How to achieve net zero carbon homes

Funded through the Local Government Association (LGA) Housing Advisers Programme, the guide has been produced by leading technical experts from Etude, the Passivhaus Trust, Levitt Bernstein and Elementa Consulting.

Who is the Toolkit for?

Pulling on latest guidance and best practice, the Net Zero Carbon Toolkit is a practical, easy to follow guide to help plan a net zero housing project.

Aimed at small or medium-sized house builders, architects, self-builders and consultants, the toolkit covers a range of steps – from pre-planning right through to construction – for delivering net-zero carbon, low-energy homes.

The toolkit also provides homeowners looking to retrofit or extend their existing property, guidance and advice on what they need to consider and how they can implement energy efficiency measures and begin the process of decarbonising their homes in a more affordable, phased approach.

Implementing the measures laid out in the new toolkit will help reduce the carbon footprint of new and existing buildings. Making significant reductions to a home’s carbon emissions also means lower energy bills for homeowners, more people out of fuel poverty and homes that are comfortable and healthier to live in.

How can others use the Toolkit?

West Oxfordshire District Council and its two partner councils share an ambition that net zero should be the standard for all new housing and retrofit projects in their districts.

Achieving the UK’s legally binding net zero target is no small task and it is acknowledged that reaching this goal requires organisations to work together, share experiences and build on best practice.

To help others reach net zero and to speed up the UK’s collective response to the climate emergency, the Net Zero Carbon Toolkit is openly available as a resource for private and public sector organisations to use and adopt. Further information about how the toolkit may be used is listed on page 2 of the document. 

Authors: Etude, Passivhaus TrustLevitt Bernstein and Elementa Consulting.

Publication date: July 2021



Good Homes 2020: Climate Emergency and Local Authority Action

The third event in the Good Homes 2020 Conference Series.


  • Welcome from the chair and update on the Vanguard Network – Julian Brooks, Programmes Director, Good Homes Alliance
  • ‘One million SuperHomes by 2030’ – An update from our Vanguard Network partner – Sandra Hayes, Head of Households and Communities, National Energy Foundation
  • Vanguard Network case studies
    • Reflecting on 10+ years of Passivhaus in Exeter – Emma Osmundsen, Managing Director, Exeter City Living
    • Planning for net zero in Cambridgeshire – Emma Davies, Principal Sustainability Consultant, Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service
    • One of the UK’s largest regeneration projects: Meridian Water, Enfield – Rafe Bertram, Sustainability Lead (Meridian Water), Enfield Council
    • Sustainable housing at Harlow and Gilston Garden Town – Tara Gbolade, Sustainability Lead, Harlow & Gilston Garden Town

Event date: Tuesday 3rd November 2020


Re-thinking local

The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the communities in which we live and work. The next six months have the potential to shape the direction of this country for years to come.

The challenges ahead are as great as those we faced during the pandemic. We need to rebuild our economy, get people back to work and create new hope in our communities. As we begin to look forward and rebuild, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to not just recover but to go even further – to address the stark inequalities the pandemic has exposed and that have been entrenched for too long; to connect with people’s identities and sense of community; to harness the energy and dynamism which have been the hallmarks of our response to this crisis; to rebuild the economy so that it benefits everyone.

This document sets out a series of offers to Government, alongside a set of asks and is the start of a process. A process to re-think our approach to these problems and a process that leads central government to re-think its view of us. We collectively need to re-think local and we hope this is the first step.

Now is the time for national government to grasp these opportunities and to lay the foundations for a future that is local.

Author: Local Government Association

Publication date: June 2020



So you’ve declared a climate emergency: what next?

A new report published by APSE sets out the steps that UK councils need to consider in translating climate emergency declarations into positive actions to address climate change. The report identifies both the barriers and opportunities for local councils to deliver on commitments to work towards net zero carbon emissions.

The report, written and researched with the New Policy Institute (NPI) suggests that actions taken now by councils, to reduce emissions will provide long term benefits with early cuts across a broad range of activities being the immediate aim.

Drawing upon the near-term targets, published by the Committee on Climate Change, the report highlights many achievable actions by local authorities in reducing emissions in assets and building, energy, transport, leisure and waste and recycling services.

Author: APSE

Publication date: May 2020



31 Climate Actions for Councils

Ashden and Friends of the Earth, with the support of CDP, have put together an evidence-based list of the most effective actions councils can take on climate. This easy-to-use list highlights the co-benefits for each action, whether it be better health, improved economy, increased equity or resilience.

Author: Ashden & Friends of the Earth

Publication date: March 2020



Whats stopping councils from building more houses?

The CIH-NFA-ARCH survey had 22 detailed responses from  authorities ranging from five London boroughs to large cities in the Midlands and North and several medium and small authorities.

Although the numbers responding were limited, the replies throw considerable light both on local authorities’ new-build plans and on the opportunities and constraints they still face.

Author: Chartered Institute of Housing; National Federation of ALMOs; Association of Retained Council Housing

Publication date: January 2020



Good Practice Guidance for Local Government

Who is this guide for?

This guide is designed for a wide range of officers working to implement adaptation within local government – whether that is a combined authority, district council, county council or unitary authority. This includes those responsible for adaptation planning, managing civil contingencies, and contributing to longer term planning, as well as those who want to make their services more resilient.

It is relevant both for organisations that are just starting out on adaptation planning, as well as for those who already work in adaptation, who are looking for new ways to move the agenda forward in their own area. It is also applicable to relevant stakeholders and partners who have a role in working alongside local authorities to progress adaptation in their local areas.

How to use this guide

This guide focuses on preparing for the impacts of climate change, a process known as climate change adaptation. It does not cover approaches to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, which are the drivers of climate change, often referred to as mitigation.

The guide is designed to assist local government with its work on climate change adaptation. You can use it to find out about the general business case for adapting to climate change, or why it matters in relation to key services and functions provided by local authorities. It also showcases techniques from around the country to provide inspiration for your own approaches.

How this guide was produced

The guide was developed by the LAAP with input from others including the Local Government Association, Core Cities, ADEPT, Defra and NHS England Sustainable Development Unit. It was then independently reviewed and developed by an adaptation specialist.

Author: ADEPT

Publication date: June 2019



You’ve declared a Climate Emergency… what next?

You’ve declared a Climate Emergency… what next? Don’t panic! There is a clear urgency to act, but steady, considered action is better than rushing into a piecemeal approach. Less haste, more speed!

This short guide by Arup is intended to help break down the challenge, based on their experiences of helping local authorities around the world to develop and deliver effective climate action plans.

Author: Arup

Publication date: June 2019



Building for the future: the role of county councils in meeting housing need

As part of the CCN’s Building for the Future project, which aims to showcase innovative county councils and unitary authorities delivering high-quality homes and communities, this report demonstrates that there is an appetite among counties to help meet national housing need but that they are not supported by national policy.

The report finds that there is an often-severe need for affordable housing among county and unitary authorities, with house prices in these areas among the highest in the country and at least nine times average earnings.

The report charts the progress of five counties trying to address local housing needs either through partnerships or direct delivery, ultimately calling on government to recognise the potential of this as a movement and make policy reforms to unlock further delivery.

Author: Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA), County Councils Network (CCN)

Publication date: June 2018



SCATTER (Setting City Area Targets and Trajectories for Emissions Reduction)

SCATTER (Setting City Area Targets and Trajectories for Emissions Reduction) is a local authority focussed emissions tool, built to help create low carbon local authorities. SCATTER provides local authorities and city regions with the opportunity to standardise their greenhouse gas reporting and align to international frameworks, including the setting of targets in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.

  • SCATTER generates a compliant emissions inventory

  • SCATTER can be used to develop a credible decarbonisation pathway for a local authority to implement in line with their emissions targets.

  • Outputs can then be used for engagement to create a collaborative carbon reduction approach

Author: Anthesis Group

Launch date: March 2018