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In the UK there is a plan to make all new homes zero-carbon from 2016. This is unlikely as the renewables industry is hampered with grants to houseowners erratic and small, and no feed-in tariff (FIT) as they have in Germany available for selling microgenerated energy back into the national grid. This reduces demand.
A recent report by the Renewables Advisory Board (RAB) has shown that the UK market for renewable energy (everything from biomass to solar) could be worth £2bn per year.
An EU target is energy from 20% renewable sources by 2020.
The 'Merton Rule' states that 10% of energy in new build should be from onsite renewables. This is from a rule at Merton Council (Mitcham, Morden, Raynes Park, Wimbledon area etc.)
Deals are being done now by large developers to offset the onsite, such that they can invest in, say, wind farms, or other carbon offsetting technologies, that are remote to the build. These will probably be abroad somewhere, with major problems for evaluation and authenticity.
Would investing in a biofuel farm in Indonesia count towards the 10%? Even though this is destroying the rainforest, and does no good whatsoever for anything in the UK.
Avoidance like this means the industry for renewable energy will not increase as much as is the aim. It is far easier for a developer to carry on with old-fashioned practices and write off some funds aroad, than create a locally organised energy system.
This is a hot topic politically and changes will happen, so keep an eye on the news. It is becoming an issue between Labour and newly green tinged Conservatives, so perhaps there will be some action.
No stamp duty on zero carbon homes until 2012
Gordon Brown (ex UK Prime Minister) announced on March 27, 2007 that from October 1st of 2007, all carbon free homes up to the value of £500,000 would be exempted from stamp duty until September 30th 2012. The decision to reward buyers of carbon neutral homes with no stamp duty illustrates the direction the government envisions in future home energy efficiency.
The 2007 budget was the first stage in the plan to make all new homes built after 2016 to adhere to the zero carbon regulations.
A carbon free house is a property with 'zero net emissions of carbon dioxide from all energy use in the home' and includes energy consumed by any household appliances and heating and ventilation.
Currently there are very few zero carbon homes in the UK. To meet the government's targets, any new buildings will need to be extremely energy efficient and produce enough energy to cancel out the small quantity of emissions it does create. The new energy restrictions are predicted to create a huge growth sector in the sustainable energy sector.
From Go Carbon Free www.gocarbonfree.com
See BRE Trust www.bretrust.org.uk