Double glazing law proposed to save energy
But the Department of the Environment will not propose any fundamental improvement in the insulation of walls - much to the disappointment of environmentalists and energy conservation experts, who feel the Government could have gone further.
Professor Peter Smith, chairman of the Royal Institute of British Architects' energy and environment committee, said. 'There certainly is progress here, but they have missed out on improving the most basic elements for saving energy in buildings.'
The Government will only suggest improving insulation in roofs and floors as an option rather than making a firm proposal in its consultation paper today. Energy conservation standards in British housing lag behind those set in western European nations on the same latitude, such as the Netherlands and Denmark.
The regulations will add pounds 300 to pounds 900 to the cost of a new semi-detached house - an extra 1 to 2 per cent - according to a draft version seen by the Independent. The cost of new commercial buildings will rise by a similar percentage, although savings in fuel bills should allow the extra to be recouped within 15 years.
Every new home will have a compulsory energy label - a measure of how good it is at conserving heat. There will have to be draughtproofing on doors and windows and improved controls on central heating systems.
For new commercial buildings, there will be a presumption against air conditioning; developers and architects will have to demonstrate that it is essential. The Government proposes that this should also apply to existing buildings in which the owner wants to install air conditioning.
The amount of energy consumed by air conditioning in Britain has risen roughly three-fold in the past 10 years - which means that the amount of global warming carbon dioxide gas from this sector has grown correspondingly.
New commercial buildings will also have to be lit efficiently with automatic controls which switch off lights when they are not needed. Professor Smith said: 'Developers and architects will have to use daylight and even windows that open to keep buildings comfortable and well lit.'
The heating, lighting and air conditioning of Britain's buildings accounts for almost half of Britain's use of coal, oil and gas - and a similar proportion of emissions of carbon dioxide, which is produced when these fuels are burnt.
With Britain committed to stabilising its rising emissions of this gas at the 1990 level by 2000, tougher energy conservation standards for new buildings are an obvious target.
- 1 Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Giorgio Armani criticises the way some gay men dress saying 'a man has to be a man'
Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
Katie Hopkins and The Sun editor David Dinsmore reported to police for incitement to racial hatred following migrant boat column
'Jihadi John': Isis executioner Mohammed Emwazi wanted to wage jihad in Somalia until his friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
Parma, Missouri: 80 per cent of town's police quit after first black mayor is elected
Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...
£16000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of Ford's leading Parts Who...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Do you want to learn ...