Prime Minister Theresa May announced Government will tomorrow lay a statutory instrument before Parliament that will amend the Climate Change Act and introduce a net zero emission target.
Presently the country is committed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.
According to the Committee on Climate Change, which recommended the move in its recent report, the industry has little more than 10 years to take all new buildings over to net zero carbon if the goal is to be met.
The commitment will also need wholesale changes to energy generating infrastructure and big changes to new buildings and improvements to existing buildings.
This will require a switch away from fossil-fuel based heating, increasing the energy efficiency of the building stock, and improving the energy efficiency of lighting and electrical appliances.
It will also necessitate the widespread use of heat pumps to replace boilers and accelerating district heating and hydrogen technologies.
Julie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive at UKGBC said: “This is a powerful and positive move by the Prime Minister that will give her time in office a legacy beyond Brexit.
“UKGBC knows that the built environment contains some of the biggest opportunities to slash emissions.
“We must accelerate action in all areas including improving the efficiency of our aging building stock, and overcoming the challenge of decarbonising heat.
“To do this, we need to see both policy and industry leadership to ensure the built environment is at the vanguard of emissions reductions. There is no time to lose, now is the time to act.”
Paul Reeve, director of the Electrical Contractors Association, said: “No-one should expect the feat of resolving the UK’s carbon footprint to be anything other than daunting, but the Government has issued a truly remarkable response to the ‘zero carbon’ challenge set out by the CCC in May.
“The task ahead is immense: the UK is drastically short of the infrastructure, supply and installation capacity needed to introduce low-carbon building heating at scale.
“There are also major ‘low carbon’ skills gaps across building design, construction and installation. We also need to ensure that whatever happens in the years ahead delivers the quality and performance necessary for whole-life low carbon buildings.”