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New green revolution needed to cut carbon emissions from existing buildings

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Andrew Stunell has today insisted that carbon reduction measures must be taken to “green-up” the country’s existing housing stock to reduce …

Andrew Stunell has today insisted that carbon reduction measures must be taken to “green-up” the country’s existing housing stock to reduce its carbon footprint and save households considerable sums of money on their energy bills.

Speaking at the Policy Exchange, the Minister said that around three quarters of the housing stock that will exist in 2050 has already been built, making it vital to tackle emissions from existing buildings, as well as new build properties, to meet the country’s tough carbon reduction targets.

Buildings account for over 40 per cent of the UK’s CO2 emissions - a figure that needs to fall to almost zero by 2050, which is the equivalent to refurbishing a city the size of Cambridge every month.

Mr. Stunell said that the Government is putting in place a package of measures to enable a step change in domestic retrofit activity that will cut carbon and stimulate jobs and growth, but that Whitehall alone cannot deliver the necessary improvements. He argued that power must be shifted down to local people, businesses and community groups and empower them to shape their environment and promote local economic growth.

The Green Deal which will become available in 2012 will help householders improve the energy efficiency of their homes at no upfront cost. By allowing them to pay for green home improvements over time rather than upfront, through the savings in energy bills, it will remove one of the biggest barriers they currently face to retrofitting - being able to afford the initial investment.

Feed-in Tariffs are available to support homes in generating their own renewable electricity, and support for renewable heat will be available for homes. Looking to the future, the Government’s policy on Zero Carbon means that from 2016, new homes will need to be built to a zero carbon standard (and all non-domestic buildings from 2019).

Andrew Stunell said:

Buildings are responsible for over 40 per cent of the carbon emissions we produce each year. If we are serious about a revolution in the energy efficiency of homes, it is vital that we ensure that existing as well as new homes have significantly lower carbon emissions.

A strong programme of retrofitting will green-up our existing homes through the Green Deal, part of our clear strategy for delivering not only more homes, but crucially more sustainable housing.

We need a green revolution in housing that transforms our homes and becomes the central pillar in meeting our commitments to slashing carbon emissions. The Government will put in place measures to help households green their houses - but industry and community need to step up to the plate and deliver them.

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