Government must do more to tackle carbon footprint of existing buildings

A leading voice for the green building industry has spoken of its disappointment at Government's decision to discretely drop moves to enforce environmental standards for existing properties.

In its response to the government consultation on regulations covering energy conservation, known as Part L, the UK Green Building Council outlined its disappointment that the issue of improvements to existing homes and smaller work buildings had been dropped.

“Given that this proposal received widespread support in the 2004

Part L consultation, the fact that it has now been completely

dropped from proposals is, we feel a significant mistake and a

missed opportunity,” said the UKGBC response.

“Especially given the Government’s recent commitment to reduce emissions from buildings by 80% by 2050 and the recent recommendation from the Committee on Climate Change that this should be raised to 90%.

The trade body also argued that it will be necessary to introduce minimum environmental performance standards for existing buildings if there was to be any hope of achieving a sustainable built environment.

It reiterated its earlier calls for an industry ‘roadmap’ which would bring together all Government policy and regulations to ensure they were not in conflict and did not cause further confusion.

Such a roadmap would, argues the UKGBC, ‘provide [the] clarity and certainty required to enable investment, innovation and effective delivery’.

The response was far from entirely negative, however, with the organisation praising government for its commitment to ensuring all news homes would need to be carbon zero by 2016 with non-domestic buildings set to follow suit by 2019.

These targets amounted to the ‘most ambitious environmental policy the government has introduced’ said the UKGBC.

Sam Bond

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