Martyn was commenting on the disappointment surrounding the Queen’s speech on zero carbon homes and the criticism of the alleged ‘watering down’ of the zero carbon homes targets.
“While there’s no doubt the revised zero carbon targets themselves are a climb down, they’re at least more realistic than those set before the recession – particularly given that renewables simply haven’t taken off in the way we would have liked.
“Despite its billing as the future of efficient domestic heating, the heat pump is a concept most UK homeowners are yet to embrace. Ultimately, a properly controlled boiler is far more effective and efficient than a poorly-used heat pump.
“The impracticality and the additional cost of equipping all new homes with a whole host of renewable technologies risks burdening house builders with too many hurdles to overcome,” added Martyn.
“There is pressure on the construction sector to increase the amount of new homes being built to meet the ever increasing demand. It is evident that to meet the ever-increasing need for new homes, it is both financially and technically difficult to achieve zero carbon in such high volumes, suggesting the treasury may have had an involvement in setting more achievable targets.
Martyn believes that a huge shift in the mindsets of UK homeowners will need to take place before the new build sector can once more consider the previous targets a realistic aim.
Despite welcoming the general approach laid out by the Queen’s speech, Martyn echoes criticisms levelled at the decision to exempt smaller new build developments from the zero carbon standard, asking: “Why should a small residential development be given less of a carbon standard than a larger site? By having one rule for developments comprising fewer than 50 properties and another for larger sites, we are essentially leaving house builders free to divide their larger sites into multiple developments to avoid playing by the rules. This surely defeats the object of introducing a new zero homes standard in the first place.”