Existing homes 'should cut CO2 by 80%'

Homeowners should be given more help to make their homes low carbon Government should create a clear long-term plan for low-carbon homes and commit to at least an 80% cut in CO2 emissions from UK households by 2050.

Those are among the major recommendations of a report published by the UK Green Building Council (UK- GBC) on Monday following a summer of consultation.

The Low Carbon Existing Homes report said that a lack of a "coherent long-term plan" from Government has "frustrated" investors in the industry.

It said that to give the industry as much certainty as possible, an ambitious target needed to set with interim five-year targets.

Householders should be given a Whole Home Energy Plan - a step-by-step guide to making homes low carbon - and Government should find alternative ways to fund energy efficiency improvements which spread the payments over time, the report said.

This would help to create more market demand for low carbon homes.

The recommendations also included making a big push to train builders and tradesmen in green refurbishing skills, and consulting on whether regulation should be used to ensure the worst performing homes are eventually upgraded.

The UK-GBC produced the report in collaboration with the Energy Efficiency Partnership for Homes, the Sustainable Development Commission and the Technology Strategy Board.

It said the report was a landmark document because of the number of organisations that have contributed to its content.

"The great strength of this report is in the sheer breadth and depth of those that contributed to it," Paul King, chief executive of the UK-GBC said.

"It should prove a line in the sand on this hugely important issue."

The report has been backed by sustainable building consultancy, Inbuilt Consulting, which took part in the UK-GBC's consulting.

Dr Neil Cutler, executive director for low carbon housing, said: "What will matter next spring is how clear and decisive Government can be on this issue in the face of economic recession and 18 months or so before a General Election."

The report will inform Government's energy efficiency consultation later this year, and the Low Carbon Homes strategy next spring.

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