Buildings constructed for government departments must now meet energy efficiency standards
An official report published on Monday said that in future accommodation procured for the central government estate must meet these requirements.

It also stipulates that where energy-efficient buildings are not available, departments must introduce as many energy-efficient measures as possible.

The government is responsible for 30% of new-build spending and it believes that it can exert pressure on building companies by setting an example over energy-efficiency measures.

The report, Energy Efficiency: The Government's Plan of Action, says: "Strong government leadership on the energy standards of the buildings it purchases, leases or procures through PFI will help us to meet our own energy and carbon targets.

"This can then start to transform the wider commercial property market."

Andrew Warren, director at the Association for the Conservation of Energy, said it was unclear which buildings would be affected.

He said: "If it only applies to the Ministry of Paperclips then its impact will be minimal. Most of the public stock is made up of premises such as job centres, prisons and schools, which would not be covered."

The report says the government "will widen the coverage of this initiative to include the rest of the public estate as soon as possible".

The report said that where energy-efficient buildings were not available the department would be required to introduce measures such as cavity insulation and solar panel roofing.

Last month the government was also asked to consider recommending that energy efficiency became a requirement for PFI bidders.