So the quest for The Code (for sustainable homes) is over. The Housing Standards Review has swarmed all over regulations like an army of Orcs in Middle Earth searching for those pesky Hobbits. The Code has been sacrificed but does this signal the end for the quest for Zero Carbon Homes?
Zero Carbon was supposed to happen in 2016 to coincide with the next revision to Part L. Given that Part L 2013 didn’t appear until 2014 and a General Election looms to add extra delay, even Gandalf would struggle to pull this one out of his big grey hat. Is Zero Carbon the ‘one Ring’ that will bind together all the policies towards a common goal?
The problem is, the goal is not common. The ‘mount doom’ of climate change is just too far away for most of us. We scurry about The Shire in our own little world, focused on the everyday tasks of working, paying bills, trying to climb on the housing ladder and having the odd bit of fun if we are lucky.
A Zero Carbon Home?
Any home will do. The EPC rating? Not bothered. Living space, quality of local schools and somewhere to park the car are far more important for most. Sure, it would be great to have a new home one day that is ‘zero’ carbon but that day is a long way off and I don’t want to pay any more for it thank you very much.
Of course, the homes most us buy already exist and are along way from Zero Carbon. Bands of people have set off before on Green Deal and ECO expeditions to tackle this problem. Few have returned.
So what is the best way to get us to care about carbon emissions and tweak the nose of The Dark Lord of Climate Change? Tax. Or more precisely, tax incentives. If we got a council tax rebate for improving the energy efficiency of our homes there would be an army of homeowners ready to climb the mountain and get their metaphorical finger bitten off for a good cause …and a few extra quid in their ‘pocketses’…