Participants at the CBI conference last week agreed we face one of the most difficult periods in memory.

We have our companies to protect. However, business cannot see green practices as an optional extra.

We are legally committed to an 80% reduction in UK emissions by 2050. Buildings, particularly older inefficient properties, are responsible for half of our current carbon output which makes it astonishing that the government and businesses are not pushing even harder at the door.

The Carbon Trust reported in 2006 that improvements to non-domestic buildings could be cost-effective and cut 20% of CO2 emissions. The government must act now to encourage this investment. For far too long its approach has been incoherent and piecemeal. If families get help for energy efficient measures and generating their own energy, so should business.