16 October 2008
By Neil Merrick
Homeowners and landlords need more incentives to ensure existing homes are as energy-efficient as new housing, the UK Green Building Council said this week.
By encouraging all homes to become greener, the government could significantly reduce carbon emissions for the country as a whole and help revive the flagging construction industry, according to the report.
More than a quarter (27%) of carbon emissions emanate from the home. Although ministers want all new housing to meet zero-carbon standards by 2016, it is estimated that 80% of the homes that will be standing in 2050 have already been built.
The report, published on October 13, calls for mandatory requirements to upgrade the energy performance of existing homes. It suggests that the government should set a long-term carbon reduction target for households of at least 80% by 2050.
It recommends a review of social housing rent caps to allow housing associations to raise money, loans for homeowners and private landlords and a renewable energy tariff that encourages installation of wind turbines and other micro-generation technology.
The UK Green Building Council includes private builders, housing associations and public sector bodies. 'Low carbon refurbishment presents a potentially enormous business opportunity,' it said, adding that it should create thousands of jobs.
Mark Brown, director of the Energy Efficiency Partnership for Homes, said the government must co-ordinate carbon savings measures better: 'The 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.'