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Housing: Sustainable Development

Volume 473: debated on Thursday 13 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what proportion of new homes built since 2003 meet the Government’s targets for sustainability on (a) energy use and (b) water use. (191191)

Building Control is a devolved service undertaken by local authorities and other building control bodies. Independent data on the levels of compliance achieved by individual homes that have been signed off by building control bodies is not kept centrally and it is not therefore possible to verify the absolute levels of compliance.

In relation to regulatory requirements on energy use, an implementation review of the 2006 amendments to part L of the building regulations will be undertaken shortly and will help to inform future amendments to the building regulations in this respect.

There are currently no requirements in building regulations for water efficiency, but the Government have committed to bringing new requirements into force for new homes during 2009. In December 2006, CLG and DEFRA issued a consultation on introducing minimum requirements for water efficiency in new buildings. The consultation gave a strong endorsement for the adoption of a performance standard for new homes to be administered through the building regulations. The standard will be set at 125 litres per person per day.

The code for sustainable homes sets out standards, above the regulatory minimum, for the sustainability of new homes including energy and water. The code provides a means for house builders to differentiate their products, however, there is no national obligation for privately funded developments to be built to the code. Publicly funded homes must be built to code level 3. There are currently 395 registered developments that are building to the code, covering around 30,000 homes.