UK Is Failing to Make Buildings Energy Efficient

The UK is failing to make its building stock energy-efficient and bills should be passed to ensure new builds are built with low-carbon heating top levels of proficiency, a report from a parliamentary commission has decided.

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee’s report claims the UK’s building stock is amongst the most wasteful in Europe.

To meet its 2050 net zero carbon target, buildings must be totally decarbonised by the year 2050, it said.

Committee MPs condemned the “costly impact” of the government’s ruling to drop its previous pledge for all new builds to be zero carbon by 2016, underlining that “hundreds of thousands of homes that emit more than they need to have been added to an already-inefficient stock”.

The report suggested that the government rules the Future Homes Standard by 2022 at the latest. The new ruling standard would ensure that, by 2025, all new homes will have to meet “world-leading levels of efficiency” and built with low carbon heating.

The report claims the ruling is necessary because the majority of house builders and contractors will only raise the energy standards of their construction if rulings force them to do so.

The report concluded: “The government is presiding over a failing policy. It needs to be revived. Progress is not stalling due to a lack of evidence on how to drive energy efficiency uptake, but a lack of political will.

“Our recommendations are largely based on tried and tested policies and, if taken forward, will go a long way to putting the government back on track to meeting its energy efficiency targets.”

Reacting to the statement, the National Infrastructure Commission chair Sir John Armitt replied: “With 22 percent of carbon emissions coming from heating alone, creating more energy-efficient homes can make a huge contribution to achieving the UK’s net-zero ambitions.

“The NIC’s National Infrastructure Assessment calls on government to rapidly accelerate the pace of energy efficiency improvements so that 21,000 measures, such as floor, wall and loft insulation, are being delivered each week.”

UK Green Building Council director of policy John Alker said that the government’s strategy for energy-efficiency is inadequate.

He said: “The good news is that there are clear and immediate opportunities for government to address this failure. Most obviously by driving better energy performance in new housing in the imminent update to building regulations and using the comprehensive spending review to kick start much-needed investment in our inefficient existing stock.

“Without urgent policy action, achieving zero for buildings will only become more difficult and far more expensive.”

A BEIS spokesman stated: “Our clear ambition is for all homes to be at least Energy Performance Certificate Band C by 2035 as part of our wider commitment to achieving zero emissions, while also cutting home energy bills.

“To achieve this we have invested £5 million to develop green mortgages to help homeowners improve the efficiency of their properties, offered support for businesses to take action, and our dedicated scheme is improving the energy performance of up to 17,000 public buildings – including schools and hospitals.”