New industry project aims to upgrade UK buildings' efficiency

The UK building industry has launched a new research project that aims maximise building performance in terms of energy efficiency and overall environmental impact.

A key area of focus will be reducing the gap that exists between a buildings expected performance and its actual performance

A key area of focus will be reducing the gap that exists between a buildings expected performance and its actual performance

Led by the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC), the project will examine the way the industry designs, constructs and operates non-domestic buildings.

The research will encourage UKGBC members to explore what companies are already doing to address the issue of building performance, seek out best practice, and identify gaps and barriers that need to be overcome across the whole industry. 

A key area of focus will be reducing the gap that exists between a buildings expected performance and its actual performance.

According to the UKGBC: “All too often, predictions of the whole building performance are not accurately made nor communicated”.

UKGBC CEO Julie Hirigoyen said: "Huge cost, carbon and productivity benefits can be gained through a closer focus on the performance of buildings as we design, construct and operate them. Following the COP21 deal, this is just one of the ways in which the UK industry is showing its leadership and ambition."

Beyond compliance

The Delivering Building Performance project is sponsored by industry giants BuroHappold, Saint-Gobain and Tarmac Group. 

Engineering firm BuroHappold’s sustainability director Duncan Price commented: “Leading clients are looking beyond compliance to realising the multiple benefits of building performance including improved productivity, lower running costs and reduced environmental impact. This collaborative research will guide us all in how to achieve those benefits.”

Globally, the building sector consumes more than one third of the world's energy and, in most countries, is the largest source of GHG emissions.

The movement to reduce these emissions however, was given a major boost by COP21 in December, both in terms of the overall agreement, and the specific pledges made by construction and property companies.

Day four at the Paris conference was Buildings Day, and it was marked by the launch of the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction, which aims to scale up the sector's attempts to decarbonise.

Eighteen countries and more than 60 organisations are part of the Alliance and the World Green Building Council (WGBC) celebrated its inauguration by committing to a ‘global market transformation’ with two goals by 2050: net zero carbon new building and the energy efficiency retrofit of existing stock.

Momentum

Speaking to edie for our New Years Resolutions piece, John Alker, the campaign and policy director at the UKGBC, said: “The broadly positive outcome from COP21 is likely to have a major impact on the mood music around sustainability in 2016. It should give business far greater certainty that action on carbon globally has genuine momentum behind it.

“The explosion of interest in health and wellbeing will also show no signs of letting up in 2016. We will see more consumers starting to demand homes with better air quality, shoppers preferring retail spaces with more greenery, and corporate occupiers seeking out offices that maximise productivity."

Brad Allen


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