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The Government started 2017 with a raft of announcements and funding initiatives that culminated in an eagerly-awaited Housing White Paper designed to “fix the broken housing market” once and for all.

But perhaps one of the more intriguing launches came shortly before Christmas 2016 when the Bonfield Review into all things housing and housebuilding was finally released. One of the main talking points of the review was the call for the creation of a “green” quality mark.

Although it found a lot of support within the industry as a whole, it also begged the question – haven’t we been here before?

The drive for a greener housebuilding industry is nothing new and there have been various attempts at kick-starting a push to greater sustainability in recent years.

The Bonfield Review has now been followed by a new report from the UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) that paints a very stark picture. 

The UK-GBC report states that:

  • More than one home every minute will need to be refurbished in the UK between now and 2050

  • 25 million existing homes will not meet the insulation standards required by mid-century

  • The UK needs to cut carbon emissions by 80% by this date

  • A third of those emissions come from heating draughty buildings

Existing homes Millions of existing buildings will need to be refurbished if the nation is to get anywhere near the carbon emissions targets

The report recommends: setting staged targets for refurbishing buildings; reintroducing the "zero-carbon" standard for buildings from 2020; recognising energy efficiency as a national infrastructure priority; setting long-term trajectories for ratcheting up home energy standards; and obliging commercial buildings to display the amount of energy they use.

Julie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive, UK Green Building Council said: “UK-GBC is uniquely placed to help the Government tackle some of its key challenges in close partnership and collaboration with the built environment industry.

“Through publishing this report, we are launching a new conversation with policy-makers in pursuit of a shared vision in which the places we live and work can support multiple economic, social and environmental priorities; ultimately: building places that work for everyone.”

So are we finally going to get the green housebuilding industry that has been promised for so long? Will we also see the son of Green Deal rise from the ashes?

Paul Groves Editor, Specification magazine

A significant first step would be for the Government to actively show it is listening to the industry and that it understands the need for a proper two-way conversation and partnership approach that failed to materialise with Green Deal. 


Paul Groves is Editor of Specification Magazine.

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