Building efficiency can help solve UK’s key social and economic challenges

Improving the efficiency of the nation’s homes is one way in which the construction and property industry can help solve the UK’s social and economic challenges, according to a new report from the UK Green Building Council (GBC).

The report – Building Places That Work for Everyone – says that four out of five homes that will be occupied in 2050 have already been built. This means that more than 25 million homes will need refurbishing to the highest standards by 2050 in order to boost energy efficiency and comply with carbon reduction targets.

Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive of the GBC, told BBC News that improving the insulation of existing homes would bring a range of benefits:

“People will have warmer homes and lower bills; they will live longer, happier lives; we will be able to address climate change and carbon emissions.

“We will also be creating many thousands of jobs and exporting our best skills in innovation.

“Driving up demand for retro-fitting homes is essential for any policy to be a success – the Green Deal told us just offering financial incentives isn’t necessarily the only solution. We need to make it all easy, attractive and affordable.”

The GBC says the industry is keen to work alongside policy makers to:

  • Deliver the 1 million new homes set out by the Government, rapidly and sustainably
  • Provide over 100,000 new jobs from energy efficiency
  • Permanently reduce household bills and fuel poverty
  • Reduce GP appointments for vulnerable residents through energy efficiency schemes
  • Boost local employment and skills growth
  • Create healthier lives and stronger communities

Amongst other things, the report recommends setting long-term targets to raise energy standards in homes and commercial buildings, and calls for the reintroduction of the “zero-carbon” standard for buildings from 2020 onwards.

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