In seeking to speed up the decarbonisation process, the prime minister has followed the advice given by the Climate Change Committee in its Sixth Carbon Budget recommendations, which includes plans to totally decarbonise the power system by 2035.
Fox added: “The big challenge is existing buildings. At least 80 per cent of our current stock will still be in use in 2050 so a radical, well-funded national retrofit strategy must be a top priority. Only then can our industry get its teeth into sorting out the performance gap in hundreds of thousands of buildings.
“There is a huge amount of low-hanging fruit still to be plucked by simply addressing energy efficiency. Carbon capture, a decarbonised grid and the push for hydrogen all have their place, but all are expensive and some years off – we can tackle the performance of buildings right now by getting back to some cost-effective engineering-first principles.”
BESA also said the government should be more ambitious with energy-efficiency targets in the revisions to the building regulations and plans for the new Future Buildings Standard, which it said should regulate a building’s total energy consumption and embodied carbon.
BESA has also been campaigning for the VAT regime to be adjusted to redress the balance between building refurbishment and new build to incentivise clients to make more carbon-friendly choices. Currently, new-build enjoys a zero rate, while many retrofit measures must pay the full rate.