23 May 2011
UKTFA welcomes Government definition of zero carbon
The UKTFA welcomes the latest announcement by Housing Minister Grant Shapps to define zero carbon homes. The previously confusing and woolly definition allowed huge scope for some builders to “bend” the rules to suit their own interpretation, often ignoring the true spirit of the definition by thinking that they do their bit by loading poor, leaky building fabric with all manner of bolt-on technologies. UKTFA chairman Simon Orrells comments: “In reality, this does nothing to reduce the carbon footprint of new dwellings, it just stores up long-term maintenance issues for tenants and home owners and more importantly reduces the efficiency of certain renewable technologies. For renewable systems to work at their optimum, the building fabric most certainly has to be highly thermally efficient and with virtually no unwanted air leakage. This is a principle adopted in Germany for some time, under the Passivhaus guise and what most timber frame systems can deliver here in the UK.”
Grant Shapps has become increasingly tuned into the UKTFA thinking of a fabric first approach as the most sensible, cost-effective option to reducing the carbon footprint of new housing stock. His tough but realistic new definition, paves the way for future changes to the Building Regulations to further improve standards of fabric energy efficiency making timber frame the fabric of choice for performance and cost efficiency whilst delivering the most sustainable construction method.