The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said it is ‘not realistic’ to achieve zero carbon by 2016.

New homes should be built with a 70% carbon reduction in mind, not 100%, going zero carbon by 2016 will be a ‘struggle’, it warned in today’s submission to the Government.

RICS said that, while it supports the Government’s ultimate policy to achieve a 100% reduction in emissions from new homes, a necessary review must take into account advances in technology and cost effectiveness.

Gillian Charlesworth, director of external affairs at RICS said: ‘We believe that, given the financial constraints caused by the downturn, Government should be aiming to maximise reductions in carbon emissions in a cost effective manner. RICS wants to see achievable solutions.

‘Resources should be allocated to lower cost measures that will provide maximum insulation to homes. This would be a pragmatic solution towards reducing our carbon footprint, given the current recession.’

RICS spokesperson and building energy efficiency expert Jerry Percy added: ‘Planning and building control also have a huge role to play. We need a more integrated approach to ensure that standards are met as the planning and regulatory systems are currently not delivering as they should be.

‘Importantly, there needs to be a change of culture amongst property professionals to help achieve better outcomes.'

At a recent industry meeting participants agreed that, in order to achieve zero and low carbon homes, the focus needs to be on:

• flexibility, looking at appropriate solutions for appropriate sites

• raising standards and encouraging innovation

• driving down costs through economies of scale

• land values

• changing attitudes to life style and maintenance of homes.