Skip to content

Property consultancy urges industry to step up fight against climate change

Property consultancy Bidwells has called for the industry to step up the fight against climate change by making sustainability a key priority in the UK’s planning system. 

The proposals are for sustainable design principles to be intertwined into planning requirements.

There should also be an annual greenhouse gas target for commercial buildings in order to drive down the industry’s carbon emissions.

Asif Din, sustainability director at Perkins and Will, said: “In 2019, we should be embedding sustainability at the heart of any development policy.

“Climate change is here and now, which means the days of greenwashing within our industry must end.

“We need to see beyond the the net-zero barrier and thread it through everything we design, deliver and operate, which needs to be reflected in the planning system.

“To do this, we need to garner a greater understanding of the operational and lifecycle emissions of buildings.

“We need to work together as an industry to create buildings that are fit for purpose over their whole lifespan, to incentivise long-term investments, and to design adaptable buildings to face the challenges that the climate crisis poses.”

UK property is currently responsible for approximately 40% of Britain’s carbon emissions, according to the UK Green Building Council, making it one of the largest sole contributors to the nation’s carbon footprint.

Bidwells helped deliver the UK’s largest non-residential PassivHaus building at The University of Leicester in 2015.

It has shown that all properties in England rated D-G on their energy performance certificates had a potential energy bill of £21.3bn a year – and this could be brought down to £15.2bn if all those properties were brought up to at least a C standard, saving £6bn on household energy bills.

Eleanor Jukes, senior investment manager at Legal & General, said: “The impacts of climate change on the built environment make partnership and collaboration essential for successful and sustainable regeneration.

“It’s crucial that the development process becomes greener, but to make serious headway in curbing the sector’s emissions we need to take a holistic approach that links transport, clean energy and digital infrastructure back into the built environment.

“Our vision is to create a sustainable ecosystem that underpins the urban centres of the future and connects systems, people and places.”