UK Green Building Council aims to foster collaboration through new Innovation Lab

The UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) has introduced a "radical new approach" to inspiring innovation in the built environment, after launching its first Innovation Lab that will offer workshops and collaborative opportunities to develop new solutions in the construction industry.

Announced on Thursday (5 January), UK-GBC’s Innovation Lab brings in Canary Wharf Group, Land Securities and Marks & Spencer (M&S) as lead partners in the initiative’s overall aim to foster innovative sustainability solutions and explore future trends of the built environment.

UK-GBC’s head of leadership and innovation Cat Hirst said: “Research and Development levels across our industry are painfully low; the UK currently only spends £43m on construction R&D. The risks to a single company of investing in developing a solution for such a high-cost industry is often seen as prohibitive. But we desperately need to find ways of working together to achieve radical change if we are to challenge business as usual and transition to a sustainable way of working.

“At UK-GBC we’re seeking to catalyse this change by using our unique position to convene our member organisations to work together to address the issues our industry faces.  We want to ensure there is the time, space, and structure for open innovation to occur for the built environment.”

The Innovation Lab officially began last month with a workshop aimed at identifying “breakthrough challenges” that will form the basis for the next nine-months of workshops and programmes; Thursday marks the official announcement from UK-GBC.

The initial workshop highlighted the key challenges that the industry will face in regards to climate resilience, resource efficiency and technological advancements. The next workshop will be held on 1 February and the open format allows members to collaborate to share both risks and rewards.

Land Securities head of sustainability Caroline Hill said: “The Innovation Lab will provide us with an exciting opportunity to work and collaborate with businesses in the property industry, to explore innovative sustainable solutions. Most importantly we want to see how sustainability can help to break through some of the challenges our sector is currently facing.”

Record HQ

The launch of the Innovation Lab comes after numerous calls from the UK-GBC, aimed at the construction industry, to embed collaboration as a means of overcoming barriers and sharing best practice of circular economy principles.

The UK-GBC has been keen to champion sustainability in the built environment and recently achieved the lowest embodied carbon footprint ever recorded for a UK office refurbishment. After setting outlines in June 2016, the UK-GBC’s central London headquarters has a carbon footprint 22% below a comparable “standard” fit-out.

edie’s innovation month

The month of January sees edie shift the editorial spotlight to green innovation, with a series of exclusive interviews, features and podcasts running throughout the month to celebrate the very best of emerging clean technologies and low-carbon systems.

Change will not happen without genuine innovation and so this month will explore the bleeding edge where change is really happening. From emerging tech to new business models; breakthrough approaches and creative leaders, we’ll shine the spotlight on the real game-changers and sort the facts from the fads.

Read all of edie’s innovation content here.

Matt Mace

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