Green housing is profitable, says CIOB

Property developers are to be targeted with a new guide, aiming to demonstrate how to make money from building sustainable housing.

The guide, published by the Chartered Institute of Building and PDM Consultants, sets out how property developers can use sustainable design and construction practices to improve their business models.

It includes case studies of businesses that are shifting towards more environmentally and socially friendly practices for commercial reasons.

For example, developers who can integrate sustainability into their projects early will save money and progress more smoothly through a planning system ever more focused on the environment, the guide advises.

They may also be able to stay one step ahead of legislation aimed at curbing the industry's impact on the environment, it says.

It also suggests that better waste management can save construction firms money by reducing the amount of material used, and advises developers to question contractors on their experience with waste management systems as part of the tender process.

The guide predicts that these will become standard practices within five to 10 years.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, nearly 50% of UK citizens would be prepared to pay up to £10,000 more for an environmentally friendly home.

CIOB points out that in the US there are already estate agents which only sell "green" homes. "We'd like to see this trend increase as the public demand for energy efficiency will grow. This is a good example of the market's demand," said a CIOB spokesperson.

On the launch of the guide, Labour MP Nick Raynsford said: "Setting the business case for environmentally and socially sustainable housing is crucial in enabling the construction industry to contribute effectively to finding solutions to global problems, such as climate change, and to put the UK industry at the forefront of sustainable design."

Gretchen Hendriks



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