Housing Minister Yvette Cooper has called for British residential developments to better Scandinavian standards within 10 years.
Clearly impressed on a trip to Holland and Scandinavia, Cooper said homes in the UK needed higher sustainable standards to counteract global warming.
The minister called for architecture and construction firms to adopt the high standards which are found in some European countries.
The second phase of the government's Design for Manufacture competition will be launched by the end of the year.
The competition will involve four low- and zero-carbon developments on private and public sites. European companies will be invited to join the competition to increase innovation.
During a speech in Holland, Cooper said: 'The homes we build today will house our children and grandchildren for decades to come, which means they need to be sustainable. If other countries can do it so can we.
'The challenge now is for UK developers to create low-cost and low-carbon homes. We believe that new developments in the Thames Gateway and in areas like Northstowe can lead the way.' by Ed Dorrell