Industry urges Gov to push ahead with zero carbon non-domestic buildings

The Government must urgently push ahead with plans to ensure all new non domestic buildings are built to zero carbon standards from 2019, a report from a UK-GBC industry Task Group warns.

The report, Building Zero Carbon – the case for action, argues that there is a “very strong economic case” for a robust definition of zero carbon, but that current efforts to meet higher standards are “fragmented and disparate” in the absence of a clear policy framework.

According to the report, this lack of clarity is “creating inefficiencies and the loss of global export opportunities” within the industry.

The Task Group of companies from across the buildings supply chain urges Government to restate its commitment to the 2019 target and set out a clear and ambitious definition of zero carbon. The last time Government publicly committed to the target was in December 2010.

UK Green Building Council chief executive Paul King said: “The business benefits of zero carbon non domestic buildings are huge, boosting innovation that could help to create export opportunities in excess of £1bn by 2050.

“Industry stands ready to invest in innovation and deliver higher standards in non-domestic buildings, but the Coalition’s failure to recommit to the 2019 target is holding it back. Government has dragged its feet over this issue for far too long to the detriment of both business and the environment, and must now act urgently to demonstrate it is serious about realising the vast economic benefits of this policy,” added King.

Sustainable developments executive at British Land, Sarah Cary, who chaired the Task Group, said: “With 2019 fast approaching, industry desperately needs clarity on an ambitious definition of zero carbon and a roadmap detailing how we’ll get there. The business case for action is simply too great to be ignored. Government must act now if the UK is to capitalise on this green growth opportunity and continue to lead globally on expertise in low carbon buildings.”

The report also calls on Government to create a ‘roadmap’ to 2019 and beyond which sets out the parameters of the zero carbon standard, enabling industry to invest in innovation and skills.

Zero carbon should also include an extended definition of regulated energy which covers more fixed building services such as lifts, escalators and over-door heaters, as well as other unregulated energy uses and embodied carbon beyond 2019.

Leigh Stringer

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