Housing Minister Grant Shapps commissioned the Zero Carbon Hub to gather the evidence about where to set a national benchmark for measures that can be taken on-site to reduce carbon emissions. The Hub's work brought together academia, industry experts and green groups such as the World Wildlife Fund, the Energy Saving Trust, and the UK Green Building Council.
The Zero Carbon Hub has now reported back to Shapps, setting out the evidence for what can deliver carbon savings. The recommendations go beyond bricks and mortar and suggest using renewable energy technologies on site during the construction phase.
Shapps said that the government is exploring how housebuilders can reduce the carbon footprint of new homes by supporting renewable energy schemes in their local area. Many groups have argued for a Community Energy Fund, which would enable zero carbon to be met partly through contributions to a fund used to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Shapps said the Community Infrastructure Levy, which was recently finalised, will give councils the option for new housing development in their area to contribute funds towards local renewable energy generation.
Shapps said: "We are committed to ensuring that new homes do not add to our carbon footprint. But whilst making sure these tough environmental standards are met, we will not dictate how every home should be built. So I welcome the findings of the Zero Carbon Hub, and will consider them with real interest.
"We're serious about building greener homes, but also committed to finding the most practical way of doing this. And for good reasons - if we're going to be successful in reducing our carbon emissions, we need to ensure the councils and developers who are actually going to deliver these changes are on board.
"That's why we're also giving the people at the sharp end of delivering zero carbon further options to invest in local renewable energy schemes, which will provide councils and developers the flexibilitythey need to meet these standards."