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Zero emissions Homes

The Government wants all new houses to leave no carbon footprint, to be self sufficient in terms of energy, and to be generally free of sins of emissions. It is looking at the possibility of green mortgages and lower council tax for such homes.

Do consumers really care? The perceived wisdom is that they do if they read the Guardian, wear sandals and eat lentil wholegrain sandwiches, don’t go on foreign holidays and like rambling. But how mainstream will the green shift become?

If all the political parties have anything to do with it – very. However, current technology available to house builders only allow a 50% reduction in carbon output. (source: Linden Homes).

This means the Government must place considerable investment in green technology over the coming ten years in order to produce a 100% reduction in carbon output. Current features being tried are, argon filled triple glazed windows, state of the art wall insulation, ground source heat pumps, photovollaic panels, solar panels, wind turbines, reduced shower flow, timber frame construction from sustainable source, low energy lighting and non-electric ventilations systems which push warm air from the loft space through the house.

Traditionally, the great believers in ecological building are self builders – people who commission the design and construction of their own homes, willing to pay a premium for features that aren’t everyone’s cup of green tea.

Existing technology could add as much as £20,000, so in order to achieve a zero carbon home there needs to be a cost effective solution.

Can be really produce these type of homes by 2016? Almost certainly not, meanwhile, estate agents will carry on to plug the interesting period details and features of open fireplaces, high ceilings, original sash windows for the relevant properties in the right location.

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Posted: 18th March 2007

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