Construction leaders make a case for cutting emissions


More than 50 businesses leaders from the construction industry have written an open letter to Chancellor George Osborne, outlining the business case for cutting emissions…

Energy used to construct and operate homes and buildings accounts for over a third of the UK’s total emissions. Over the last few years there has been a significant push to reduce the amount of emissions given off by buildings.

In a bid to highlight the “major economic opportunity” offered by cutting emissions from the built environment, more than 50 business leaders from the construction sector published an open letter to the Chancellor George Osborne.

In the letter, the leaders said there is a “remarkable degree of consensus” surrounding the business case for tackling emissions.

The letter stated: “Energy used in the construction and operation of homes and buildings accounts for over a third of the UK’s total emissions.

“Yet our sector offers cost-effective carbon reductions which are not only compatible with ongoing economic recovery and deficit reduction, but present a major opportunity for economic growth.”

The group added the main focus for improvement should be on energy efficiency. This would not only create thousands of jobs for small businesses, but would also strengthen international competitiveness, and reduce energy costs for householders.

One of the organisations that co-ordinated the letter was the UK Green Building Council, which has given significant support to pushing the green construction agenda.

Chief Executive Julie Hirigoyen commented on the letter, stating: “Business leaders already recognise the importance of bold energy efficiency and carbon reduction targets – not simply because they’re the right thing to do, but because they generate real commercial value for their businesses.

“The new Government has a golden opportunity to put cost effective carbon reductions from buildings at the heart of its economic plan.

“Ambitious, long-term policies would drive major economic growth and job creation, reduce energy bills for homes and businesses, and strengthen the UK’s energy security. This is a win-win-win for people, the environment and the economy.”

The letter also said it was important the Conservative manifesto had shown significant support for the Climate Change Act, but added it was also vital energy efficiency was recognising as a national infrastructure priority.

The full letter reads:

Dear Chancellor,

Congratulations on your recent electoral success and appointment as first secretary of state. As the leaders of businesses and industry groups from across the construction, retrofit and property sectors, we have come together to demonstrate the remarkable degree of consensus that exists on the economic benefits of reducing carbon emissions from the built environment.

Energy used in the construction and operation of homes and buildings accounts for over a third of the UK’s total emissions. Yet our sector offers cost-effective carbon reductions which are not only compatible with ongoing economic recovery and deficit reduction, but present a major opportunity for economic growth.

Building energy efficiency stimulates economic activity, strengthens our international competitiveness and creates thousands of jobs across the UK, mostly with small local businesses. It lowers costs for businesses and householders, and reduces the burden on the NHS. And as a more cost effective means of meeting demand than building new generating capacity, it is also crucial in safeguarding our energy security.

We strongly welcome the commitments in the Conservative Manifesto to support the Climate Change Act and to push for a strong global climate deal in Paris later this year. But to continue to stimulate investment and innovation in building energy efficiency, the Government will need ambitious, long term policies which provide a clear trajectory for our sector:

– Recognise energy efficiency as a national infrastructure priority and allocate infrastructure funds to catalyse a national programme to bring all UK homes up to EPC band C
– Deliver on the commitment for all new homes and all new non-domestic buildings to be zero carbon from 2016 and 2019 respectively, with practical and robust ‘Allowable Solutions’ encouraging low and zero carbon community energy solutions
– Ensure that Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards for the commercial and private rented sector from 2018 are effectively enforced, with adequate support available for Local Authorities and exemptions kept to a minimum where practical
– Outline how the Government intends to meet the third and fourth carbon budgets, and introduce an ambitious fifth carbon budget, in line with the recommendations from the Committee on Climate Change
We would welcome the opportunity for a small number of our businesses to discuss these issues with you in person.

Yours sincerely

Julie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive, UK Green Building Council

Joanne Wade, Director, Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE)

Signatures include:  

Julie Hirigoyen – Chief Executive, UK Green Building Council

Joanne Wade – Director, Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE)

Keith Exford – Chief Executive, Affinity Sutton

Pat Ward – Chief Executive, Aggregate Industries UK

Matt Pullen – Country Director, AkzoNobel UK

Nick Molho – Executive Director, Aldersgate Group

Gary Newman – Executive Chair, Alliance for Sustainable Building Products

David Partridge – Managing Partner, Argent (Property Development) Services LLP

Tristram Carfrae – Deputy Chairman, Arup

John Hughes – Managing Director, Ask Property Developments

Patrick Bellew – Principal, Atelier Ten

Graham Cash – Chief Executive, BAM Construct UK

Mark Clare – Group Chief Executive, Barratt Developments

Rab Bennetts – Director, Bennetts Associates

Sarah Ratcliffe – Programme Director, Better Buildings Partnership

Malcolm Whetstone – Chief Operating Officer, Bilfinger GVA

Nicolas Guérin – Managing Director, Bouygues Development

Peter Bonfield – Chief Executive, BRE

Richard Francis – Chairman, Environmental Sustainability Group, British Council for Offices

Edward Cooke – Director of Policy and Public Affairs, British Council for Shopping Centres

Melanie Leech – Chief Executive, British Property Federation

Helen Dickinson – Director General, British Retail Consortium

Hamish Macleod – Director of Public Affairs, BSW Timber

David Dryden – Chairman, Cundall

Alan Somerville – Director, Head of Strategic Energy and Sustainability EMEA, DTZ

Tony Cocker – Chief Executive Officer, E.On UK

Ed Matthew – Director, Energy Bill Revolution

John Craggs – Deputy Chief Executive, Gentoo Group

Peter Connolly – Chief Executive, Igloo Regeneration

Rob Boogaard – Chief Executive, Interface

Mark Stupples – UK Chief Operating Officer, JLL

Dave Sheridan – Chief Executive, Keepmoat

Richard Gillies – Chief Sustainability Officer, Kingfisher

John Sinfield – Managing Director, Knauf Insulation Northern Europe

Cyrille Ragoucy – Chief Executive, Lafarge Tarmac

Bill Hughes – Head of Real Assets, Legal & General Property

Dan Labbad – Chief Executive Officer, International Operations, Lend Lease

Bill Rumble – Chief Commercial Officer, Mark Group

Mike Barry – Director of Sustainable Business, Marks and Spencer

Donald Daw – Joint Managing Director, Mitsubishi Electric Living Environmental Systems UK

Gill Payne – Director of Policy and External Affairs, National Housing Federation

Sunand Prasad – Senior Partner, Penoyre & Prasad

Gill Webber – Director of Communications & Outreach, RIBA

Peter Rickaby – Director, Rickaby Thompson

Peter Hindle – Senior Vice-President, Sustainable Habitat, Saint-Gobain, and General Delegate, Saint-Gobain (UK, Ireland and South Africa)

David Sleath – Chief Executive, Segro

Ivo Schaedler – General Manager, Sika

Tony Aikenhead – Director of Operations, Sir Robert McAlpine

Dave Sowden – Chief Executive, Sustainable Energy Association

John Carter – Chief Executive, Travis Perkins Group

Tim Cobbold – Chief Executive Officer, UBM

Lindsay Harvey – President (UK and Ireland), UTC Building & Industrial Systems

Alex Flach – Construction and Maintenance Director, Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants

Rob Lambe – Managing Director, Willmott Dixon

Neil Schofield – Head of External Affairs, Worcester Bosch


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