The house building industry will have to raise its game if it is to meet Government targets on sustainability, according to a new survey.

The UK's top 20 home builders were ranked according to their performance in building more environmentally-friendly houses.

The Berkeley Group, Taylor Woodrow and George Wimpey - now merged to form Taylor Wimpey - Countryside Properties and Crest Nicholson were named as the top companies.

The building companies - responsible for almost half the number of new homes built in the UK last year - were assessed on how they are facing up to Government demands for all new homes to be carbon neutral by 2016.

The building consultancy group Upstream, who carried out the survey, said it was designed to provide a detailed picture of how the industry was facing up to the challenge of creating sustainable homes and communities. It acknowledged the progress that had been made but highlighted the enormity of the political, commercial and practical challenges that lay ahead. The report said the builders were getting to grips with meeting the 2016 deadline and helping cut CO2 emissions by 20 per cent by 2020.

Of the top 20 builders who together built almost 100,000 homes last year:

  • 70 per cent had reported publicly on their approach to sustainability.
  • 65 per cent had waste management strategies in place.
  • 60 per cent had set targets to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

But there was a large gap between where the industry was now and where it needed to be by 2016.

60 per cent had recognised climate change as a significant issue but none had a climate change policy in place. Only 25 per cent had an understanding of the carbon footprint of their operations. Only 15 per cent had sustainable procurement policies.

Simon McWhirter, Homes Campaign Director from WWF-UK, one of the groups involved in the study, said: "If the UK is to meet the necessary 80 per cent emission reduction targets by 2050 it's vital that home builders step up the environmental measure they take. "New homes offer a significant opportunity to minimise our carbon emissions and reduce fuel bills for households, but although the industry is responding well, progress is still far too slow. Longer term more focused plans to tackle climate change must be implemented immediately to rein in the environmental impact of our homes."

Rachel Crossley of Insight Investment which is a major investor in the house building industry, said: "Those companies that can capitalise on the coming home building boom the Government has committed to, while at the same time finding the most cost-effective ways of building sustainable homes will be tomorrow's winners.

"Critical to success will be investment in innovation and a willingness to break from the past to design and deliver homes that are both efficient and adaptable to the changing, but uncertain, future climate."

Top 20 overall performance

1.The Berkeley Group

2.Taylor Woodrow

3.George Wimpey

4.Countryside Properties

5.Crest Nicholson


7.Barratt Developments

8.Miller Homes


10.McCarthy & Stone



13.Bovis Homes


15.Kier Residential


17.Galliford Try

18.Cala Group

19.Bloor Holdings

20.Gladedale Holdings


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