World's First Zero-Emission Home: Made in the UK

Developers in the UK have introduced the world’s first zero-emission home, which could set the environmental standard for new homes of the future.

The two-bedroom house features solar panels, water efficiency gimmicks such as rainwater collection, and a biomass boiler, which would run on organic fuels. Its advanced insulation ensures that it loses 60% less heat than contemporary homes.

What is the significance of a carbon neutral home? According to BBC, about 25% of carbon emissions come from homes in the UK, which means that homes are a significant source of greenhouse gases. Moreover, in March Chancellor Gordon Brown announced that zero-carbon homes will be free from stamp duty, which gives people (in the UK) a greater incentive to go green.
“The design, unveiled at the Offsite 2007 exhibition in Watford, meets rules to be applied in 2016 that aim to make UK homes more energy-efficient.”

“The Kingspan Off-Site's Lighthouse design is the first to achieve level six of the Code for Sustainable Homes - which means the house is carbon neutral.”
The home will generate all of its own energy. Kingspan asserts that the home’s annual energy costs would amount to a mere £31, a small fraction of the average £500 power bill for standard homes of similar size. Though the biomass boiler releases CO2 gas during the burning process, the gas is absorbed by the fuel crops during growth, which effectively offsets the carbon emissions and thus counts as zero-emission. The home also has an innovative “waste separation system” that uses combustible waste as a source of power.

So what’s the catch? Kingspan admits that the cost of building such a home will be 40% more than the contemporary home. Nonetheless, house designer Alan Shingler was optimistic about the idea and felt that costs would drop as more of the homes were built.
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