Archive for the ‘stamp duty exemption’ Category

In case you don’t fancy wading through it, this is a brief summary of the zero carbon consultation doc. While nothing will be finalised until next summer (after they’ve ruminated over the responses), the document does give some insight into the way CLG is leaning on some issues.

At the core of the document is the government’s preferred framework for reaching zero carbon. In order of priority:

  1. A minimum standard of energy efficiency will be required.
  2. A minimum carbon reduction should be achieved through a combination of energy efficiency, onsite low and zero carbon (LZC) technologies, and directly connected heat. This is referred to as achieving carbon compliance.
  3. Any remaining emissions should be dealt with using allowable solutions, including offsite energy.


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So the consultation on zero carbon is out. If you haven’t read it yet, you can download it here.

Deadline for responses is 18 March so there’s plenty of time to make your voice heard. If you’re wondering whether there’s any point in responding, I would say absolutely. During the recent consultation on electricity markets I had a chance to see the process from both sides and I was surprised at just how seriously responses are taken.

And this consultation is a biggie. The UK has committed itself to an 80% cut in carbon by 2050 and the built environment is going to have to shoulder at least its proportional share of these reductions, with all new homes going “zero carbon” from 2016. This consultation is crucial because it feeds directly into the long term strategy for de-carbonising new buildings. It’s a chance to have your say before the regulations are finalised, so speak now our forever bitch ineffectively down the pub.

In an upcoming post I’ll give a quick summary of the consultation document. Then, in future posts, I hope to concentrate on a few of the issues that I feel are particularly important.

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At a meeting last week, the message from BERR’s side of the table was that the consultation on Zero Carbon (originally planned for summer, then autumn) is now unlikely to come out until 2009. That’s going to give industry at most 6 years to tool up to delivering zero carbon. Given that ministers are long past the point of no return on this, it’s extraordinary that by delaying this consultation they’re making things even harder for themselves and for developers.

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Love them or hate them, liquid biofuels are increasingly being put forward as a renewable fuel for CHP. Currently they’re eligible for ROCs and so appear to be considered renewable by BERR and OFGEM.

But when I spoke to the SAP team at BRE, not only did they confirm that liquid biofuels aren’t considered under SAP, they also said that “because of mounting doubts over the extent of emissions from biofuels”, you have to use the emissions factor for oil when carrying out your SAP calcs. Did they expect the treatment of biofuels to change for the 2010 review of SAP? Adamantly, they did not.

Then I called the BREEAM helpline. They told me that liquid biofuels also aren’t considered under the Code for Sustainable Homes. So no help in scoring points under ENE1 or ENE7.

So liquid biofuel CHP is eligible for ROCs but will do little for your Part L and Code requirements. Without achieving these requirements, the case for biofuel CHP for new buildings is severely undermined. Obviously this situation could change. With CLG on the lookout for ways to meet the 2016 zero carbon homes target, there might be considerable pressure applied in favour of making biofuel renewable under SAP. But for now the official line is that biofuels are not a solution for carbon reduction in new build.

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Following on from here, I have been chasing BRE & CLG to clarify the situation. The sorry response is that no-one was really aware of the potential implications of this piece of policy. So it’s official, at this point it is not possible to include the power output from communal on-site wind turbines, even where connected via a private wire network.

I have been tasked by Ted King, Head of Building Regs at CLG, to formally write to all stakeholders highlighting the issues so that they can be considered (not necessarily resolved) during the revisions for SAP 2009/10 for the next Part L update. The good news is that this work is already underway to be ready for the consultation process in January 2009. So, no comfort for my client, but perhaps others will be able to avoid this.

For what it’s worth, I also contacted the BWEA to check whether they were aware of the situation, and no they were not but obviously very interested to make sure that their industry is not penalised in this manner in the future.

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Communal wind turbines are currently of no use when trying to achieve Zero Carbon status for Stamp Duty Exemption. Here’s why… (more…)

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The housing minister, Caroline Flint has ‘confirmed’ the proposals for mandatory Code for Sustainable Homes assessments for all new dwellings from May 1 2008. (more…)

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I posted extensively last year about the no off-site renewables issues enforced by the Treasury. There is little to report on this as yet, except that as a direct result of the blogging and discussions with Paul King by myself and Julian Brooks we were invited to join the Green Building Council Task Force to review the issues and report to Government.

Can’t say anything about progress, but it’s exciting stuff and we are pleased to be involved.

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The requirement for all homes to be zero carbon by 2016 is going to fail unless we take action now. In particular, a set of interim requirements under the Code for Sustainable Homes must be imposed on private housebuilders. In addition, the Code must allow more flexibility in how zero carbon is achieved.


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Much later than planned, but here it is. In summary, micro-CHP saves 5% to 10% of carbon in large inefficient houses but only if you use a flawed methodology and give yourself extra-extra credit for displacing grid electricity. A few of the key findings:

  • The trial has demonstrated that the carbon and cost savings from Micro-CHP are generally better for buildings where they can operate for long and consistent heating periods.
  • In small commercial applications, the field trial has shown that Micro-CHP systems can provide typical carbon savings of 15% to 20% when installed as the lead boiler in appropriate environments.
  • The domestic Micro-CHP systems monitored in the trial have the potential to provide typical carbon savings of 5% to 10% for older, larger houses with high and consistent heat demands (over 20,000kWh/yr).

So since the last report, the Carbon Trust has toed the industry line that the 0.568 figure should be used.

There’s some very interesting output from the boiler field trials in the report as well. In particular, the boilers they’re monitoring are generally performing 4% to 5% below their SEDBUK rating.

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