Communities and Local Government has published revised guidance to help the construction industry respond to the challenge of meeting the zero carbon homes target.
HM Treasury will shortly lay draft regulations before Parliament setting out definition of a zero carbon home for stamp duty land tax purposes. The Budget 2007 stated: that from 1 October 2007 all new homes meeting the zero carbon standard costing up to £500,000 will pay no stamp duty, and zero-carbon homes costing in excess of £500,000 will receive a reduction in their stamp duty bill of £15,000. The exemption will be time limited for five years until 30 September 2012, but before the end of the time limit the government will review the effectiveness of the relief and consider the case for an extension.
The code for sustainable homes was introduced in April this year. The key changes are:
* The way energy efficiencies for flats with and without renewables are calculated;
* The way water efficiencies are calculated; and
* The use of off-site renewable energy sources. In future, these will not be eligible unless directly connected to the development concerned. The code continues to allow connection to gas and electricity grids as long as the home produces net zero carbon emissions over the year.
Key features of a zero carbon development could include technologies such as combined heat and power, district heating and cooling systems, aquifer thermal energy, ground source heat pumps, passive heating, and solar and wind energy.