UK 'could halve emissions in a decade'

The UK could halve the carbon emissions from homes and buildings by the end of the next decade - and create thousands of "green" jobs in the process, according to the UK Green Building Council.

The UK could halve the carbon emissions from homes and buildings by the end of the next decade - and create thousands of "green" jobs in the process, according to the UK Green Building Council.

The industry body said buildings were responsible for 44 per cent of the country's carbon dioxide emissions - but it was possible to cost-effectively cut those emissions by 50 per cent by 2020.

According to the UKGBC, the technology and know-how is available but obstacles to greening British properties have included the hassle of getting work done, upfront costs, different priorities of landlords and tenants and a lack of information on the value of sustainable buildings.

In a speech to the council's annual conference, chief executive Paul King urged the industry to recognise the role it can play in reducing emissions.

The obstacles need to be overcome but a refurbishment programme of half a million homes a year could create 50,000 jobs, the UKGBC said.

"We drastically need to cut emissions from all sectors, but the built environment offers the best cost-effective opportunity to do that,” King said. “We have the technology and the know-how in the industry, but we haven't managed to mainstream these yet. I do not underestimate the size of the challenge, but I believe that by working together with government, industry and building occupiers, we can deliver cuts of 50 per cent by 2020.

"Taking on this challenge would create thousands of new jobs, boosting the UK economy and supporting our recovery. It would benefit business and consumers by reducing their energy costs while improving the comfort of our homes and buildings.

"And it would help the UK Government deliver on the commitments it has made and even go beyond those."

Under the Climate Change Act, the UK must cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 34 per cent by 2020.

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