UKGBC slams Cameron’s ‘short-sighted’ starter homes plan

David Cameron's plan to exempt 200,000 homes from zero-carbon standards will lock buyers into higher energy bills and poorer quality housing, says the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC).

The Prime Minister announced yesterday that he wants to offer a 20% discount on 200,000 new homes for young first-time buyers, paid for by lifting obligations on house-builders. 

Among other things, these obligations usually require that homes built from 2016 onwards are completely carbon neutral. The UKGBC has called Cameron’s plans to scrap these regulations “incredibly short-sighted”.

UKGBC Acting CEO John Alker added: “For a minimal additional up-front cost, zero-carbon homes provide lower energy bills over their lifetime, and encourage the use of renewable energy locally.

“There would be a sad irony if these Starter Homes locked 200,000 first time buyers into a legacy of higher energy bills and poorer quality housing for years to come.”

Last week the UKGBC released a report claiming that property developers can increase the value of their land by incorporating more parks, trees and green spaces into their projects.

Lowering business energy bills

In related news, the Building Research Establishment (BRE) yesterday released a new report designed to help commercial building operators and facility managers reduce energy consumption.

The report says the UK Government’s Green Deal Assessment tool (GD-SBEM) can help building operators fully understand the energy use in a building, highlighting where improvements can be made and the costs and related payback periods of investment.

The tool can reportedly also help larger organisations report against the requirements of the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS).

Director of ESTA, Robin Hale said ‘Buildings rarely perform as well as their designers predicted – energy consumption and costs can be as much as double what was expected with damaging financial implications for occupant organisations.

“This ‘performance gap’ and how we tackle it is one of the most critical challenges faced by the built environment sector. As well as outlining the issues, this report shows how a freely available tool can be used to find the solutions.”

Green buildings at Sustainability Live 2015

Green buildings will be a key theme at Sustainability Live 2015 in April, with a number of keynote sessions and panel discussions focusing on the opportunities for improving building performance and energy efficiency, retrofit strategies and the future energy management of commercial buildings.

Find out more and register to attend Sustainability Live 2015 for FREE here.

edie staff

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie