Cost of Building to Zero Carbon Drops

Monday, February 10, 2014

New analysis produced by Sweett Group for the Zero Carbon Hub shows that the additional costs associated with building to the proposed Zero Carbon Standard have declined significantly since 2011, and are expected to continue to fall as we approach 2020.

Understanding the cost of zero carbon homes has been, and remains, a critical issue for the Hub’s stakeholders. The Hub therefore commissioned Sweett Group to update our cost assumptions in light of changes in the market and in the standards themselves in recent years.

The key findings are1:

  • At today’s prices, the typical additional cost of building a semi-detached house to the zero carbon standard could be less than £5,000.
  • Since the Hub’s initial analysis in 2011, costs have roughly halved. There are a number of reasons for this including the falling cost of solar PV, changes in the zero carbon definition, and greater efficiency in meeting air tightness standards.
  • By 2020, the cost of building a new zero carbon semi-detached home could be less than £3,500.

Commenting on the report, Rob Pannell - Managing Director, Zero Carbon Hub, said:

“The Hub has always recognised the need to work with industry in developing a viable zero carbon definition.

 “What this report shows is that the zero carbon policy, while ambitious, is becoming more cost effective. The challenge is to continue innovating to keep costs as low as possible.

 “A crucial next step for the Hub will be to support industry in raising awareness of the huge energy cost savings which can be realised as a result of choosing to buy a new build home, compared to an older property. The Hub worked with NHBC Foundation to create an infographic which highlights the annual household energy spends across various build types. Looking ahead to 2016, the annual energy cost savings of living in a new build property compared to a Victorian house of a similar size could be as much as £1,840 - 75% less.”

To download the full Cost report click here. For a printed copy visit us at Ecobuild, stand number N802.

To download the infographic click here. For a printed copy visit us at Ecobuild, stand number N802.

Reaction from the wider industry

Paul King - Chief Executive, UK Green Building Council

“The zero carbon homes story is a great illustration of the fact that given long-term clarity about the direction of policy and regulation, industry will invest, innovate and find cost-effective solutions to even the most challenging performance standards.

“This report shows that the cost of delivering zero-carbon homes has halved since 2011 - representing a fraction of the estimated costs when the target for all new homes to be zero carbon from 2016 was launched in 2007 - and is set to fall even further over the next couple of years. Modern, low carbon new homes offer massively reduced energy bills, helping their owners and occupiers to save hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds per year, every year in the future.”

John Slaughter - Director of External Affairs, Home Builders Federation

“The Hub’s analysis of the issues and revised costs estimates provides valuable information that will help the industry and councils plan for the future.

“While predicted costs are lower than previously estimated, they remain significant. Coupled with the technical and other issues involved, plus the wider expectations of what developments can support, not least affordable housing delivery, this is still a challenging objective for the industry. Further efforts are needed to identify cost effective and robust solutions to minimise any negative impact on site viability and housing supply.”

John Tebbit - Deputy Chief Executive and Industry Affairs Director, Construction Products Association

“The investment by manufacturers in innovation, mainstreaming of new products and continuing development of existing well proven products is clearly delivering cost savings and more robust solutions for zero carbon homes”

Mike Landy - Head of On-site Renewables, Renewable Energy Association

“This report adds to the growing body of evidence showing that the costs of solar PV are falling fast, and making it more affordable to build new ‘Zero Carbon’ homes. More importantly, this trend is expected to continue over the coming years, demonstrating the power of on-site renewables to bring down bills for homes and offices.

"We now look forward to the Government moving quickly to set out the detailed roadmap for making all new homes ‘Zero Carbon’ from 2016.”



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Notes to Editors

1These are the estimated costs of building to the proposed zero carbon standard compared to Part L 1A 2013, using the most cost effective compliance strategy (FEES + highly efficient gas boiler + solar PV + Allowable Solutions)