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Cost of building zero carbon homes falls steeply

New research reveals the cost of building zero-carbon homes has dropped significantly over recent years and may continue to fall further.The Sweett Group has conducted an in-depth analysis to update the Zero Carbon Hub's cost assumptions in light of recent market changes. It shows the cost of building homes to the Zero Carbon Standard has halved since 2011 and is expected to continue to decrease in the next few years to 2020.Reasons for the decline are believed to be the reduced cost of solar PV, changes in the zero carbon definition and greater efficiency in meeting air tightness standards.According to the research, the typical additional cost of building a semi-detached house to the zero carbon standard could be less than £5,000. It estimates that by 2020 the cost of building a new zero carbon semi-detached home could be less than £3,500.Commenting on the report, managing director of the Zero Carbon Hub Rob Pannell said: "What this report shows is that the zero carbon policy, while ambitious, is becoming more cost effective."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."He went on to say the Hub has produced an infographic, in collaboration with the National House Building Council, to highlight the annual household energy spends across various build types.John Slaughter, director of external affairs at the Home Builders Federation, welcomed the information, which he claims will help builders and councils plan for the future. However, he warned that challenges remain for the industry, particularly regarding affordable housing provision.The Zero Carbon Hub will continue to highlight the annual energy savings of new build properties. It acknowledges challenges remain with the building industry in a fragile state of recovery and has pledged to support builders in demonstrating the value to consumers of zero-carbon homes.  

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