. The challenge is to continue innovating to keep costs as low as possible.”

“A crucial next step for the Hub will be to support industry in raising awareness of the huge energy cost savings which can be realised as a result of choosing to buy a new build home, compared to an older property. The Hub worked with NHBC Foundation to create an infographic which highlights the annual household energy spends across various build types. Looking ahead to 2016, the annual energy cost savings of living in a new build property compared to a Victorian house of a similar size could be as much as £1,840 – 75% less.”

Paul King, Chief Executive, UK Green Building Council, said in a reaction: “The zero carbon homes story is a great illustration of the fact that given long-term clarity about the direction of policy and regulation, industry will invest, innovate and find cost-effective solutions to even the most challenging performance standards. This report shows that the cost of delivering zero-carbon homes has halved since 2011 – representing a fraction of the estimated costs when the target for all new homes to be zero carbon from 2016 was launched in 2007 – and is set to fall even further over the next couple of years. Modern, low-carbon new homes offer massively reduced energy bills, helping their owners and occupiers to save hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds per year, every year in the future.”

John Slaughter, Director of External Affairs, Home Builders Federation, noted that “while predicted costs are lower than previously estimated, they remain significant. Coupled with the technical and other issues involved, plus the wider expectations of what developments can support, not least affordable housing delivery, this is still a challenging objective for the industry. Further efforts are needed to identify cost-effective and robust solutions to minimise any negative impact on site viability and housing supply.”

To download the full report click here. To download the infographic click here.

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