Building the green dream

In the latest edition of IEMA’s Transform, Amanda Williams, Head of Environmental Sustainability at CIOB argues a system-level review is needed to deliver a large-scale programme of retrofit for existing buildings. Failure to do so will risk missing net-zero targets.

The building and construction sector contributes significantly to climate change, accounting for about 21% of global greenhouse gas emissions. In 2022, buildings were responsible for 34% of global energy demand and 37% of energy and process-related carbon dioxide emissions, according to the UN’s latest Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction, released in March 2024.

The good news according to Amanda is that the construction industry is well positioned to make a significant contribution to this challenge. It is a diverse industry, with a wide range of knowledge and expertise, and well used to collaborating across disciplines. They know the industry must build for a sustainable future, because what is built today will shape our tomorrow, but there is also a large opportunity and pressing need to improve existing building stock.

Amanda’s article goes on to discuss the  urgent need for retrofit, and the challenges that mean the rate of retrofit is well below what is needed, and finally a call on government to adopt a national retrofit strategy for the UK.

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