The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) is part of the World Green Building Council, a global network
The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) is part of the World Green Building Council, a global network of 70 national Green Building Councils driving positive change in terms of the way people work, play, learn, and live. UKGBC was created to make green buildings front and center in people’s lives throughout the UK.
Presented with the global issue of climate change, we must rethink the way we grow and build, ensuring that citizens continue to thrive, both today and in the future, in every country in the world.
What Is Green Building?
Green building is about much more than just solar panels and green walls. It is a multi-disciplinary subject that has a profound impact on all of our lives. Along with reducing a building’s environmental impact, green building enhances the wellbeing and health of building occupants by:
Enhancing interior environmental quality through the incorporation of natural lighting and ventilation, in addition to providing good indoor air quality.
Optimizing the use of water, energy, and other resources to avoid overconsumption, adopting the use of eco-friendly materials and renewable energy to minimize the building’s carbon footprint and emissions.
Reducing waste production and preventing water, air, land, and noise pollution.
Thoroughly planning the building’s entire lifecycle, from design, construction, and operation to maintenance, renovation, and demolition, with a strong focus on the building’s impact, both on the environment and people. Globally, several localized green building certification systems operate independently, showcasing and comparing the environmental performance of buildings. In the United States, buildings must conform to LEED requirements to qualify as “green,” while in the UK, green building standards are stipulated by the Building Research Establishment Environment Assessment Method.
Why Is Green Building Important?
Climate change has become a significant concern all over the world, making itself felt with increasing frequency and voracity in the form of adverse weather events and natural disasters like droughts, floods, and wildfires.
In addition to being a major contributor to global emissions, the construction industry is a huge drain on natural resources. Sustainability is becoming increasingly important for construction teams, driven chiefly by raised expectations of both clients and the public.
Professionals working across all aspects of the global construction industry have seen an increased emphasis on sustainable practices, where a “business as usual” attitude is simply no longer acceptable. In recent years, an unprecedented number of natural disasters have pricked the public consciousness, triggering increased demands for a transition to sustainability. When you look a little closer at green buildings, the benefits for all involved, from the designers to the building’s occupants, become clear.
As construction technology has advanced and supply chains for green construction materials have become more robust, green building design and construction costs have reduced significantly. Meanwhile, green building owners are seeing as much as a 10 percent uplift in asset value, providing a big incentive for both investors and developers. Green buildings also deliver substantial operating cost savings, a major concern for both businesses and homeowners with energy prices at an all-time high.
UKGBC was created with the mission of radically improving the sustainability of the built environment, transforming the way it is designed, planned, constructed, operated, and maintained. In the UK, the organization is pioneering a built environment that enables building occupants—and the planet—to thrive by:
Adapting to and mitigating climate change.
Promoting biodiversity and restoring and embracing nature.
Maximizing resource efficiency and eliminating waste.
Creating long-term value and improving quality of life.
Optimizing the wellbeing and health of building occupants. UKGBC is striving to make sustainable development second nature. We need a unanimous agreement between leading scientists to halve emissions by 2030 and keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. UKGBC’s seven key goals by 2025 are:
UK national and devolved policy frameworks demonstrably evolve to reflect critical priorities highlighted by UKGBC.
Local authorities develop progressive built environment policies and plans that demonstrate best practices, providing signposts for national policy improvement.
Governments initiate a progressive sector-wide public estate procurement and decarbonization plan, translating existing targets into delivery.
Businesses cultivate leadership mindsets, taking practical action to achieve ambitious, science-based commitments.
Consistent metrics and standards for built assets are developed and followed, and the cost of carbon is increasingly factored into financing and investment decision-making.
Collaboration develops between professionals and businesses across the UK and the value chain, identifying and formulating solutions to key challenges and defining and adopting best practice guidance.
Competencies and skills increase to accelerate transformative change in the construction industry.
Several resources are available on the UKGBC website, including the Whole Life Carbon Roadmap, an agreed action plan for achieving net zero in the construction, operation, and demolition of buildings and infrastructure.