Green building goals under the spotlight

Putting ambitious Government goals on sustainable buildings into practice came into focus in two parliamentary reports on climate and green energy published this week.

While the Government has already promised to make all new homes carbon neutral by 2016, teh priority is now speeding up the transfer to a more sustainable built environment by greening all buildings, according to the report on the Sustainable Secure Buildings Act 2004.

A “review of existing buildings” will examine how energy and water efficiency can be improved in the majority of buildings and not just new developments. Further work is also underway on extending the carbon neutral goal to buildings other than new homes, including existing public and private buildings that make up the majority of buildings in the UK.

With around half of Britain’s carbon emissions coming from the built environment, tackling emission from all buildings is essential, said communities minister Angela Smith:

“There is overwhelming evidence of climate change and a broad consensus that urgent action is needed.

As buildings account for around half of the UK’s total carbon emissions, it is vital that we take action to make them as sustainable and energy efficient as possible. These two reports highlight the progress which has been made but there is still a long way to go.

“Tougher standards such as Part L of Building Regulations are a start, but we must do more. The Code for Sustainable Homes is set to help us achieve zero carbon new homes by 2016. The challenge for Government and industry is now to work together to push even harder to extend improvements to all other types of buildings too,” she said.

Earlier this week, a coalition of business leaders, eco-campaigners and MPs called on the Government to take more action to deliver on energy efficiency promises (see related story).

Parliamentary reports on the Sustainable and Secure Buildings Act 2004 and the Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Act 2006 can be found here.

Goska Romanowicz

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