Council's zero carbon homes are NOT zero carbon

Greens have called Labour-run Oxford City Council's announcement [1] that they will build eight new zero carbon homes [2,3] "highly misleading".

Says Green Councillor Dick Wolff (who lives in a truly zero carbon home [4]): "We are beginning to see a worrying pattern of exaggerated environmental claims.

Firstly, the Council announced a zero emission zone that isn't 'zero emission' - now we have the highly misleading claim that the Council will be building 'zero carbon homes' If you read the detail of the Council's press release you can see that they have excluded so-called 'unregulated loads' from the definition of zero carbon [5].

In reality this means that the carbon emissions from big energy users such as TVs, washer/dryers, dishwashers and refrigerators will be excluded.

The most common definition of a zero carbon home, used by most other authorities, INCLUDES unregulated loads."

Note that 'real' zero carbon homes are actually being built in Oxfordshire [6] - just not by Oxford City Council!

21st May 2020


[2] What is a zero carbon house: “Aside from the politics of building standards, zero carbon house achieves Level 6 of the original UK Code for Sustainable Homes [3], “true zero carbon” standard.  It doesn’t burn fossil fuels for anything in the home – heating, lighting, cooking, drying clothes, using computers, watching television.”
[4] Cllr Wolff's house generates more renewable energy than it uses over the course of a year. In effect it is a renewable power station. 
[5] This can be up to around a third of the carbon emissions generated in a house. For electrically heated, well insulated homes, this proportion will be even higher (see Government Act on CO2 calculator methodology

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