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Housebuilding and ‘net-zero carbon’ targets

  • by JW

“Practically none of the housing built since 2015 is carbon neutral.”

“A new Future Homes Task Force has been set-up to ensure housebuilding is aligned to the UK’s net-zero target.”


All sort of aspirations have been voiced to ‘green up’ housing:

Local Plans, housing and carbon commitments – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Green housing – Vision Group for Sidmouth

However, not much has been delivered since 2015:

796,710 new dwellings have been built since then, according to official figures – practically none of them net zero and all expected to last well beyond when the whole economy must hit net zero.

Almost 800,000 fewer homes made zero-carbon due to Tory planning deregulation | The Independent

Further aspirations have just been announced, with one of the major house builders funding research by the University of Exeter:

A new Future Homes Task Force has been set-up to ensure housebuilding is aligned to the UK’s net-zero target,” Graham Prothero, chief operating officer at Vestry, said. “Meeting the ambitions set out by the task force requires a new approach and cross-sector collaboration.”

Housebuilder funds climate study into future of home construction |

Exeter University investigating how housebuilding affects climate – Radio Exe

Vistry funds University of Exeter study into climate change effect on construction – Business Live

Meanwhile, a University colleague doubts the validity of much of the ‘net zero’ agenda:

“The idea of net zero carbon is a dangerous trap” – this is greenwashing – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Indeed, the housing industry is making quite a thing about going ‘carbon neutral’:


Future Homes Task Force announces new delivery plan to meet environmental goals

However, whereas the target date had been 2016, it’s now going to be a decade later:

Sector-wide plan to build net zero homes by 2025 | News | Housing Today

But it’s not just central government and the housing industry not really living up to such aspirations:

Council policies ‘inconsistent’ with climate goals – BBC News

There are specific inputs going into the debate, including some quite radical:

New Concrete With 40% Less Carbon Can Help You Hit Net Zero Targets

‘Stop building houses’ – public response to climate crisis | Watford Observer

Inside Housing – Comment – Recycling building materials can help develop an environmentally friendly circular economy

Suppliers invited to showcase ‘game-changing’ solutions to housebuilding innovation challenge – Scottish Housing News