2020: it’s the start of a New Year and a new decade. Over the past 10 years, the industry has made huge strides in its approach to sustainable design. The last 12 months have seen unprecedented changes in policy, regulation, technology and consumer choice. We’re now creating greener buildings than ever before and implementing wellbeing principles with the end-user at the heart of our designs.

But there’s still a long way to go if we’re to achieve net zero carbon and a built environment where the human experience is prioritised over cost…

Anna Tsartsari, Director

‘True sustainability’ is not an ‘end goal’; it is a continuous journey. A journey that can be improved and developed through advances in technology and a cultural shift in the industry’s approach to wellbeing design.

The last 10 years have seen some incredible technological advances. We’re now working more efficiently and delivering more energy efficient buildings than ever – thanks to new tech, BIM modelling and modern methods of construction (MMC).

At the same time, we’re efficiently using this tech to enable a return to the simpler things in life. A return to nature, to green spaces and a focus on quality experiences through meaningful connections developed in spaces that truly feed the soul. We want to be able to connect to our surroundings through a built environment driven by biophilic design principles with wellbeing being prioritised

A ‘return to nature’ isn’t just a passing trend, it’s here to stay. If the industry is to continue to thrive, we need to see a marked cultural shift in how we approach projects. It is all about People; what ‘wellbeing’ really means to office workers, homeowners and shoppers.

Charlotte Booth, Associate Director of Sustainability & Wellbeing

2019 has been a watershed year. The climate emergency is now acknowledged and there is extensive support for the transition to a Zero Carbon economy.

To ensure we are on track to meeting the UK climate change targets, by 2030 all new buildings must operate at Net Zero. This means that by 2025 all new buildings will need to be designed to meet these targets. With that in mind, we have 5 years to embrace this change and become fully prepared so that Zero Carbon becomes the norm by 2025.

In order to do this, we also need to tackle whole-life (embodied) carbon emissions. Although the UK has demonstrated a 40% emission reduction over 1990’s levels, globalisation has, in many cases, simply led to the displacement of our emissions to other countries. Therefore globally, emissions have not reduced.

Over the next decade we will see a drive towards a fully circular economy, demanding responsibility taken for the whole supply chain. Collaboration, sharing research and educating our clients and supply chain partners, is essential and the only way to bring about real change. We must act now.

See more about our services and our sustainability offering here.