Government must urgently push ahead with plans to ensure all new non-domestic buildings are built to zero-carbon standards from 2019, a report from a UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) industry task group has warned today (27 February).

The report, ‘Building Zero Carbon – the case for action’, argues that there is a ‘very strong economic case’ for a robust definition of zero carbon, but that current efforts to meet higher standards are ‘fragmented and disparate’ in the absence of a clear policy framework. Apparently this lack of clarity is ‘creating inefficiencies and the loss of global export opportunities’ within the industry.

Paul King, chief executive of the UK-GBC, said: “The business benefits of zero-carbon non-domestic buildings are huge, boosting innovation that could help to create export opportunities in excess of £1 billion by 2050.

“Industry stands ready to invest in innovation and deliver higher standards in non-domestic buildings, but the Coalition’s failure to recommit to the 2019 target is holding it back. Government has dragged its feet over this issue for far too long to the detriment of both business and the environment, and must now act urgently to demonstrate it is serious about realising the vast economic benefits of this policy.”

Sarah Cary, sustainable developments executive at British Land, who chaired the task group, said: “With 2019 fast approaching, industry desperately needs clarity on an ambitious definition of zero carbon and a roadmap detailing how we’ll get there. The business case for action is simply too great to be ignored. Government must act now if the UK is to capitalise on this green growth opportunity and continue to lead globally on expertise in low carbon buildings.”

The task group is sponsored by BAM, BRE, British Land and Saint-Gobain.