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Government unveils Zero Carbon Homes standard

Shapps said he rejected calls to make housebuilders anticipate the lifetime emissions of each property because it was not reasonable, and other measures were in place to reduce the carbon emissions from the actual use of houses.

He said that "they should not be responsible for the amount of television the families who buy their homes watch or the number of cups of tea they make each day".

Instead, tough standards for fabric energy efficiency (insulation, glazing) will be included in future changes to the Building Regulations.

Shapps also said the Government would consult on the independent Zero Carbon Hub’s recommendations on the levels for other on site carbon reduction levels, which might require renewable energy technologies to be used like solar panels.

And he will confirm that a proposed regime for off-site measures like community energy schemes which deliver genuinely additional carbon savings would be introduced.

Key aspects of this will be to design a regime which will:

* Be made available to all developers operating in England;
* Be cost effective by ensuring offsite measures are no higher than the Government’s long term value of carbon; and
* Ensure any funds raised will be dedicated to carbon abatement.

Shapps said: "We have delivered on our commitment to nail down a definition for zero carbon homes. This is an historic turning point in our drive to slash carbon emissions and tackle climate change. It paves the way for the green transformation of Britain’s homes – making them warmer and more comfortable to live in, and at the same time cheaper to run.

"And we have done this without piling unfair costs on housebuilders. The new definition will balance increased costs of house building with the social commitment we made to reduce our country’s carbon footprint.

"This approach is fairer and reaffirms the Government’s commitment to reduce regulatory and other burdens on the house-building industry by March 2015. It also plays an important part in protecting the economic stability of the country."

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