With the general election only a matter of weeks away, the Government has announced its biggest ever initiative to encourage people into ‘green living’. The £60 million scheme, which covers four locations and is intended to provide homes for 2,000 people, will fund the building of 600 eco-friendly homes. It is expected, however, that up to 100 of these homes will serve as ‘show homes’ and will not actually house any people.
The Government’s green rating scheme, introduced in May 2008, gives all new homes a rating between one to six, with carbon neutral homes achieving six. The new homes will be required to score at least four, although as of 2016 all new homes will have to score code level six in order to be rated carbon neutral.
In effect, the Government may be backing a scheme to build homes that are less environmentally friendly than others being built at the same time. This may be because the necessary renewable energy sources infrastructure has not been built at this stage, although the new homes will waste less water and energy. Once the properties are part of an eco town, they will become part of a carbon neutral community.
The Department for Communities and Local Government is building the new eco homes in St Austell in Cornwall, Rackheath in Norfolk, North West Bicester in Oxfordshire and Whitehill-Bordon in Hampshire.
The Government is currently in the consultation stages concerning the 2016 target and the changes in the Building Regulations Part L. Comments on the proposals are being accepted before 24
March 2010. The consultation documents are available here
. The Code for Sustainable Homes can be downloaded here.