Low carbon housing: lessons from Elm Tree Mews

Malcolm Bell et al.

This report sets out the findings from a low carbon housing trial at Elm Tree Mews, York, and discusses the technical and policy issues that arise from it.

The Government has set an ambitious target for all new housing to be zero carbon by 2016. With the application of good insulation, improved efficiencies and renewable energy, this is theoretically possible. However, there is growing concern that, in practice, even existing carbon standards are not being achieved and that this performance gap has the potential to undermine zero carbon housing policy. The report seeks to address these concerns through the detailed evaluation of a low carbon development at Elm Tree Mews. The report:

  • evaluates the energy/carbon performance of the dwellings prior to occupation and in use;
  • analyses the procurement, design and construction processes that give rise to the performance achieved;
  • explores the resident experience;
  • draws out lessons for the development of zero carbon housing and the implications for government policy; and
  • proposes a programme for change, designed to close the performance gap.