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Research Case studies

Housing Minister refers to CeBE report into Elm Tree Mews development

The CeBE’s report evaluating the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust development at Elm Tree Mews was highlighted by Housing Minister Andrew Stunnell speaking at the Liberal Democrat Party Conference in Birmingham who said:

‘Although residents were comfortable and pleased with their lower heating bills, the homes were losing 54% more heat than designed’.

The report concluded that many processes and cultures within the industry and its supply chain need to change if Zero Carbon Homes is to be more than an empty slogan.

The minister was speaking ahead of Coalition plans to create affordable housing for the 4.5 million people currently on social housing waiting lists. He was keen to emphasise the importance of carbon efficiency when creating this accommodation and that in terms of sustainability, government plans should focus on ‘quality as well as quantity’.

Over a quarter of all Britain’s carbon emissions come from housing, which as he explained, would have a significant effect if reduced, for example, a ‘two-third cut in CO2 emissions produced in our homes would save more carbon than taking all the country’s cars off the road’.

In line with his party’s ‘promise of constructing a greener built environment’, he went on to announce the implementation of the ‘Green Deal’, explaining that ‘from September 2012, energy companies will pay up-front to insulate your home, with the money paid back through the savings made on your energy bill’.

In justifying these policies financially he explained that ‘stopping carbon emissions from our homes may not be as high profile as transport, or renewable energy projects. But it is essential in the fight against climate change. And a lot more cost effective’. For Stunnell the importance of these changes couldn’t be clearer: ‘we must make our buildings more sustainable or we will lose our battle with climate change’.

The CeBE’s report has provided a valuable insight into the reality of Zero Carbon Developments such as the one at Elm Tree Mews in York, and the need for greater research and development into environmentally sustainable housing.

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