LONDON - Improving the energy efficiency of Britain's buildings is crucial for meeting the country's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions targets by 2050, a report by the government-backed Carbon Trust found on Friday.

If the right strategy is followed, the carbon footprint of non-domestic buildings can be reduced by more than one third by 2020 and a net benefit of 4 billion pounds ($6.54 billion) can be delivered to the UK economy through energy savings, the report said.

Britain aims to cut CO2 emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050. Currently, commercial, industrial and public buildings account for 18 percent of the country's emissions.

Non-domestic buildings need to improve from an average 'E' energy rating today to a 'C' by 2030 and an 'A' by 2050, the Carbon Trust said.

To enable this, Display Energy Certificates and Energy Performance Certificates should be applied to all non-domestic buildings by 2015 to provide more transparency over the sector's energy performance.

Lighting and heating controls must be implemented across all 1.8 million non-domestic buildings within the next 10 years, the Carbon Trust said.

After 2020, more costly measures such as triple glazing and ground source heat pumps must become standard in both new and existing buildings.

Policymakers need to set a clear direction, show leadership and provide the necessary policy and regulatory support. In return, the building industry needs to respond by moving from niche exemplars of good practice to large-scale, mass market implementation as standard, said Stuart Farmer, head of buildings strategy at the Carbon Trust.

(Reporting by Nina Chestney; Editing by Anthony Barker)