‘Government needs new policy for sustainable buildings’

The government needs to set out a clear and ambitious regulatory framework for sustainability standards in new buildings. The Solar Trade Association (STA) is “urgently” calling for a new policy to replace […]

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By Jacqueline Echevarria

The government needs to set out a clear and ambitious regulatory framework for sustainability standards in new buildings.

The Solar Trade Association (STA) is “urgently” calling for a new policy to replace the Zero Carbon Homes programme which was scrapped last summer by the Tory administration.

The trade body believes Conservatives are focused on maximising build rate. However lower standards lock in higher carbon emissions and increased energy bills for occupants, it added.

Higher standards provide a level playing field where different emissions reduction options can compete and there is no evidence they will stop construction of new buildings, according to the STA.

It believes as the price of solar has fallen it is an “ideal way” to taking the technology forward in the construction industry.

Mike Landy, Head of Policy at the STA said: “Solar energy is perfectly suited to new build and ought to become a standard feature on new housing. The 70% cost reductions since 2010 means that any additional build costs can be recouped within years through lower energy bills – builders need to work with surveyors, estate agents and mortgage lenders to ensure these benefits are recognised.

“Local authorities have a responsibility to help achieve the 80% carbon emission reduction required by the Climate Change Act. We encourage them to use their planning powers to require house builders to use solar energy as a highly effective and cost-effective way of contributing to that goal.”

DECC is not commenting on this topic.