The zero-carbon home

May 24, 2008

Barratt Developments recently revealed designs for the UK’s first built zero-carbon home by a mass building company. From 2016 the government plans to make a legislation to housing buliders that all newly built houses are zero-carbon. 

What makes these houses ‘zero-carbon’?

The Building Research Establishment in Watford have created a home that has been awarded a code level six rating which means that it is completely zero-carbon. These are some of the eco-friendly features of the homes:

·        Airtight concrete walls and pre-cast concrete floor slabs- for insulation

·        An Air Source Heat Pump- using air energy from indoors and out to provide internal heat supplies.

·        Solar hot water panels- to store energy to provide hot water

·        A rainwater harvesting system to provide water for toilets

·        Solar Photo Voltaic roof panels- to provide district power supply

This sounds all very good but how much does a zero- carbon home cost?

The average cost of one of these environmentally friendly homes will be up on the market at around £500,000. Gordon Brown announced that those zero-carbon homes built before 2012 costing under £500,000 will be exempt from stamp duty and those costing over this will have a £15,000 reduction to their stamp duty bill to encourage take up.

Barratt Developments are planning to build 200 zero-carbon homes on a site at Hanham Hall hospital near Bristol by 2011, five years ahead of the Governments deadline. A third of these homes built have been claimed to be affordable to the lower-income buyer. They hope to build 3 million zero-carbon, cost effective homes by 2020.

Mark Clare, Barratt’s chief executive said that it will be difficult to reduce the costs of the houses to a commercial level however it is possible “we cannot and will not build houses that do not appeal to consumers. But they must also be affordable”. With 22,000 votes from the public in a competition in 2007 supporting the zero-carbon house Mark Clare is confident that they will be accepted by buyers.


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