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Congress Urging a Zero Carbon Standard for New Homes by 2030

Fifty construction and property industry leaders have sent a letter calling on the government to deliver long-term certainty on green building policies.

To drive investment and inspire innovation across the industry, they want to set rules ensuring that all new buildings are constructed to ‘zero carbon’ standards by 2030.

The open letter, which was coordinated by the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC), also urged ministers to support zero carbon times by providing certainty about policy and confirming that standards for building energy performance will be improved from 2020.

The letter also argues that a rule of ‘net zero carbon’ should require new properties to reduce their energy use as much as possible and meet renewing energy demand through renewables.

It stated that a construction industry that is well-positioned to meet the future can play an important role in enabling the clean growth that underscores the government’s Industrial Strategy. It also asked ministers to enable the policy certainty needed to help the industry drive the UK economy forward in a post-Brexit future.

Letter signatories include representatives from Hermes Investment Management, Heathrow Airport, Marks & Spencer, WSP & the Crown Estate.

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UKGBC chief executive Julie Hirigoyen said that the Committee on Climate Change, which is the advisory body for the government, and the construction industry recognise that the built environment has a leading role to play in lowering the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions but that progress on zero carbon homes needed to be driven by medium  and long policy certainty.

Ms. Hirigoyen said that UKGBC members tell her repeatedly that they want government leadership in providing certainty on policy, in order in inspire innovation and investment. There have been no changes to Building Regulations for four years, and the 2015 elimination of the zero carbon policy was not unnecessary and confusing.

She praised some important government commitments that were made in last year’s Clean Growth Strategy and the 25 Year Environment Plan, which announced plans to reform the energy efficiency market and raise standards for energy-efficiency in rented and industry buildings.

Ms. Hirigoyen added that the government now needed to speed up the implementation of its recent proposals and, with the backing of the industry, establish a policy to put their low-carbon goals in effect.

A Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government spokesperson did not directly comment on the letter, but pointed out the government’s current policies and successes when it comes to building emissions.

In a statement, the spokesperson said that the UK government has introduced a variety of measures to improve energy-efficiency for new construction. Since 2010, the energy standard for new homes has been increased by over 30%.

The report appears in the wake of a series of recent surveys advising that many landlords continue to be unaware of  energy efficiency standards that come into effect soon and are intended to prevent them from letting properties with low efficiency levels.

Specialists in Construction Insurance

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