Publication Details

Heffernan, E., Pan, W. & Liang, X. (2012). Delivering zero carbon homes in the UK. In S. Smith (Ed.), Proceedings of the 28th Annual ARCOM Conference (pp. 1445-1454). United Kingdom: Association of Researchers in Construction Management.


In the UK and internationally, a plethora of voluntary and mandatory energy efficiency standards for new buildings exist, with the common aim of mitigating the impact of new buildings on climate change. However, the take-up of voluntary schemes has been limited and, as a result, many governments have seen the need to introduce mandatory schemes through legislation; from 2016 all new build homes in England and Wales will be required to achieve zero carbon in regulated energy consumption. The international context of voluntary and mandatory building energy efficiency standards is examined through a review of the literature. The review is expanded by a series of semi-structured interviews with construction professionals involved in the delivery of low and zero carbon homes in the UK. In order to establish why zero carbon homes are not being developed, themes of drivers and barriers and challenges in relation to the delivery of zero carbon homes are explored. The drivers which emerged are categorised into four groups: legislative; economic; social responsibility and individual; and the barriers and challenges into a further four groups: skills and knowledge; legislative and governmental; economic and industry. Skills shortages and knowledge gaps for all involved in the delivery of zero carbon homes were seen as the primary barriers and a gap in the literature also exists in this area. Gaining a greater understanding of the skills and knowledge required for the delivery of zero carbon homes is therefore confirmed as the focus for further research.