Only 9% of refurbishment projects could be shown to meet required environmental standards, the committee found. And just 35% of new-builds and 18% of refurbishment projects were assessed, even though assessment should be mandatory.
The government spends £3 billion per year on new buildings and refurbishments. It has set sustainability standards for both but the committee found these were not being monitored or met.
The committee calls for wide-ranging improvement. It found that lines of accountability and enforcement were not clear and it exhorted the government to take a leadership role in establishing cross-departmental common contracts for items such as green energy.
Noting the “perception of conflict between sustainability and budgetary constraints”, the report calls for whole-life costing of buildings. The Treasury is urged to simplify the application of this, find ways to allow flexibility on capital spending and “actively assist departments” to implement sustainable design and cut whole-life costs.
The Committee also recommends that: