Building sector should deliver 50% carbon cuts by 2020 (UK)

The UK can and must slash carbon emissions from the built environment by 50% by 2020, the UK Green Building Council said today, setting down a challenge to industry, the government and building occupiers – including householders.

In a speech to the industry body's annual conference [1], UK Green Building Council chief executive Paul King will urge the industry to recognize the role it can play in delivering on UK targets for carbon cuts by 2020 – cuts which look unlikely to be achieved elsewhere.

Although the Climate Change Act sets out a target of 34% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020, many scientists and pressure groups are now calling for 40% reductions. For that to be achieved, the built environment would have to take on a larger share of the burden.

His call is supported by the UK's biggest construction company Balfour Beatty and by international developers LendLease.

Paul King, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, said: "We drastically need to cut emissions from all sectors, but the built environment offers the best cost-effective opportunity to do that. We have the technology and the know-how in the industry, but we haven't managed to mainstream these yet. I do not underestimate the size of the challenge, but I believe that by working together with government, industry and building occupiers, we can deliver cuts of 50% by 2020. Taking on this challenge would create thousands of new jobs, boosting the UK economy and supporting our recovery. It would benefit business and consumers by reducing their energy costs while improving the comfort of our homes and buildings. And it would help the UK Government deliver on the commitments it has made and even go beyond those."

Mike Peasland, Group Managing Director of Balfour Beatty, said: "Government, private sector clients and developers, together with the whole supply chain have a collective responsibility to deliver a low carbon and sustainable built environment. Balfour Beatty is committed to a lead role in helping to align the interests of profitable markets with the needs of communities and living within environmental limits. The UK Green Building Council's call to action is an ambitious one, but that is how high we must set our sights."

Daniel Labbad, Chief Executive Office – Europe, LendLease, said: "This target is ambitious, but as a sector we have a responsibility to do as much as we can to deliver on it. The property industry has the potential to make significant cost effective reductions in carbon emissions. To achieve this we need to drive innovation in the sector and increase industry collaboration on measurement and benchmarking in order to help drive performance."

Source: UKGBC

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