This is the first major announcement on the ‘allowable solutions’ part of the proposed definition since the Government’s consultation last year. The Government also plans to consult on an exemption for ‘small sites’. It is not clear yet exactly how the exemption would be framed.
No.10 states: ‘The government is committed to implementing a zero carbon standard for new homes from 2016. But it is not always technically feasible or cost effective for house builders to mitigate all emissions on-site.
The government would set a minimum energy performance standard through the building regulations. The remainder of the zero carbon target can be met through cost effective off-site carbon abatement measures – known as ‘allowable solutions’. These provide an optional, cost-effective and flexible means for house builders to meet the zero carbon homes standard, as an alternative to increased on-site energy efficiency measures or renewable energy (such as solar panels). Small sites, which are most commonly developed by small scale house builders, will be exempt. The definition of a small site will be consulted on shortly, and set out in regulation.
The Zero Carbon Home standard will be set at Level 5 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, but the legislation will allow developers to build to Level 4 as long as they offset through the allowable solutions scheme to achieve Code 5.
Energy efficiency requirements for homes are set in the Building Regulations 2010 and are made under powers in the Building Act 1984. But there are insufficient powers in the Building Act to introduce off-site allowable solutions, so the government will now bring forward enabling powers for this.’
Source: No.10, Queen’s Speech 2014: what it means for you, 4 June 2014