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Monday, January 15, 2007
Housebuilders' zero-carbon challenge
Last week a well-publicised 'summit' took place between the Home Builders Federation and Yvette Cooper to discuss how housebuilders will meet her demands for all housebuilding becoming zero-carbon within ten years. The housebuilders big demand was for action to develop local energy markets. These would involve local renewable sources, the management of local plants and their regulation.

I think they are actually entirely right. As anyone who has tried to meet even the current 10% on-site renewables demand in London will know, dealing with renewable energy on a site-by-site basis is virtually impossible for small urban sites. On the other hand, the kind of radical thinking that Southwark is demonstrating with its creation of a Multi-Utility Service Company for Elephant and Castle, seems to be the way to get the cost down and provide the infrastructure needed for mass-market zero-carbon homes that even the small local developers can plug into.

And just to up the ante, the National Housing Federation, which represents housing associations, has said the government needs to set tougher targets for green homes, bringing forward the deadline for carbon-neutral housing to 2012. Let's just say that sounds ambitious, to say the least, but it's always good to see someone pushing in that direction.

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