We’ve hit a breakthrough moment in climate change – the buildings sector must not squander it, argues John Alker of the UK Green Building Council
Wow. Something is very much ‘going on’. It’s been a whirlwind few weeks in the world of climate, politics and green business.
Greta, Sir David, Extinction Rebellion…pick your starting point. The public consciousness has been well and truly pricked and this is feeding through very directly into the boardroom. Both privately and publicly businesses are asking ‘what does this mean for us and our business model?’ and we may be on the verge of a major race-to-the-top in terms of climate leadership. About time.
The Committee on Climate Change’s net zero report landed with a thud and has acted as a bit of a wake-up call for many. Not only is climate change not going away, but something strange is happening. It’s becoming an issue that is seen as a vote-winner, not an electoral risk that is in direct conflict with economic growth. Shock horror.
For my sector, construction and property, this also feels like a turning point. Buildings and demand reduction have never been the most exciting thing for politicians. Not the same photo opportunity as speedboat in front of a wind turbine or driving a Tesla. But with responsibility for about 30 per cent of global carbon emissions, buildings are kind of important.
It was with impeccable sense of timing that UKGBC published a ‘framework definition’ for Net Zero Carbon Buildings in the Houses of Parliament last month. Someone described it as a tidal shift in our industry, involving as it did 13 different trade and professional bodies and almost exactly 100 contributing organisations. The number of downloads is well over 1000 and counting.
Read more: Future Build