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Feasibility of zero carbon homes in England by 2016: A house builder's perspective
Mohamed Osmania, , and Alistair O'Reillyb, 1,
aDepartment of Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK
bLaing O'Rourke Site Offices, Larch Villa, Off Laneham Road, Retford, DN22 0AF, UK
Received 9 December 2008; 
revised 16 January 2009; 
accepted 19 January 2009. Available online 28 January 2009.

The UK government set itself a 60% reduction of carbon dioxide emissions target on 2000 levels by 2050. This commitment will require carbon reductions to be made by all industries including the housing sector which presently accounts for 27% of carbon dioxide emissions. The house building industry is the subject of numerous government policies andlegislation, but none are as demanding as the Code of Sustainable Homes, which set a ‘world-beating’ target for all new homes to be zero carbon by 2016. This paper sets out to investigate the feasibility of building zero carbon homes in England by 2016 from a house builder's perspective. A comprehensive opinion of the feasibility of zero carbon homes is gathered through a questionnaire survey and in-depthsemi-structured interviews with the major UK housing developers. The research found that there are currently numerous legislative, cultural, financial and technical barriers facing house builders to deliver zero carbon homes in England by 2016. The house builders surveyed concurred that these challenges are not insurmountable provided that a swift, all-embracing and above all realistic strategyis adopted and implemented across the supply chain.
Keywords: Zero carbon homes; Drivers; Barriers; Housing practices; House builders; England
Article Outline
1. Introduction
2. Low carbon housing drivers
2.1. Business drivers
2.2. Cultural drivers
2.3. Legislative drivers
3. Low carbon housing barriers
4. The Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH)
5. Methodology
6. Results
6.1.Background information
6.2. Current low carbon house building practices
6.3. Drivers for zero carbon homes
6.4. Barriers to zero carbon homes
6.5. Feasibility of zero carbon homes
7. Discussion
8. Conclusions
1. Introduction
Climate change has established itself as a major issue, which requires an urgent and coordinated global response. To help tackle globalwarming, the UK is putting itself on a path to cut its carbon dioxide emissions by some 60% on 2000 levels by 2050, with real progress by 2020 [1]. This was superseded by a government announcement in October 2008 for a more ambitious target committing the UK to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by the middle of the century [2]. This commitment will require carbon reductions to be made by allindustries including the housing sector [3]. Carbon dioxide emissions from the housing sector have risen by more than 5% since 1997 and account for 27% of the UK's carbon footprint [1]. The government has consequently highlighted the house building industry as a key sector where carbon reductions can be made. The UK house building industry has been the subject of numerous government reports andinitiatives in recent years, such as the previous Deputy Prime Minster Office's £60K home programme, which was launched in 2004 and targeted production rates and the affordability of new build homes [4]. Indeed, the programme has challenged the house-building industry to look at how it can make construction methods more efficient by designing and building to high standards for a housing unitconstruction cost of £60,000. As a result, house builders are under increasing pressure to provide sustainable as well as affordable housing whilst increasing production rates to 240,000 units per year by 2016 [5]. In December 2006, the government published the Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) as a pathway to achieving zero carbon homes in England [6]. The CSH sets ambitious targets for the house...
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