Theresa May has pledged to halve the energy use of new buildings by 2030 through “modern construction practices” as part of the government’s industrial strategy.
In a speech yesterday, the prime minister said “new technologies” will be used to cut energy usage in commercial and residential buildings, which will in turn drive up construction standards.
The move is one of the government’s four industrial strategy ‘grand challenges’ aiming to make the UK a forerunner in emerging industries, such as artificial intelligence and clean energy.
Ministers also hope new technologies can be developed for export as the country prepares for a post-Brexit market.
Speaking at Jodrell Bank in Cheshire, Mrs May said: “By making our buildings more energy-efficient and embracing smart technologies, we can slash household energy bills, reduce demand for energy, and meet our targets for carbon reduction.”
The prime minister also pledged to halve the costs of reaching the same standard in existing buildings.
She added: “Meeting this challenge will drive innovation and higher standards in the construction sector, helping it to meet our ambitious homebuilding targets and providing more jobs and opportunity to millions of workers across the country.
“It will be a catalyst for new technologies and more productive methods, which can be exported to a large and growing global market for clean technologies.”
David Pinder, chair of the Construction Leadership Council’s Green Construction Board, said the industry should welcome the challenge. “Having a long-term mission and target from government – particularly one that is sufficiently ambitious to drive innovation in products and solutions – should help focus minds throughout the construction supply chain,” he added.
Heating and powering buildings currently accounts for 40 per cent of the UK’s energy usage, according to the government.
Policies around clean energy have been backed by £170m of public money through the Transforming Construction Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.
The government said it expects this will be matched by £250m of private sector investment, meaning more than £400m will be spent on new construction products, technologies and techniques.
Last November, the government announced details of its industrial strategy sector deal with construction, aiming at modernising the industry and boosting productivity.