Build green and the profit will come

A sustainable building at Water’s Edge Visitor Centre near the Humber Bridge, designed by Gerard Bareham Architects (Image: Dreamstime/Neil Wraight)

The construction industry wants to build carbon free today – after yesterday’s UN report, it needs clear direction from government to make it happen, says David Hampton.

Just as everyone wants plastic free today, so too will everyone want carbon-free tomorrow. But truth is we don’t even have to wait until tomorrow, with top investment managers like L&G and leading pension funds asking for carbon-free today. Everybody wants carbon-free homes, buildings and built assets. Everyone that is, apart from those who are still heavily invested in the fossil-fuel past. They must be ignored now, for the future’s sake.

Landlords know greener offices attract higher premiums. Owners know greener buildings hold asset value. And occupiers demand better quality greener spaces.  Everyone wants carbon free. And here’s the thing. The construction industry is keen to deliver it too.

The industry is asking government for clear direction and bold targets. It is asking for smart and binding regulation. It is asking for the rules of the game to be crystal clear, from here to 2040.

No one wants to be told how to deliver solutions. But everyone needs to know that quality sustainable carbon free construction will be valued and is something our political leaders are fully and irredeemably committed to. For good. Not a political football, fad or passing fancy. But a binding clear commitment – that this is what our leaders want, and that it is what the people will get. 

The industry doesn’t want less red tape – it wants more, and better. It’s only the tabloid ‘red-tops’ (sponsored by old money from fossil-fuel lobby groups) that blame ‘red tape’ in an attempt to ‘free’ developers to carry on building yesterday’s plastic ‘ticky tacky’ disposable boxes when we could – together – be demanding efficient elegant durable and renewable eco-utopia today.

Everybody wants carbon free now. It’s time for government to lead, and industry to build. Build green and the profit will come.

David Hampton is founder of Champions for Earth and former chair of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) Sustainability Group.  

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  1. I don’t see why David is blaming Government and waiting for their “direction. Surely with all that the Construction industry has to offer in terms of technology, skills, range of resources, collaboration both nationally and internationally, why doesn’t he and all the other Construction professionals show how this can work in practice and put their money where their mouth is and show true leadership and innovation and lead from the front?

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