sustainability – barriers or opportunities?

As expected a number of mixed and potentially confusing announcements made at Eco Build question progress towards zero carbon construction, question the defintion of carbon zero while setting more targets for (non domestic) zero carbon construction by 2020.

Founder of the UK Green Building Council, Dr David Strong is right to question the focus on carbon reductions – we need to remember the ecological footprint as well. Unfortunately the carbon footprint is easier to comprehend, and to address that the wider ecological aspects. Yet we are heading for a skewed future if we do not. See the One Planet Living principles for an approach that encompasses carbon zero through to health and happiness as an example of the wider issues.

Perhaps Simon McWhirter, WWF-UK, a member of the newly announced carbon industry task group headed by Barratts boss Mark Clare to redefine zero carbon will remind this group (once again) of the wider issues?

I also see the barrier of cost being raised again in achieving these targets –“a cost premium for anywhere between 5% to 30% extra”. Now isnt that the estimated cost of waste in our industry, or lost time through uncollaboartive working ?

At a recent best practice club presentation I used a green scale – from grey to bright green – to help illustrate different views to the environmental concerns. Delegates agreed the UK built environment is stuck as accommodationalists – only just turning green from grey  defined as ‘do as little as possible, be led by legislation , but no need to change core behaviour’

I cant help but think of the green build movement in the USA that is just getting on and doing it – talking about achievements and benefits of being green (including cost benefits) rather than talking about definitions, barriers, problems and more legislation to ‘help us’.

(Take a look at the buzz and the near evangelical speeches and presentations at the recent USGBC Green-build Conference – still on line for viewing ! – where it was reported that LEED Platinum accredited buildings produce 45% improvement in energy usage – its not anecdotal any more we have the proof said USGBC CEO)

Thanks to fellow blogger Phil Clarke and Building for news from Ecobuild – nearly as good as online !

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This entry was posted in built environment, carbon, ecological, green buildings, News, sustainability and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to sustainability – barriers or opportunities?

  1. Phil Clark says:

    Interesting post Martin.
    I had just such a conversation with a speaker I’m getting for this year’s Think. We seriously run the risk of become stuck in the fug and fog of legislation and regulation, rather than being creative and opportunistic.
    Much more Ecobuild coverage to come!

    Like

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