How has the drive towards a low carbon economy come about?

The Kyoto Protocol (1997)

The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The major key point of the Kyoto Protocol is that it sets binding targets and aims for 37 industrialized countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions .These amount to an average of five percent against 1990 levels over the five-year period 2008-2012.

The Climate change Act (2008)

Under the Climate Change Act 2008 the UK government set a legally binding target of at least an 80% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, to be achieved through action in the UK and abroad. Set against a 1990 baseline.

This Act made it mandatory to have an Energy efficiency Code rating for all new homes in England under the Code for sustainable Homes Scheme (CSH).

Code for Sustainable Homes

The Code for Sustainable Homes (the Code) is the national standard for the sustainable design and construction of newly built homes. The Code aims to drastically reduce our carbon emissions and create homes that are more sustainable. It applies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The government has set a 'zero carbon' target of CSH level 6 for all new built homes built after 2016. Level Six will require some form of onsite renewable technology in order to be attained.

The Government has indicated its intention to use the code as the basis of future Building Regulations Part L (1A) changes, proposing it as a route map for new homes to become net-Zero Carbon by 2016.

  • Level 1 is set just above current 2006 Building Regs.
  • Level 6 is 'net-Zero Carbon' for homes in use, including appliance and occupant energy use. An increasing proportion of credits are needed to satisfy each level.

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