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RIBA responses to government consultations on climate action

The climate emergency is the biggest challenge facing our planet and the architecture profession. But to have a significant impact we need to turn warm words into impactful actions. As the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), our consultation responses urge government adopt the 2030 Climate Challenge targets and create an ambitious plan to ensure all new and existing buildings do not have a negative impact on the environment.

Read more about the RIBA’s climate action work.

Janet Nash House, an office in Durham designed by FaulknerBrowns © David Cadzow

Climate action and sustainability

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government: Future Buildings Standard

April 2021

This consultation sought views on changes to Part L (conservation of fuel and power) and Part F (ventilation) of the Building Regulations for non-domestic buildings and dwellings; and overheating in new residential buildings.

Our response called on government to start measuring operational energy and embodied carbon and set ambitious targets for these metrics.

Read our response to the Future Buildings Standard consultation (PDF).

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Local factors in managing flood and coastal erosion risk and property flood resilience – call for evidence

March 2021

This consultation looked at further ways to increase the uptake of property flood resilience measures to enable householders and businesses to better prepare for flooding.

Our response highlighted that architecture plays a critical role in mitigating flood risk and that the planning system and Building Regulations should include flood resilient design.

Read our response to the consultation (PDF).

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Improving home energy performance through lenders

February 2021

This consultation called for views on how the government can encourage lenders to improve the energy performance of mortgaged properties to help deliver substantial emissions reductions.

Our response called on the government to require lenders to disclose the energy performance of their portfolios, consider embodied carbon targets and promote a fabric first approach to retrofitting.

Read our response to the consultation (PDF).

House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee: Green Jobs

January 2021

This inquiry sought views on the jobs, skills and training needed to achieve the UK’s longer term climate and environmental ambitions. It also looked at how green jobs can help tackle the expected rise in unemployment due to COVID-19.

Our response highlighted the role that improving the energy efficiency of our homes can play in creating thousands of new green jobs. It also highlighted the importance of adequate funding for training and education to ensure the UK has the relevant skills and expertise to do retrofit safely and effectively.

Read our response to the inquiry (PDF).

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Improving the energy performance of privately rented homes in England and Wales

January 2021

This consultation called for views on how the government should bring forward higher standards for energy efficiency within the private rented sector.

Our response called on the government to introduce a dual metric to measure energy efficiency, increase the cost cap to £15,000 and consider embodied carbon to improve the energy efficiency of the private rented sector.

Read our response to the consultation (PDF).

House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee: Technological Innovations and Climate Change - Heat Pumps

November 2020

This inquiry called for views on how heat pumps can be effectively rolled out across the country.

Our response noted that while heat pumps can be effective way to achieve low carbon heating, fabric efficiency must be the primary consideration when designing a new home. For existing homes, heat pumps should form part of a “whole house” retrofit plan.

Read our response to the inquiry (PDF).

House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee: Flooding

August 2020

This inquiry was interested in hearing views on how the government is proactively and reactively responding to flooding in England.

Our response highlighted the import role that design and architects can play in mitigating flood risk. Good design makes communities healthier and safer before, during, and after flooding events.

Read our response to the inquiry (PDF).

House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee: Energy Efficiency in Existing Homes

July 2020

This inquiry sought views on how the government should improve the energy efficiency of existing homes to help the UK reach its climate goals.

Our response urged government to implement a National Retrofit Strategy with adequate funding and incentives to ensure the 19 million homes that require retrofitting are reached.

Read our response to the inquiry (PDF).

House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee: Possible Future Inquiries

April 2020

This inquiry sought views on which inquiries the Environmental Audit Committee should take forward. We recommended two inquires: energy efficiency of existing homes, and the role of local authorities in reaching net zero.

Read our response to House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee inquiry (PDF).

NHS Net Zero: call for evidence

March 2020

This consultation asked for ideas on how the NHS can continue to reduce its carbon emissions and become greener. We recommended that all NHS buildings consider whole life carbon and utilise Post-Occupancy Evaluation (POE).

Read our response to the NHS Net Zero consultation (PDF).

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government: Future Homes Standard

February 2020

This consultation sought views on the regulations governing the energy performance of new residential buildings. The Future Homes Standard consultation looks at proposed changes to Part L (Conservation of Fuel and Power) and Part F (Ventilation) of the Building Regulations.

Our response called on government to set ambitious targets for new homes in line with the RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge.

Read our response to the Future Homes Standard consultation.

Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Non-domestic private rented sector minimum energy efficiency standards

January 2020

This consultation sought views on how best to improve the energy performance of non-domestic private rented buildings through tighter minimum energy standards. Our response called for government to mandate that non-domestic buildings use Display Energy Certificates (DECs) to measure operational energy.

Read our response to the non-domestic private rented sector minimum energy efficiency standards consultation.

House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee: energy efficiency - building towards net zero

January 2019

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee launched an inquiry into the government’s approach to delivering energy efficiency improvements to buildings. Our response calls for energy efficiency to be made a national infrastructure priority.

Read our response to energy efficiency - building towards net zero inquiry.

The Teaching and Learning Building, The University of Nottingham, by Make Architects © Martina Ferrera

Green recovery

House of Commons Treasury Committee: Decarbonisation and green finance

August 2020

The Treasury Committee was interested to find out if HM Treasury should be directly funding green infrastructure as part of its coronavirus spending package.

Our response recommended prioritising additional public investment and reviewing tax mechanisms to incentivise energy efficient retrofits in existing homes. We also suggested that HM Treasury should ensure that publicly funded infrastructure projects are providing value for money by requiring the use of Post Occupancy Evaluation.

Read our response to the inquiry (PDF).

House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee: Greening the post-COVID recovery

August 2020

This inquiry sought views on how the government should prioritise the environment in its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Our response noted that the built environment has a key role in supporting an environmentally friendly recovery from the pandemic. Improving the energy efficiency of our existing housing stock and ensuring new buildings do not negatively impact the environment are key to a green recovery.

Read our response to the inquiry (PDF).

House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee: Post-pandemic economic growth

July 2020

The BEIS Select Committee launched an inquiry into post-pandemic economic growth, including which sectors should be included, and what the government's priorities should include. Our response highlighted the importance of the built environment in post-pandemic economic growth while helping the UK meet its climate goals.

Read our response to the inquiry on post-pandemic economic growth (PDF).

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: written submission on economic recovery from COVID-19 - green recovery

June 2020

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy asked the RIBA to provide details on how the built environment can assist with a green recovery post-coronavirus (COVID-19).

Our response highlighted the importance of addressing energy efficiency in existing homes as a key element of the UK’s green recovery.

Read our written submission on green recovery (PDF).

The Labour Party: Green recovery consultation

June 2020

The Labour Party were looking for information on what should be included in their green recovery policies.

We recommended that the Labour Party endorse embodied carbon targets and promote the use of Post-Occupancy Evaluation (POE).

Read our submission to the Labour Party (PDF).

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