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Zero Carbon Homes Cost To Build Fall

The extra cost of building a ‘zero carbon’ semi-detached home has fallen 57% since 2011 thanks to development of the solar panel market, a new study shows.

According to the Solar Trade Association (STA), the analysis has implications for the government’s roll-back of zero carbon homes. The standard is set to be introduced in 2016, but the Department of Communities & Local Government (DCLG) made only minor improvements to the energy performance of new build homes last year (Part L Building Regulations). It introduced no new incentives for renewables in new build and, according to the STA, called into question the viability of introducing the standard on schedule.

STA head of external affairs Leonie Greene said: “The latest figures show that it is very affordable to build to this definition of zero carbon homes. Modest additional cost at the construction stage will be recovered by the homeowner in the form of lower energy bills. We now have affordable technologies to build energy bill anxiety out of UK homes.

“Given the political furore over energy bills, the government should be 100% behind this. Instead Eric Pickles’ roll back of the zero carbon homes agenda shows he is favouring house-builder profits over homeowners, the renewables targets and the climate.”

The Zero Carbon Hub estimates that bringing a semi-detached house up to its Zero Carbon Standard from today’s building standards would cost £4,100-£4,700 extra, with flats costing just £2,200-£2,400 extra. The STA’s own analysis of an 85m2 semi-detached house suggests the current Zero Carbon Home standard would add £4,200 to build costs, but deliver bill savings of £404 over current 2013 build standards.

This means that if energy bills remain static the cost of incor­porating new build would be recovered by the homeowner in lower energy bills and feed-in tariff payments in less than 10 years.  If energy bills go up, it would take less time to pay off.


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