The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) said there was a need for clarity in definition on the term ‘zero-carbon’, adding that the inefficiencies in policy create “fragmented and disparate” efforts at addressing the issue.

In October, an industry task group was set up to broaden understanding on the term. This came after the coalition had committed to plans implemented by the Labour government in 2008 to meet a target of all new non-domestic buildings being zero-carbon by 2019.

In its report published on Thursday, the UKGBC Industry Task Group says the lack of clarity on policy was “creating inefficiencies and the loss of global export opportunities”.

Paul King, chief executive of UKGBC, said, “The business benefits of zero-carbon non-domestic buildings are huge, boosting innovation that could help to create export opportunities in excess of £1 billion by 2050.

“Industry stands ready to invest in innovation and deliver higher standards in non-domestic buildings, but the coalition’s failure to recommit to the 2019 target is holding it back. Government has dragged its feet over this issue for far too long to the detriment of both business and the environment, and must now act urgently to demonstrate it is serious about realising the vast economic benefits of this policy.”

For domestic properties, the Code for Sustainable Homes, a sustainability assessment scheme, rates and certifies new homes against a national standard. It is used in the design and construction phases of new homes and has encouraged and improved sustainable buildings.

After a government review into housing standards proposed winding it down, a committee of MPs told the Department for Communities and Local Government that it should “think again”, adding that it had been a “big success in driving up home building standards, delivering local choice and supporting green exports”.