UK Tax Breaks for Zero Carbon Homes

by , 10/09/07

zero energy house, zero carbon home, zero energy home, british tax breaks zero energy, energy efficiency UK, zero energy, energy efficient homes

In hopes of helping to kick-start a market of zero-carbon homes, encourage microgeneration technologies, and raise public awareness of the benefits of living in zero-carbon homes, the British government announced last week a significant tax break for the original buyers of the eco-friendly homes. Known as the “stamp” tax, homebuyers (and sellers) pay a percentage fee to the government at the point of sale. The new tax break could save buyers as much as £15,000 (nearly US$28,000).

Homes valued at less than £500,000 (nearly US$1,000,000), will have the tax waived altogether, but it does not affect the second sale of the home. In conjunction with the Carbon Challenge (a campaign by the Department of Communities and Local Government to accelerate the housing industry’s response to climate change), which launched this February, the tax break has helped trigger a race for developers to build the first zero-carbon homes — whose definition and technology are still being worked out.

According to the British government, zero-carbon emission homes do not consume fossil fuels for heat and power. They ideally feature wind catchers for summer ventilation, solar arrays at the back of the house for hot water and electricity, a high-level of wall insulation, and a biomass boiler.

By using renewable energy to power its needs throughout the year via microgeneration, the houses are expected to draw from the electricity grid only when microgeneration (e.g., solar panels) is insufficient. But homeowners are able to sell excess energy back to the grid. Although developers are hoping for a more flexible definition of “zero carbon,” the British government has promised to provide a more detailed interpretation by November. It is still yet to be seen how gas and water utilities will react to the plan, especially given the official goal to have all new homes built for a zero-carbon standard by 2016.

Via BBC News

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  1. ROBINL June 19, 2009 at 5:45 am

    Check this out the closes I have ever seen to a Zero Carbon House, its 20% better then an A1 rated house,
    Passive is Massive what a specification being offered!

  2. brian November 21, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    found a website – fantastic design (contemporary) but Zero Carbon homes does someone knows them? Any experience??

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  5. Firoz October 13, 2007 at 1:56 pm

    djFred, the house pictured above has been featured before on

    One of the comments that follows the article is by one of the designers of the house. Apparently, they had to work to an available plot size of about 5x10m.

  6. djfred October 11, 2007 at 7:08 pm

    Nice. Hopefully, we’ll get something like that here soon. At least this gives something to reference when we push for better legislation.
    I like that house but what’s with all those tiny floors and staircases? Is there supposed to be some sort of environmental benefit to that or was it just a design choice? To me, it just looks like wasted space but I’m probably missing something.

  7. Nick Simpson October 10, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    The race to design the first level 6 (zero-carbon) house has already been won – by the house you have pictured, Sheppard Robson’s “The Lighthouse” design for Kingspan Offsite. Pretty cool building…

    As for the gas and electric companies, they’ll just have to live with it. Any housing built to level 4 of the CSH (Code for Sustainable Homes, the new-ish benchmark for sustainable housing in the UK) should reach Passivhaus standards and as such shouldn’t need a heating system full-stop. Still, there’ll still be all of the existing housing for them to supply for the next 50 years or so…

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