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Stricter UK standards sought to drive 2030 zero carbon building push

UK Green Building Council issues joint letter with broad selection of construction industry bodies calling on government to revise energy performance targets as soon as possible

Figures from across the construction industry have called on government to enact tighter energy performance standards “without delay” to support work in ensuring that all new buildings will be ‘net zero carbon’ by 2030.

Under these conditions, new constructions would have to curb energy use as much as possible, with all remaining power demands met through renewable sources.

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC), backed by 49 signatories from across the built environment supply chain, has called on the government to provide greater “policy certainty” to ensure required investment and innovation in new systems and approaches over the next decade.

Citing estimates from the independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC) that advises government on environmental policy, the council noted that around 30 per cent of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions are generated from buildings.

UKGBC chief executive Julie Hirigoyen said the joint letter had been addressed to both secretary of state for housing, communities and local government Sajid Javid and business secretary Greg Clark to highlight the significant role the construction industry will have to play in supporting zero carbon initiatives.

The signatories have backed the introduction of new energy performance standards for buildings in response to what they call a lack of significant changes in regulations over the last half decade.

Ms Hirigoyen said, “We have not seen changes to Building Regulations since 2014, and the scrapping of the zero carbon policy in 2015 was both confusing and unnecessary.”

“We’ve heard a lot from government recently on the environmental agenda, with some impressive commitments in the Clean Growth Strategy and the 25 Year Environment Plan. Now it’s time for the government to act on those commitments, with the industry’s backing, and put policy in place to turn their low-carbon aspirations into reality.”

The letter has also called on government to set out medium- and long-term policy commitments “without delay” to guarantee a requirement for net zero carbon buildings by 2030 in line with recommendations from the CCC.

The letter stated, “As a first step the Government must also swiftly confirm that from 2020 energy performance standards will be significantly improved to put us on the right path towards the 2030 goal.”

“A construction industry equipped to meet the future can play a pivotal role in delivering the clean growth that lies at the heart of the government’s new Industrial Strategy. We urge you to deliver the policy certainty we need to enable us to play our full part in driving the UK economy forward as we look to a post-Brexit future.”

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