The Welsh Assembly Government has set national ‘green’ standards for buildings in Wales that are intended to cut carbon emissions.
The move, announced by the Welsh Environment, Sustainability & Housing Minister Jane Davidson, makes Wales the first part of the UK to set a national standard for sustainable buildings to be met through the planning system.
The Welsh Assembly Government planning policy sets a national standard for sustainability for most new buildings proposed in Wales from September 1 2009.
For new homes, this will reduce their carbon emissions by more than 31 per cent compared to current building regulations, reduce the consumption of water and ensure that they use more sustainable materials.
Launching the policy, Ms Davidson said: ‘The way in which we construct our homes and buildings accounts for 40 per cent of our total carbon emissions.
‘We need to do everything we can to make new buildings, from our homes through to our offices, as environmentally friendly as possible.
‘The new policy will play a key role in achieving this.’
Housing proposals will be expected to meet the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 3, and non-domestic buildings will be expected to meet the BRE Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) ‘Very Good’ standard as a minimum.
The Code for Sustainable Homes uses a sustainability rating system – indicated by ‘stars’, or levels, that communicate the overall sustainability performance of a home.
A home can achieve a sustainability rating from one to six stars, depending on the extent to which it has achieved Code standards.
One star is the entry level – above the level of the Building Regulations – and six stars is the highest level – reflecting exemplary development in sustainability terms.