BSRIA has expressed its disappointment – but is not unsurprised with the current climate of zero carbon progress – at last week’s announcement that the Zero Carbon Hub, a public private partnership created during the last Labour government in 2008 to help deliver zero-carbon homes, is to close.
The hub was set up to advise government and housebuilders on zero-carbon homes. It will be put into a dormant state with its office in London to close, but the hub’s website will be maintained.
Julia Evans, Chief Executive, BSRIA, said: “BSRIA is disappointed the hub didn’t work out. We were supportive of it as a basic principle and certainly admire its intent. In its existence the hub did a lot of good work and led the way for carbon friendly homes. But the work the hub was championing has not gone away. As such, we ask now who is going to pick up the ‘carbon zero torch’?”
The hub worked with the coalition government and the construction industry to create an official definition for zero-carbon homes, meaning they could be delivered by mainstream housebuilders and meet the government’s target for all new homes built from 2016 to be zero carbon.
Co-funded by industry and government the hub went on to transform the way in which policy aspiration was translated into practicable regulation and industry action.
The current government decided to drop the target for all new homes to be Zero Carbon (or something close to it) by 2016 and with it, the hub lost its ‘raison d’etre’. With a board comprised of private, public and third sector representatives, they struggled with its ‘world-leading’ remit.
In the nine months since Osborne’s announcement, Zero Carbon Hub was forced to focus on overheating in homes and the energy performance gap – the difference between a building’s designed energy performance and actual performance.
The hub’s core funders, who sat on its board, were the UKGBC, the Construction Products Association, Homes and the Communities Agency, Local Government Association, National House-Building Council, Home Builders Federation and Robust Details Ltd.
The Department for Communities and Local Government was also represented on the board.