Housing Specification Blog

Moving towards zero carbon Britain

December 14, 2012 Alexandra Blakeman Planning & Legislation

Dr Lubo Jankovic believes it is entirely feasible to have everyone living in zero-carbon homes by 2016.

Zero carbon house in Birmingham

During his research for Birmingham City University, Dr Jankovic assessed the performance of the Birmingham Zero Carbon House, an innovative carbon-neutral building based on an170-year-old redbrick Victorian house.

Designed by John Christophers of Associated Architects, the building extends upwards and outwards: upwards to catch the sun otherwise obscured by a taller neighbouring house, sideways for more space.

The original 1840 brick house is preserved, as are the mature ash trees in the garden. Integration with the surroundings is important, and the design takes account of the neighbouring architecture.

The project won the RIBA award for sustainability earlier last month. It also was the first retrofit house in the UK to achieve Code Level 6 for Sustainable Homes.

Dr Jankovic said: “As we increasingly become aware of the causes and consequences of the climate change, there is a sense that we are dealing with an almost impossible problem to solve and that our targets for zero carbon buildings are far in the future – and that our targets are hard to achieve.

But I believe my research will help with culture change, moving from the perception that the climate change arising from carbon emissions is almost an impossible problem to solve to the understanding that it is perfectly possible to design new or retrofit zero carbon buildings using existing technologies.”

Next steps towards zero carbon Britain

Over the next three years the government has pledged to:

1. Introduce methods to promote success of better domestic energy efficiency by suppliers of electricity and gas through the Energy Efficiency Commitment (EEC).

2. Make a push towards the creation of more energy efficient consumer electronics merchandise through the encouragement of voluntary systems in the retail area.

3. Ensure communication with the general public, retailers and suppliers through the Energy Savings Trust (EST).

Is it too ambitious to say that we’ll all be living in carbon free homes in three years time? Leave your comments.

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