UK Green Building Council welcomes government announcement of new target

Household carbon emissions will be cut by one-third by 2020, according to plans announced by energy and climate change secretary Ed Miliband today.

The announcement came with the publication of the government's draft Heat and Energy Saving Strategy, which calls for new finance mechanisms to help consumers pay for low-carbon refurbishment, all homes to have access to Home Energy Audits, the possible setting up of a new delivery body to co-ordinate the roll-out of energy efficiency and the goal for all homes and buildings to be approaching zero carbon by 2050.

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) welcomed the announcement. Paul King, chief executive of UKGBC, said: “Twenty-seven per cent of the UK's carbon emissions come from our homes. Low-carbon, low-energy homes are good for people, good for business and essential if we are to achieve our climate change goals. Today, the government has shown it understands the scale of the challenge and has set suitably ambitious targets”.

Philip Sellwood, chief executive of the Energy Saving Trust, commented: “The time for talking is now over. We are not short of ideas; we just need action and now. Armed with the knowledge that 70% of our current housing stock will still be around in 2050, we know we need to be bold. If we throw everything at our existing housing stock – based on today's technologies only – we could reduce household carbon emission by 50%."

Environmental campaign body WWF-UK also welcomed the announcement. However, Colin Butfield, head of campaigns, said that while WWF-UK welcomed the overall level of ambition, it urged the government to provide a clear steer on the delivery and financial mechanisms for improving the energy efficiency of existing homes: “We urgently need to see some substance behind the headlines to put us on track to meeting our climate change targets.”