Green shoots, green homes?

Principal Investigator:

Sarah Payne


September 2014 - August 2015

Zero carbon housing (ZCH) is emerging as a key policy priority around the globe, with many Governments developing policies to intervene in conventional market-driven housebuilding practices. These policies often require significant changes to traditional building techniques. Positive examples of ZCH practice are emerging in some European countries (e.g. Germany & Netherlands) but the UK housebuilding industry remains significantly behind in the mainstream implementation of ZCH technologies. Indeed, standardised design techniques and efficient construction methods remain a favoured strategy of UK housebuilders in securing competitive business returns. Continuing housing market instability and a chronic shortage of new housebuilding adds a distinct texture to the UK’s impeding ZCH challenge and serves as an innovative vehicle for examining the conceptual, policy and practical challenges of ‘green growth’.

In adopting a qualitative methodology focused on examining behavioural change, this project critically examines the UK housebuilding industry’s ‘capacity to act’ on zero carbon housing policy within the constraints of ongoing housing market instability. Stage 1 empirical research focuses on examining ZCH housebuilding practice in South Yorkshire and Glasgow, two UK areas with stagnant housing output and ambitious ZCH policies. Stage 2 examines national/volume housebuilders’ ZCH strategy/behaviour through elite interviews with CEO’s and Group Directors.


Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)