Consultation and legislation

Sustainability and climate change

UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) Zero Carbon Non-Domestic Standard 2019 consultation

RIBA has given the UK-GBC feedback on its initial proposals for a zero carbon non-domestic building standard 2019 definition, which will be issued to Government in February 2014.

We agree regulatory certainty for a challenging Building Regulations goal needs to be set to drive innovation, investment and up-skilling in the industry and therefore welcome a zero carbon standard for 2019 for non-commercial buildings.

However, we urge the definition dictates achieving near zero energy building in operational use. We also strongly recommend the timescales and targets proposed by UK-GBC for achieving the standard are more ambitious and accelerated to reflect the rate of innovation in the field of embodied carbon calculation methodologies. More must also be done pre-2019 to promote the use of low energy appliances and fittings, and to close loopholes in Building Regulations to properly define emissions associated with running buildings as opposed to those associated with users' lifestyles.

Our full response:


Next Steps to Zero Carbon Homes: Allowable Solutions Consultation

The RIBA responded to the government's recent consultation on Allowable Solutions that sought views on how house builders could meet the zero carbon homes standard by reducing some carbon emissions offsite. It is the third and final piece of the Government's Zero Carbon Homes standard for 2016.

Whilst the RIBA endorses the principle of Allowable Solutions that allows developers to pay for offsite carbon abatement measures, our support is conditional upon an appropriate price level being set for the measures to ensure they do not stifle fabric energy efficiency and carbon compliance innovation. Allowing builders to offset without significantly improving products and practices poses a substantial missed opportunity that will perpetuate the construction of underperforming buildings that are expensive to run through the 2016 zero carbon homes standard.

The RIBA also calls for a clearly defined upper limit on carbon abatement measures, not currently present in the Allowable Solutions proposals, to ensure that builders are not able to deliver energy-inefficient houses while still meeting statutory obligations. It also wants to see more detail on how carbon offsetting would be policed and audited in practice.

Read our full response here:


The Energy Efficiency Directive

The Royal Institute for British Architects (RIBA) has expressed concern to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change over the Coalition government's inconsistent position on the draft European Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), the directive designed to ensure that the European Union meets its 20% energy savings target by 2020.

In a letter to Ed Davey, the RIBA, along with other prominent UK business organisations and civil society groups, called on the Secretary of State to pursue a more ambitious line during forthcoming negotiations.


RIBA response to DECC consultation - Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation
January 2012

The RIBA wholeheartedly supports the aims of the Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation (ECO), but we believe that there is still some way to go to ensure that the right detail sits behind the scheme for launch in the autumn. Key points in the response include: a call for the introduction of Green Deal project managers to deliver an integrated approach to the installation of energy-efficiency measures and the the need for vulnerable historic and traditional older buildings to be identified and given skilled specialist attention to find the most appropriate solutions.



RIBA response to DECC consultation - cutting red tape
July 2010

The RIBA identified several burdens imposed by policies and regulations associated with energy and climate change that could be amended, reduced or removed. However, in order to tackle climate change, there are a number of areas where we would welcome clarity, simplification and in some areas, an acceleration of activity. In particular, we would like to see the government prioritise post-occupancy evaluation and regulation for existing buildings.


RIBA response to CLG consultation - Zero Carbon for New Non-Domestic Buildings February 2010

The RIBA has responded to the CLG consultation on policy options for new non-domestic buildings, highlighting the relationship between planning and building control and challenging the presumption in favour of decentralised energy generation.


RIBA response to the Department for Energy and Climate Change consultation - Heat and Energy Strategy
May 2009

The RIBA has responsed to the Department for Energy and Climate Change's consultation on its draft Heat and Energy Saving Strategy. Among the key messages in the RIBA response is that the government needs to move further and faster on its timetable to upgrade the energy efficiency of our existing housing stock, and points out that architetcts have a key role to play in developing innovative solutions to retrofitting our buildings.


RIBA response to CLG consultation 'Definition of Zero-Carbon'
March 2009

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has called upon the government to implement a more flexible definition of 'zero carbon' to enable the construction industry to deliver low-carbon buildings of the future.

Responding to the Definition of Zero Carbon Homes and Non-Domestic Buildings consultation (launched at the end of 2008), the Institute has called for a reclassification of district power and heating schemes, alongside a national energy trajectory to underpin future efforts to achieve 80% zero carbon by 2050. This would plot the UK's route to decarbonising our energy supply, helping to address what constraints and opportunities exist in applying different clean energy technologies, and providing a roadmap and thereby increased certainty to local decision makers, the construction industry and its clients.


RIBA response to the Department for Communities and Local Government consultation on Eco-towns
July 2008

The RIBA welcomes the government's announcement on eco-towns, but warns that to be successful, every eco-town will need to be carefully considered and appraised in terms of its geographic and social sustainability.

RIBA response to the Sustainable Construction Strategy consultation
November 2007

The RIBA welcomed the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform's Draft Sustainable Construction Strategy's solid commitment to driving down the industry's impact on the environment. However, we felt that there is much room for simplification with much of the proposed initiatives and legislation proving difficult to decipher for industry insiders. We felt that the DBERR could be setting more ambitious design targets, especially in terms of making sure that private sector projects are encouraged to follow the lead shown in the delivery of public schemes.  


RIBA response to the Department for Communities and Local Government consultation on Building A Greener Future
March 2007

Read the response by the Royal Institute of British Architects to the Department for Communities and Local Government consultation on Building A Greener Future. The government's proposals include the suggestion that all new homes should be zero-carbon by 2016. 

Visit the the Department for Communities and Local Government website for the Building a Greener Future consultation


DTI consultation paper on 'Our Energy Challenge: Securing Clean, Affordable Energy for the Long Term'
April 2006

Read the RIBA's response to the government's energy consultation document.



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