Agenda item

Notice of Motion

To consider the following Notice of Motion, submitted by Councillor Michael Croker in accordance with Rule 4a.26 of the Council’s Constitution:

 

In response to the ongoing climate emergency recognised by this council in June 2019, Horsham District Homes Limited is instructed to only construct new dwellings that meet the Passivhaus standard (as well as current building regulations).

 

Minutes:

Councillor Croker was invited to set out his Motion before the Council.

 

In response to the ongoing climate emergency recognised by this council in June 2019, Horsham District Homes Limited (HDH) is instructed to only construct new dwellings that meet the Passivhaus standard (as well as current building regulations).

 

Councillor Croker went on so say that HDH Ltd was owned by the council, and was 'committed to delivering affordable rented homes to households on the Council's housing register.'  The Passivhaus standard was a fabric first method of designing and building dwellings that provided a high level of occupant comfort whilst using very little energy for heating and cooling and a low running cost.

 

Whilst the initial construction cost was higher, this was typically 8% in 2018 and falling.  Building Passivhaus standard buildings would enable the Council to recognise that all new dwellings should be built to the standard.  The Government had set a target of carbon neutrality by 2050, but had yet to come up with a credible pathway on how to get there.  It should also be remembered that the world population had only 10 years of carbon budget left, at the current expenditure rate, before it was globally locked into a minimum of 1.5 degrees temperature rise.

 

In its recent report to parliament, the Committee on Climate Change warned that the UK had already built about 1m new homes in recent years that would have to be renovated to higher efficiency standards in order to meet the target of net zero emissions by 2050.

 

He believed that HDH should build to Passivhaus standards because it would:

 

     provide affordable, comfortable, future proofed homes for those that can least afford the alternatives

     reduce future obligation to upgrade council controlled housing stock to meet central government targets

     encourage commercial developers to follow suit, driven by the increasing recognition by house purchasers that there is a better way.

 

Councillor Youtan, Cabinet Member for Community Matters and Wellbeing replied that this was an important issues.  The Passivhaus standard was arguably the most rigorous in the world for energy efficient buildings and to achieve the standard it would be normal to use specialist contractors and builders.  As the cost premium was around 15%, there were only around one thousand units in the UK at the moment.  The aim of the HDH affordable home company was to increase the number of affordable homes in the district.  It was necessary to strike a balance between delivering as many homes as possible whilst ensuring the homes were as energy efficient as possible.  This was demonstrated by raising the EPC rating from B to A on all homes directly developed by the company.

 

Councillor Fletcher spoke and made the following points:

 

      That the Council needed to lead by example when dealing with the climate emergency

 

      The energy efficiency of homes was one of the most critical issues, and whilst there was a capital price differential between Passivhaus standards and normal house building energy ratings, the differential was dropping all the time. 

 

      The purpose of affordable housing was to be genuinely affordable, and running costs were critical to this.

 

      Standings Court was a highly successful Passivhaus development in Horsham.

 

The Cabinet Member for Environment, Recycling and Waste made the following points:

 

That he felt it was very important to improve the Council’s environmental standards, which had been successful in a number of areas, and supported the statement made by the Cabinet Member for Community and Wellbeing.

 

Following a further discussion, the Notice of Motion was