Wales mulls zero-carbon requirement for new-build homes
Wales may require all new-build housing to be zero carbon, under new proposals from a National Assembly Committee.
The Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee found that Wales has the oldest housing stock in Europe and that the pace and scale of delivering energy efficient homes needs to be increased "urgently".
The Committee called for a ten-year low-carbon housing strategy, which would involve the construction of all new-build homes to zero-carbon standards, as well as retro-fitting existing housing stock.
It also called for:
- A complimentary planning and building system with low-carbon and energy efficiency at their centres, and supported by rigorous, independent inspection regimes;
- Financial incentives to encourage buyers and owners to buy low-carbon housing and invest in retrofit measures;
- Funding interventions that maximise the impact of Welsh government investment in low-carbon housing; and
- A fully-trained workforce, ready to construct and improve homes using the latest technologies.
The Welsh government has committed to reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 but the Committee found the possibility of meeting this target was "some way off".
"There are many reasons why we should improve the energy efficiency of our housing stock. The most pressing is the need to deliver on legal obligations to eliminate fuel poverty and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases," said Mike Hedges AM, chair of the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee.
"The Welsh Government is required to reduce emissions by 40% by 2018 and by 80% by 2050.
"Challenging targets need challenging solutions. Reducing the amount of energy we use in our homes will substantially accelerate progress towards these goals.
"Achieving the targets will require a considerable ramping up of ambition and must span the whole of Wales' policy levers.
"We are calling on the Welsh Government to bring forward a ten-year low-carbon housing strategy, including milestones and targets to kick start housing development now and for the future."
The Committee's report will be considered by the Welsh government.