A London MEP has called for a European and national framework to promote sustainable housing through policy, incentives and funding.
Jean Lambert, London's Green Member of the European Parlaiment since 1999 made the call at the recent 'Build with CaRe' conference in Norwich.
Build with CaRe is a three-year project, launched in 2008, which aims to facilitate, stimulate and strengthen the market in order to go from a few ‘good examples' to energy efficient design as mainstream. It is made up of 18 public and private organisations across five countries (Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK).
A for Build with CaRe amabassador until August 2011, Ms Lambert declared: "With EU building stock producing over one third of CO2 emissions, the area of sustainable housing cannot simply depend upon the commitment of an enlightened few."
She continued: "While much can be done locally by pioneering organisations such as Build with CaRe, the fact is that both an EU and national framework of policy, incentives and funding is key if we are to make retrofitting and energy efficiency in building design the norm. We will fail if this isn't both maintained and extended."
"Sadly, the cuts to public spending mean the housing industry is facing yet another crisis and when fiscal concerns are at the top of the agenda it is only too likely that ecological concerns are at the bottom, resulting in a failure to build the number of high-energy houses that we need. Indeed, only eight level 6 zero-carbon certificates have been awarded to completed houses during the last three years," Ms Lambert said.
The Government's Code for Sustainable Homes sets out a compulsory rating of all new homes. The Code has six levels and is designed to set out building regulations and show the future direction to be taken with those regulations. Level 6 is equated with ‘zero carbon'.
Ms Lambert continued: "We are missing a huge opportunity. Ambitious policy on both new builds and retro-fitting would deliver thousands of new jobs in a climate where youth unemployment is rising. Norwich alone has roughly 6,000 council homes built before 1945 that would benefit from loft and wall cavity insulation.
"During this financial crisis, we must not lose sight of the larger picture. Governments must invest now to safeguard our future," said the Green Party MEP.
For more information onBuild with CaRe, go to: http://www.buildwithcare.eu/ 
Quarterly data on new homes is available at: http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/codesusta...