Government announcements signal green light for investment in low-carbon buildings, says UK-GBC

Published:  22 July, 2014

The UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) has today responded to two policy announcements relating to green buildings from the government.

The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) has published the long-awaited consultation on Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) and confirmed that it will adhere to the fourth carbon budget.

In response, chief executive of UK-GBC Paul King said the announcements "represent a strong green light for investment in low-carbon homes and buildings, bringing to an end months of uncertainty on some of the most important policies affecting energy efficiency."

In a written ministerial statement, Energy Secretary Edward Davey confirmed that the coalition will not be amending the fourth carbon budget, which commits the UK to a target of halving emissions relative to 1990 levels during the period from 2023 to 2027.

Mr Davey said it was clear that the evidence does not support ammending the budget, believing "any revision now would be premature", and retaining the budget at its existing level demonstrates government's commitment to its long-term decarbonisation goals.

Mr King supports the decision to stick to the fourth carbon budget. “The budget puts the UK on a trajectory to cutting emissions by 50% by 2050. But as last week’s Committee on Climate Change report highlighted, the building sector is a crucial area in which we have been falling behind, despite the fact that buildings offer the most cost effective way of cutting carbon. Clarity about the direction of travel will help to drive much needed investment," Mr King said.

The government has also published two consultation documents on the implementation of Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) in privately-rented commercial and domestic buildings.

According to Mr King, this policy will put energy efficiency on the agenda whenever domestic and commercial buildings are let. "It’s great that government has listened to industry and provided more details on one of the most eagerly awaited and potentially powerful drivers for low energy buildings," Mr King said.

Miles Keeping, partner at Deloitte Real Estate, added: “The commercial property sector in its broad sense – that’s landlords, occupiers, developers and advisers – welcomes the prospect of having certainty in this area which will enable appropriate investment in improving the efficiency of buildings. The consultation has been a long time in coming, let’s hope we can move forward to regulatory certainty as quickly as possible.”

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