At the design stage, however, 317 dwellings looked likely to reach level 6. And of 59,995 houses which reached level 3 on the drawing board, 29,205 were eventually certified as level 3 after completion. The figures were published last week in the latest of a series of updates which keep tabs on how many homes have received the government’s “zero carbon” certification since the introduction of the code in 2007. Only 31 Code Level 6 homes completed to date
A code level 6 home provides all the power needed for heating, lighting and appliances from on-site renewable energy sources, and in theory generates as much or more power than it uses, - an aspiration now beyond the government’s guidelines for zero carbon housing since it amended the definition in March.
A separate report looked at the costs associated with building new homes to greener, low-carbon standards, and found that it is getting cheaper every year, according to Communities Minister Andrew Stunell.
The research, based on interviews with developers and the latest information about environmental technologies, shows the overall extra costs of building new homes to standards set in the Code for Sustainable Homes is falling year on year.
For homes built to Code level 3 standards, average extra costs have fallen by almost three quarters in the last three years - falling from £4,458 in 2008 to £1,128 in 2010.
Stunell said: "Building greener homes is vital if we are to meet our nation's commitment to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change - so today's report is good news for the entire country. The progress that has been made does not only benefit developers building Code-standard homes, it also provides valuable lessons ahead of the transition to building new homes to zero carbon standards from 2016. As a country we still have lot of work to do to reduce carbon emissions from new development, but what these figures show us is that as the construction industry continues to build more sustainable homes, there is further potential for the costs associated building greener homes to continue falling".
The report reveals 88% of completed code level 3 homes have been built by social housing providers which are required to build to a minimum of code level 3 in order to receive Homes and Communities Agency funding.
The government announced in the March Budget that to qualify as zero carbon, homes would only need to have zero carbon powered heating and lighting from 2016, leaving domestic appliances out of the equation, a standard equivalent to the current code level 5. The government has indicated that it will update the Code for Sustainable Homes to take account of its change to the definition of zero carbon and the the Zero Carbon Hub’s recommendations.
The average energy efficiency (SAP) rating of new homes was 80.2 in England and 79.7 in Wales for the quarter April - June 2011. This is a decrease of 0.6 points for both England and Wales on the same quarter 2010, from 80.8 and 80.3 respectively.