Norway tops league of green building, with UK third

Norway has topped a global league of green building for the second year in a row, followed by Brazil in second place and then the UK, which climbs to third place for the first time.

The 2009 Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Global Zero Carbon Capacity Index is based on International Energy Agency (IEA) data and covers 34 countries looking at factors such as energy efficiency in households, offices and transport, as well as investment in renewable energy and policies to reduce carbon consumption from buildings.

The building sector – both residential and commercial – currently accounts for around 40% of emissions, more than either the transport or industrial sectors.

The UK has climbed a place in the league since last year, mainly as a result of the new policies introduced by the previous government, including zero-carbon housing, the Code for Sustainable Homes and tightened building regulations.

But index author Yvonne Rydin, co-director of the University College LondonEnvironment Institute, says the UK needs to take further action on residential energy efficiency and invest more in renewables.

The poor quality of existing housing stock, in particular, should be addressed to reduce energy consumption.

“This is an urgent responsibility for those building new developments as well as those owning, managing and occupier existing ones,” she says.

Other countries showing improvement include the Slovak Republic, France, Germany and the USA, although it is improving less than the other three.

Perhaps surprisingly, China makes it into the top ten, joint fourth place with Australia, followed by New Zealand, India, Austria, Germany and Sweden.

Stephen Brown of RICS says that governments must provide incentives and implement programmes to create a zero-carbon built environment. In the UK, he says, the Government should cut VAT to 5% on building materials for repair and renovation work.

Yesterday, however, the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change announced an early end to its Low Carbon Buildings Fund to save £3 million and Housing Minister Grant Shapps announced a 50% cut in eco-town funding for local authorities next year.

Source: Energy Efficiency News

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