The construction industry rejects government’s proposals for new standards for energy efficiency in new buildings

The construction industry has rejected the standards government has proposed for energy efficiency in new buildings from 2013.

In January the government set out plans to increase the carbon reduction targets for new homes by 8% and increase the target for new non-domestic buildings by 20% over 2010 levels, as part of changes to Part L of the building regulations.

The consultation on the proposals closed on Friday.

But Patrick Brown, assistant director for sustainability at the British Property Foundation, said achieving the 20% rate would likely require the use of some onsite renewable power technology, but that this was often inappropriate for city centre locations.

“We are supportive of ratcheting up of non domestic performance standards,” he added.

Peter O’Connell, policy manager at the FMB said the 8% target for new housing was also unsustainable.

“Continuing with the 2010, 2013, 2016 time table for zero carbon homes in the current economic climate is completely unrealistic ,” he said.

“The housing boom is long since over, housing boom policies must be rethought to take into account economic realities.”

He said the changes amounted to a significant new burden to the housebuilding sector when the government had promised to reduce this.

He added that the current 2010 iteration of the regulations should not be changed until a full robust assessment of their implementation had been conducted.

The UKGBC said it supported the targets. But it said the metrics for non-domestic buildings would need simplifying and that the industry would need greater clarity on how the “allowable solutions” part of the zero carbon target for housing, which would allow developers to meet their targets with offsite renewable energy, would work.