Yvette Cooper MPYvette Cooper, Minister for Housing and Planning, visited Hockerton Housing Project today to find out more about the issues associated with achieving zero carbon housing.

During the whistle-stop 50 minute visit, Nick White (Director & Project resident) gave the Minister and an accompanying Guardian journalist a quick tour of his house and explained how they worked, what was successful and what lessons had been learnt over the last 9 years.


Summary of points made to Minister

What can be achieved?

  • Ultra low energy homes (25% energy use compared to homes built to current building regulations) by primarily focusing on reducing space heating
  • Ultra low energy homes need not cost any more to build – BUT need to remove complex spaced heating systems and use savings to invest in insulation & glazing
  • Increase in thermal comfort
  • Long term energy cost savings (approx. £1000/annum for HHP homes versus average UK home)
  • Future proofing householders against rising energy/water costs
  • Zero carbon homes …BUT currently at a cost due to expensive renewables.


  • Perceived premium costs for environmental building
  • Attitudes towards keeping complex space heating
  • Love affair with high technology & gizmos!
  • Micro-Renewables currently expensive and too much emphasis on payback rather than return on investment.

Key Lessons

  • Get the structure/basics right early on in design
  • Energy conservation first, second & third…then generation
  • Complex heating systems are very poor value for money compared to use of high levels of insulation as part of construction
  • Technology invariably disappoints in terms of performance and durability
  • Energy generation costs a premium
  • Micro-wind very site sensitive and unlikely to perform in urban environments
  • Design should limit on-costs & maintenance
  • Keep it simple ….easier/cheaper and less wasteful.
Date posted: March 22, 2007 | Author: | No Comments »

Categories: Eco homes Sustainable living

HHP Radio 4 budget coverageOn 21st March HHP provided the live location for Radio 4 programmes ‘You & Yours’ and ‘World at One’ as part of budget day.

Why? Well due to the  expectation that the budget would include a number of ‘green’ measures to combat climate change. HHP were part of a panel of people asked to comment on the budget and in particular on any announcements by the chancellor to promote reduction in carbon use (or indeed what he did not annouce!).


Simon Tilley representing HHP gave a lukewarm response, welcoming insulation grants for pensioners, zero stamp duty for zero carbon homes, and support for renewables – but unhappy that aviation was not adddressed and that gas-guzzlers got away with meagre increases in VED.

Date posted: March 21, 2007 | Author: | No Comments »

Categories: Sustainable living