Green Party Leader Steven Agnew Shows His Commitment For Zero Carbon Homes 

August 2012

Northern Ireland's Green Party Leader Steven Agnew MLA made an official visit to Northern Ireland’s first ever zero carbon house which has achieved five years free council rates under the government’s now defunct Low Carbon And Zero Carbon Homes Scheme. The showhouse, located in Middletown Co. Armagh and built by Green Future NI is a ‘blue-print’ build of superior performing homes capable of near zero energy bills.

 Zero carbon or ‘eco’ homes conjure up images of unaffordable ‘grand designs’ far removed from the realities of Northern Ireland’s housing needs, but this Armagh based firm has broke this tradition by developing a ‘blueprint’ for affordable, volume zero carbon housing, by introducing the ‘Green Future House’.

With all new homes to be build zero carbon by 2016 in Northern Ireland under current government legislation, and with councils each accountable for meeting carbon reduction targets under the EU Directive, this sustainable building firm has successfully addressed the major challenge of how to build energy efficient homes at low costs ahead of required mass transition to zero carbon homes in less than 4 years.

Mr Agnew said: “We need investment and commitment to break Northern Ireland’s over reliance on fossil fuels and the Assembly needs to lead the way rather than relying on short-term measures as these don’t tackle the core issue.

We also need to be investing in renewables which would ensure greater fuel security and lower energy prices in the long term”.

“This has literally become a matter of life and death for older people as they are faced with the stark choice of heat or eat during the winter and this is just unacceptable”. Continued Mr Agnew.

During his visit Mr Agnew also took part in a BBC Newsline broadcast at the Green Future House, Green Future NI is lobbying for reintroduction of the five years no rates incentive scheme for zero carbon homeowners. The ‘Green Future House’ achieved this, but only a handful of homeowners have since achieved this before it ended in March this year. With energy bills less than £300 per year for this 5 bedroom traditional country home, a 77 per cent saving on home energy bills compared to the average home.

Ulster University carried out thermal performance testing at the house, statistics revealed  that the envelope of this house is 77 per cent more energy efficient than traditional homes. 

John McClatchey spokesman and director for Green Future NI thanked the Northern Ireland Green Party leader, he said:

"Mr Agnew has continued to support our green energy solutions and ambitious zero carbon agenda as we help eradicate fuel poverty in social housing and the self build sector. The savings and speak for themselves. Green Future is proving that zero carbon homes can be built at the same cost as traditional homes, it is economically and environmentally unresourceful to build anything other than zero carbon housing.

"As a live working test bed, the Green Future House acts as a showcase helping address critical questions around affordable, energy efficient housing. The need for the industry to unlock the key to creating low-cost, volume zero carbon housing is now more vital than ever and Green Future NI believes it has provided the answer. This valuable working template is being used to help the housing industry arm itself with the knowledge and experience to make this a reality."

Homeowners are not at the hands of rising gas or oil prices as Green Future homes useleading green energy technology and have the strength of an insulated concrete structure form. Economically soundGreen Future homes are considered a best value proposition.