Welcome to the Oxfordshire Zero Carbon Homes Initiative
Around 25% of our carbon emissions come from housing. As part of moves to ‘Net Zero’ emissions we need to:
• dramatically improve the energy efficiency of our homes
• ensure that all new houses are built to be carbon neutral.
The Oxfordshire Zero Carbon Homes Initiative (OZCHI) has the aim that all new homes built in Oxfordshire will be designed to zero carbon standards*. OZCHI is a partnership set up by Oxford Friends of the Earth (see below for who we are).
OZCHI is calling for all the councils in Oxfordshire, and the Oxfordshire Growth Board and the Local Enterprise Partnership to cooperate to “develop, set and implement a new common standard that will deliver net zero carbon homes” and also to work with the government and other agencies to make Oxfordshire a ‘Zero Carbon Homes Innovation Zone’ A copy of the letter sent to our councils is available. A press release on this is here.
Oxford Friends of the Earth is also running a petition on this and asking people to contact their councillors – you can find that here:
OZCHI is a partnership between Oxford Friends of the Earth, Greencore Construction, Bioregional, Jessop and Cook, and SowSpace. It is supported by other organisations – see below. We invite you to join us (see ‘join our work’ below). There is a briefing on what we are planning.
Zero Carbon Homes – what do you think?
OZCHI is carrying out a survey of people and organisations working on housing design, construction, and management to understand current issues and concerns. If you are involved in housing please take a few minutes to complete our survey. It is online, please click here.
Making change happen.
Current plans for Oxfordshire include up to 100,000 new homes. If new homes (however many are finally built) continue to waste energy (as most new homes will at present) then they are making the climate crisis worse. We need every new home to be zero carbon. This is technically feasible – what it needs is the political will.
We know this is doable. As long ago as 2008 the government proposed a ‘zero carbon homes standard’ but this plan was dropped in 2016. Current government plans for a ‘Future Homes Standard’ will not take us to Net Zero Carbon soon enough.
It is happening (but too slowly!) Zero carbon homes are already being built in Oxfordshire. The Springfield Meadow development near Southmoor is an excellent example including both private and social housing properties.
Want to see more? A set of case studies from Oxfordshire and around the UK are available here.
The retrofitting of existing homes is equally important and is being addressed elsewhere. Our current focus is on new homes – the scope may be extended to all buildings over time. We plan to develop collaboration between organisations from different sectors to work together to co-create a new system for planning, designing and building zero carbon homes that can be applied in Oxfordshire initially and which provides a blueprint for others to follow.
We recently published Fast Forward Oxfordshire which sets out a path to Zero Carbon Oxfordshire by 2040.
We will shortly have our ‘Zero Carbon Homes questions and answers’ (which also tackles some current myths about zero carbon homes).
If your organisation supports our aims please support us! Contact OZCHI via firstname.lastname@example.org
Zero Carbon Homes – what do we mean?
* The definition of zero carbon we are using (as a minimum standard) includes the construction and in use carbon based on the UK green buildings council framework definition as set out in April 2019 – https://www.ukgbc.org/ukgbc-work/net-zero-carbon-buildings-a-framework-definition/
For further information we recommend:
- The UK Green Buildings Council: https://www.ukgbc.org/
- The London Energy Transformation Intiatve: https://www.leti.london/
- The Passivhaus Trust: https://www.passivhaustrust.org.uk/
Join our work on this!
The success of this initiative will rely on the collaboration of stakeholders from different sectors working together. As a first step we are looking to reach out to those stakeholders to ask them for help. We need your support to do this.
We need you to write to your local councillors and ask them to make the building of zero carbon homes a planning priority in Oxfordshire and to introduce planning measures that support this.
We need you to help us identify key stake holders whom we should contact. Are you, or do you know someone who is:
- An expert in zero carbon technology
- A planner
- An architect
- A developer
- A builder
- A representative of a housing association
- Others working on homes and buildings
Please get in touch with us via the email address: email@example.com