The UK Treasury has cut its plans to make homes carbon neutral from 2016 by scrapping existing regulations that would have required houses to opt for renewable energy to meet their power requirements.
First announced in 2006, the zero carbon home policy favoured generation of green energy from renewable sources such as wind or solar, at the site itself. The power would then be used for home heating, hot water, lighting, and ventilation purposes.
From 2016, this policy was intended to be backed by tighter energy efficiency standards along with a scheme that would necessitate house developers to offer equivalent carbon savings off-site.
The authorities have now decided not to proceed with both the Zero Carbon Allowable Solutions carbon offsetting scheme and the proposed 2016 increase in on-site energy efficiency standards.
The authority has also eliminated the zero carbon policy for non-domestic buildings, according to the announcement; however, this decision prompted protests from house builders, planners and green groups in the country.
Solar Trade Association policy head Mike Landy said: "This retrograde and disappointing move by the government effectively ends its zero carbon buildings policy, at a time when reducing emissions and energy bills are more important than ever.
"Solar on new-build homes is a no-brainer and has widespread support. It is cheap, easy, brings running costs down and helps green our energy supply. The scaffolding is already up, the workers are on-site and the solar can be attractively integrated into the roof."
UK Green Building Council CEO Julie Hirigoyen said: "Let us be in no doubt this announcement is the death knell for zero carbon homes.
"This stop-start policy making approach gives industry no confidence in the government’s vision for a low-carbon economy and condemns new home owners to higher energy bills."