Commercial property could be subjected to green MOT-style tests if the advice of a government think-tank becomes law.
Its research revealed homes and businesses are locked into using dominant energy sources and regular tests could help the UK hit its eco-targets.
Professor John Beddington, the government’s chief scientific adviser and director of the Foresight programme, says we need to re-think our energy use because “the energy used to power buildings is responsible for over 50 per cent of UK carbon emissions”.
The MOT style test could be applied annually and its results used to decide building insurance and council tax costs.
Foresight also recommended buildings be upgraded to be more carbon neutral, energy systems be decentralised and people encouraged to take their environmental responsibilities more seriously.
“Given our buildings are responsible for almost half of the UK’s carbon emissions, we need to be taking action now if we are to succeed in hitting our targets,” added minister for housing, Margaret Beckett.
A study by Oxford Brookes University found the adoption of environmental building regulations is increasingly seen as a “financial opportunity”.