UKGBC launches sustainable innovation guide for built environment

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has launched an innovation manual to help companies working in the built environment sector put sustainability at the heart of their operations.

UKGBC believes that innovative approaches are needed to help reduce emissions, waste and energy use in the construction sector

UKGBC believes that innovative approaches are needed to help reduce emissions, waste and energy use in the construction sector

The 48-page manual, published today (5 September), contains a step-by-step guide to help businesses across the industry embed green innovation in their planning, decision making and construction work.

It offers a five-stage model for ensuring that green innovation is considered and integrated at each milestone in a project, from inception to implementation.

UKGBC’s director of learning and innovation Cat Hirst said the need for creative solutions was now “greater than ever”, with heat and power for buildings accounting for 40% of national energy usage, and more than a third (34%) of the UK’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. 

“We know industry leaders want to be innovative, but that can be harder than it sounds,” she said. “By demystifying the process of innovation and providing some simple steps to get started, we hope the manual will work to build the capacity of industry so that every business in the built environment can begin to reach its sustainable innovation potential.”

A lab for leadership

The advice provided in the manual, which applies to new products and services as well as large-scale developments, results from discussions at UKGBC's inaugural Innovation Lab meeting last year.

The Lab sees representatives from more than 50 corporates, SMEs and startups meet to collectively discuss how stakeholders in the UK’s construction sector can collaborate to find innovative solutions to common sustainability challenges.

Led by three founder corporates – namely Landsec, Canary Wharf Group and Marks & Spencer (M&S) – the aim of the Lab is to help companies co-create solutions to issues such as building emissions, energy efficiency and cradle-to-grave building designs. Since the scheme launched last year, the founder businesses have led six face-to-face workshops to share their expertise with competitors and other key stakeholders.

Although Canary Wharf Group is already well-known for its sustainability credentials, the property giant’s head of sustainability Martin Gettings said the Innovation Lab has enabled his team to consider “further embedding a culture of sustainable innovation” in the company’s operations.

“For us, the Innovation Lab provided a fresh perspective on how we can create the conditions for innovation to thrive, importantly by working with peers to tackle common problems together, and considering new ways that the built environment sector can be positively disrupted,” Gettings said.

UKGBC recently provided the foreword to edie’s construction sector insight report, which found that almost two-thirds of businesses operating in the industry are now more committed to taking action on sustainability than they were 12 months ago. You can read the free report in full here.

Sarah George


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