Green spaces add value to building projects, says UKGBC
Property developers can increase the value of their land by incorporating more parks, trees and green spaces into their projects, finds a new report from the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC).
The report, Demystifying Green Infrastructure, presents the business case for these green features, pointing out the potential profit opportunities, but also the costs of inaction.
As well as increased property values, the UKGBC says green infrastructure can reduce maintenance and energy costs as well as mitigating health risks. Natural Health England predicts the NHS would save £2.1bn if every household in England had access to quality green space.
Green spaces can also improve urban air quality, which has been identified as the the top environmental risk factor for premature deaths in Europe, causing 40,000 mortalities a year.
UKGBC acting CEO John Alker said: "We have to shed the image of green infrastructure as a fluffy optional extra, an additional cost or an unnecessary burden.
"There are a growing number of clients and developers demonstrating that green infrastructure is absolutely central to quality place-making, and that there is a clear business case for it. This has to become the norm."
The risks of failing to incorporate green infrastructure include delayed or denied planning permission, reputational damage and an increased chance of flooding.
As many as 5m UK properties could be at water risk, and the spread of the urban environment means flooding cannot be fully defended according to the BRE.
Construction firm Skanska, one of the report sponsors, suggested that the Government should act to enforce more green infrastructure planning:
Nigel Sagar of @SkanskaUKplc suggests it should be mandated that you have to enhance green infrastructure at the planning stage of a project— UKGreenBldgCouncil (@UKGBC) February 24, 2015
The findings of the report echo a study released last week, with support from Asda, Mars and Nestle, which found that businesses can benefit from interacting sustainably with their environment.
Green business initiatives – such as a water reduction initiative or collecting data on the links between biodiversity and certain commodities – can improve the bottom line through security of supply and brand enhancement.
Green buildings at Sustainability Live 2015
Green buildings will be a key theme at Sustainability Live 2015 in April, with a number of keynote sessions and panel discussions focusing on the opportunities for improving building performance and energy efficiency, retrofit strategies and the future energy management of commercial buildings.