Hounslow Green Party

Eight key points to consider about zero carbon buildings.

4 February 2019

Local councillors accuse us of waylaying them about zero carbon buildings.   We would like the council to adopt a more challenging approach. Here are eight key points we would like the council to consider when reviewing planning applications:

  1. To limit climate change temperature rises to 1.5C, we need to insulate new build better than current regulations.
  2. There are standards like Passivhaus which should be pursued which are better insulated.
  3. With current regulations, houses/flats (dwellings) are built but are not zero carbon or anything like.
  4. Instead of being zero carbon, developers pay £1,800 to the council for every tonne of CO2 that the dwelling is modelled to emit per year.
  5. The £1,800 is calculated on the basis of the dwelling lasting 30 years and the price of CO2 is set at £60 per tonne of CO2
  6. This £1,800 is too low and should be increased. Dwellings built will last much longer than 30 years, more like 100 years, so that is one reason to increase it. The price of carbon at £60 per tonne of CO2 may appear high now, but is very much lower than it is likely to be over the period that the dwelling will exist if we have any chance of becoming carbon neutral any time soon.
  7. If the £1,800 is increased it will either result in more money for Hounslow to address climate change elsewhere in the borough or will result in developers choosing to build lower carbon housing (eg Passivhaus) which is what is really required.
  8. It is very much more difficult to put this right later. So if inadequately insulated housing is built in the 2020s, then it will be very much more difficult/expensive to put this right in 2050. We just cannot have the dwellings emitting tonnes of CO2 in 2050 as we will have to find somewhere else in the economy to have negative emissions to balance it to get to carbon neutrality then.

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