Ministers urged to delay tougher efficiency goals
The government should scrap plans to increase the energy efficiency of new homes next year because of a lack of progress in meeting current goals, a think tank has claimed.
The Futures Group – a newly formed alliance of house builders, building product manufacturers, and regulators – wants the government to hold off from introducing more stringent carbon dioxide reduction targets until more homes have been built to existing standards.
Under plans set out by the Labour government building regulations are due to be tightened next year, introducing a 44 per cent carbon dioxide reduction target for new homes compared with a 2006 benchmark. The current target, introduced in 2010, requires a 25 per cent reduction.
Mike Leonard, a spokesman for the group, said: ‘Given that we have built fewer than 2,000 homes to [building regulations] part L 2010, the concept of moving to a new regulation next year seems foolish.’
The group is also arguing that the government’s changes to the 2016 efficiency target mean a new goal for 2013 is unnecessary. Labour said all homes should be zero carbon by 2016, meaning all energy use in the home had to be eliminated or mitigated in some way.
The Conservative-led government has revised this so only regulated energy use is included in the definition of zero carbon, which excludes energy use from household appliances that are plugged in, and some other types of energy use, such as cooking.
The government is currently consulting on revisions to part L of the building regulations for 2013, which covers the conservation of fuel and power in England. A section on requiring energy efficiency improvements when homes are extended has already closed for consultation, with the remainder of the questions open until 27 April.
Government sources have indicated the plans to require energy efficiency works linked to extensions will be axed.
The Futures Group has set out is proposals in a report, Building better homes for the customer. It also calls for the code of sustainable homes, which sets environmental standards for new homes, to be axed and incorporated into building regulations.
Mr Leonard stressed the group is not opposed to improving the efficiency of homes, but is concerned changes are being implemented too quickly. ‘We have a responsibility to get this right,’ he said.