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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *