London’s first zero-carbon homes flood city’s housing market

Rising demand for zero-carbon housing, a push from the mayor of London, and reduced land costs have helped developers build more zero-carbon buildings across London.

Government figures show that by the end of 2017 3,090 home developments will be carbon neutral, including 3,715 new-build homes – most of which are being built in outer London. That represents a 24% increase on last year.

The number of zero-carbon homes built in London each year has risen by 20% in the past five years to 67,470 homes in 2017. This is four times higher than the previous five-year average.

Zero-carbon, zero-carbon – a balanced picture for London Read more

Globally, the International Energy Agency projects that in 2016, 1.5bn new homes will be built in developing and emerging markets, a threefold increase from 1997. By 2040, it expects that this figure will reach 50bn.

Home owners in London can afford to pay less for their homes if the developers offer them with a complementary allowance to cover the cost of renewable energy, building conservation and the replacement of old and inefficient infrastructure.

“As home buyers, we can choose to choose a building that offers us climate benefits that outweigh the cost,” said Aldi Bercovici, Greater London director of land development and engagement at the Mayor of London’s housing policy unit.

“We need to move on from asking if these homes are climate-friendly, and how we will pay for them, to thinking, how do we use our homes to encourage climate change mitigation and adaptability.”

Ric Spooner, head of north of England at KWE Sustainable Homes, predicts that by 2030 approximately 10% of new homes in Greater London will be zero-carbon.

In the past four years, KWE, developers of renowned Zero Net Zero homes in London, have certified approximately 15,000 homes. Last year, KWE Architects’ Zero Net Zero Hammersmith and Fulham project was the first new-build flat in Britain to achieve the European Green New Deal certification.

“There has been a real surge in demand for zero-carbon homes, especially in outer London, which are in short supply,” said Spooner. “The market is becoming more aware of the benefits of using a green building standard.”

Twelve councils have actively encouraged developers to add a decarbonising allowance (DCA) and with landlords offering tenants, who often buy their homes through leasehold arrangements, DCAs, green deal credit options, it is estimated that at least 7,000 homes in the London boroughs of Ealing, Newham, and Haringey are zero-carbon due to their rental agreements.

“Planning policy and public sector funding policies including green deal incentives can give the right incentives for developers to consider selling homes zero-carbon,” Spooner said.

Less than 1% of London homes have decarbonising allowances, due to the lack of private-sector supply and because of a failure to include the DCA. In future, KWE hopes that policies and schemes such as Help to Buy will help make zero-carbon homes accessible to everyone, particularly to tenants.

• This article was amended on 15 October to correct the number of zero-carbon homes in outer London to 3,715, rather than the number of zero-carbon homes in outer London.

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