How can we design ambitious, yet flexible policies for ‘zero carbon homes’ that support innovation and capacity building within the housing sector?

A new report entitled The Future of Policy and Standards for Low and Zero Carbon Homes provides insights into such questions.

In 2005, the then Labour government introduced legislation to achieve ‘zero carbon homes’ by 2016. In May 2015, after forming a majority government, the Conservatives scrapped the zero carbon target as well as the Code for Sustainable Homes, as part of a wider rolling back of legislation and support for a broad range of renewables and energy efficiency initiatives, whilst remaining committed to ambitious targets on an international scale.

This timely report contains insights for future policies and standards, highlighting concerns about the Government’s current approach. The research assesses the strengths and weaknesses of current policy, through interviews with a wide range of housing industry stakeholders. Findings include the costs of uncertainty when there are delays in confirming future policy, the need to develop a capacity for new practices within the housing sector, and the benefits of partnerships between the government and industry when developing ‘smart’ regulation.

Dr Dan Greenwood, lead researcher of the report and Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Westminster’s Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, said: “As our report shows, whilst there has clearly been a need for streamlining policy and standards, this is not the same as the deregulation agenda we have seen from the Government. A smart approach to defining policies needs to include promoting skills development, learning and innovation across the housebuilding sector.”

Authored by Dr Dan Greenwood and Martin King at the University of Westminster, and Dr Alina Congreve, Principal Lecturer in Sustainable Planning at the University of Hertfordshire, The Future of Policy and Standards for Low and Zero Carbon Homes report is available to download


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