In its latest report, The Green Building Council (GBC) has urged the government to make improvements in existing UK housing to meet carbon reduction targets.

The Low Carbon existing homes report made the following suggestions to government:

  • Government should commit to at least an 80 per cent cut in CO2 from UK households by 2050, with interim targets every 5 years along the way. This will help create a market for low energy/low carbon homes, that allows the industry to invest and plan ahead to deliver energy efficiency products and services.
  • Householders should have access to a ‘Whole Home Energy Plan’ – a plan for how to do low carbon refurbishment and which measures should be taken out, when. This needs to be based on much better information and advice on finding accredited installers and how and where to access grants and finance.
  • There needs to be a fundamentally new way for consumers to fund energy efficiency improvements to their home, which spread the cost of upfront measures over time, saving money on energy bills straight away. There are several viable alternatives on which Government should consult.
  • There needs to be a big push to train builders and tradesmen, to give them the skills needed to carry out green refurbishment projects at the same time as standard building work. This is a potentially huge area of jobs and growth – potentially a £5bn market per year creating tens of thousands of jobs.
  • Government should consult on whether regulation should be used to ensure the worst performing homes are upgraded over time. Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) could be used as the basis for this.

Mark Brown, Director of the Energy Efficiency Partnership for Homes said: “To meet ambitious carbon saving targets in the housing sector, we need a confident delivery supply chain that will invest in the necessary capacity and skills. The current myriad of incentive schemes, funding programmes and policy drivers has not made it easy for the supply chain to deliver effectively and for householders to take action. This intensive stakeholder consultation has emphasised the need for a coordinated approach and some strong leadership by Government.”

By 2016, all new build homes must be zero-carbon.