Almost every piece of consumer research we’ve ever done has concluded that cost is a major factor in getting people to live more sustainable lives. To be more specific, a bit of a barrier.
This is also the case for the construction profession, who are tasked with making newly-built homes as necessarily energy efficient as possible while, well, trying to stay in business in a difficult market.
So we’re very heartened by news from the communities and local government department that the cost of the extra measures needed to build to Code for Sustainable Homes Level 3 is falling – and dramatically so.
At Level 3, homes built are 25% more efficient than 2006 Building Regulations – this means installing efficient heating systems, use of energy efficient lighting, ventilation and high-quality windows, insulation, and even renewables depending on the specific design requirements.
Sounds pricey? Not so much, in fact. The government cost review suggests that hitting the Level 3 mark has fallen by nearly three quarters in the last three years – from £4,458 in 2008 to £1,128 in 2010.
We’re not the only ones pleased about this. Paul King, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, said:
‘The policy for all new homes to be zero carbon from 2016 and the accompanying Code for Sustainable Homes set a clear direction that has focused innovation around delivering energy efficiency cost effectively.
‘The industry has responded in a remarkable way – both housebuilders in terms of the design of new homes, and the construction products industry in terms of the technology required, and as higher levels of the code have become increasingly mainstream, costs have fallen rapidly’
This said, it’s not the first time that suggestions of hefty increases in cost for building with energy efficiency in mind have been disproved. In 2007 the World Business Council for Sustainable Development concluded that the costs of green building were overestimated by 300%.
So, for the builders, it’s both a hearty slap on the back for getting on board with innovation and economies of scale in construction, with a touch of slapped wrist for perhaps suggesting the burden of ‘greening’ the housing stock was more financially onerous than it really was.