The Quest to define Zero Carbon has been going on for so long that it wouldn’t surprise me if the final regulation comes with a foreword by Tolkien.
The twists and turns in the plot are worthy of Middle Earth. Although of the two tales, the quest to destroy The Ring is in my view, far easier. Why? Well, Mount Doom (the final destination for those of you not familiar with the Lord of the Rings) stayed put. Didn’t move. Just sat there and said “I’m here – do your worst”. OK, generally mountains aren’t very chatty but as the trees (Ents) strolled around talking anything is possible in Middle Earth.
Can we say the same for the final destination for Zero Carbon? Not really. The Target tends to move. Flits about at the whim of politicians. Hides behind terms like ‘Allowable Solutions’. Sometimes includes the carbon from white goods sometimes not. Generally it’s a pretty tough task to pin it down and only the really keen continue to fight the good fight, while most just give it up as a couple of buzzwords that don’t really matter much in the real world anyway.
So should anyone really care about the final shape of Zero Carbon? Yes. It is tied to building regulations. It will ultimately define Part L The Conservation of Fuel and Power and this shapes the design and energy efficiency of the homes we will be purchasing in the future.
Will they look very similar to current new build homes or will they be full of lots of bolt-on low carbon goodies?
Will Allowable Solutions be so popular that loads of trees (sadly of the non-talking variety) appear as carbon-offsetting sweeps across the land?
Will mechanical ventilation and heat recovery systems become the norm so you have to remember to change the filter on your house or will you still be able to crack open a window to get the air circulating?
The hour grows late and the smoke of regulatory confusion remains, clouding an issue that should have been sorted a long time ago. Let us hope there is a wizard in the new Government in 2015 who can wield a staff and work some magic. So far there’s been too much Tolkien and not enough doing.
To find out more about the past, present and the future of zero carbon, catch up with this year’s, ‘The Route to Zero Carbon’ Webinar featuring an expert panel from The Zero Carbon Hub, H+H UK Ltd and Celotex.