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Monday, July 03, 2006
Green Building Regs and the 99% campaign
Many of you may have already read about the 99% campaign, started by Building Magazine last week. The basic premise is that 99% of our building stock is 'old' and totally fails to meet any sort of energy efficiency standards. The back story is clearly that the construction lobby feels that it is being unfairly asked to shoulder the (expensive) burden of decreasing the UK's carbon emissions when owners and manageers of existing stock don't have to lift a finger.

The campaign is supported by British Property Foundation, the RICS, the Construction Products Association and individuals including Sir Neville Simms, former Carillion boss and chair of the government's Sustainable Procurement Task Force, Sir Stuart Lipton and Phyllis Starkey, chair of the Department for Communities and Local Government Select Committee.

Well, this all comes on the back of Ruth Kelly announcing that planning permission for domestic generation equipment would be scrapped, and Alastair Darling saying that new energy rules might mean that homeowners are forced to install wind turbines or loft insulation, or be penalised by their energy providers. The way this would work is that energy companies would be set much tougher targets for reducing consumption, that they would then pass onto homeowners.

Ken Livingstone has upped his on-site energy generation requirement from 10% to 20% (in the face of a lot of scepticism about deliverability, it has to be said) and Angela Smith, the Building Regs minister, is now backing the 99% campaign and says a cross-departmental group is looking at the issue already.

It seems almost too good to be true perhaps - that the tide is genuinely turning at long last in favour of a meaningful engagmeent with environmental issues? Perhaps these are only small steps - but there seem to suddenly be a lot more of them happening than ever before, which can only be a good thing. And some - like Ken's new rule and the Energy Action Areas that he's piloting - seem genuinely radical to me.

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