The innovative Welsh Assembly Government planning policy sets a national standard for sustainability for most new buildings proposed in Wales from 1 September 2009.
For new homes this will:
* Reduce carbon emissions by more than 31% compared to current building regulations through energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy;
* Reduce the consumption of water;
* Use more sustainable materials.
Launching the policy, Environment, Sustainability & Housing Minister Jane Davidson said: "This is another demonstration of the Welsh Assembly Government’s commitment to protecting our environment for future generations. I am determined to use the planning system to move towards zero carbon buildings.
"Making our buildings greener will play an important part in reducing our carbon footprint as the built environment is the largest contributor to greenhouse gases in Wales.
"The way in which we construct our homes and buildings accounts for 40% 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 BREEM "Very Good" standard as a minimum.
The Welsh Assembly has set a target of reducing emissions in devolved areas by 3% from 2011.
Peter Davies, Commissioner for Wales, Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) said: "Making our buildings more energy efficient is vital in tackling climate change, so we welcome this step towards the Welsh Assembly Government’s aspiration of zero carbon new buildings from 2011. With Wales leading the rest of the UK in this field, the Welsh construction sector now has a huge opportunity to gain competitive advantage in this growing market, and a substantial role to play in cutting greenhouse gas emissions."
Have your say on this story using the comment section below