Zac Goldsmith, Tory adviser on the environment, has criticised the government for not forcing a change towards more sustainable construction methods in health projects.

Speaking at an event organised by the Environment Agency (EA), the vice-chair of David Cameron’s Quality of Life commission, said: “The government has just spent £2bn on NHS procurement and there was no mention of climate change. But there should be.

“The government is already a big enough client to cause a flip in all kinds of markets. These things can happen quickly.”

Goldsmith, who is editor of Ecologist magazine and a prospective Tory parliamentary candidate, added that there did not need to be a trade-off between sustainability and cost-effectiveness.

Peter Ainsworth, Conservative spokesman for the environment, used the EA event to endorse proposals to rate companies on how much carbon they emitted.

He also welcomed proposals from the commission that existing Building Regulations should be replaced by a new set of rules, which set standards but do not prescribe how they should be met.