The State of Sustainability in the UK Built Environment

An ambitious project to help the industry understand the overall sustainability of the built environment.
The State of Sustainability in the UK Built Environment_Web Bann

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September 28, 2017

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Research & Innovation

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UKGBC’s vision for a sustainable built environment focusses on five key areas:

To mark UKGBC’s tenth anniversary, we set out our Ambitions for 2027. Integral to these is our commitment to work with others to collate data and evidence that indicates the progress being made towards our vision in the UK, and clarifying how much further there is to go.

This series of infographics is our first attempt at doing this. We have collated the most robust and reliable data that already exists for each of the five themes covered by our vision, and brought this to life in a series of infographics.

Some important observations:

  • The underlying datasets vary according to scope, time periods, and methodology. Special care should be taken when comparing them against one another.
  • We have selected performance related metrics only. We have not sought to include examples of actions taken by leading businesses in the sector.
  • Some indicators reflect only the more sustainable projects including samples related to GRESB, Better Building Partnership (BBP), BREEAM etc. This is not representative of the industry at large.
  • Reliable data remains challenging to access, but new technologies (eg satellite mapping, open data etc) have made the task easier than it would have been 5 years ago.
  • UKGBC has not conducted any verification or assurance of the data included in this report. We have referenced all data sources and refer readers to these for more information on research methodologies and accuracy predictions.

This report is not intended to be fully comprehensive. We recognise that the state of sustainability for the entire built environment is even more complex. But we hope it will serve to flush out further evidence where this exists, and highlight those areas where more research is needed.

The contribution of the UK built environment to each of the themes covered by our vision varies. But one thing is clear: the UK property and construction sector has a long way to go before it can be considered sustainable. This report highlights the sheer scale of the challenges we face, and the urgency with which these need to be tackled.  We call upon all those responsible for the creation and maintenance of the built environment to join our mission, and start taking action.

Click the icons below to view each infographic.

This project was made possible thanks to a group of organisations contributing data and expertise to the project.

UKGBC has not conducted any verification or assurance of the data included in this report. Each infographic segment is hyperlinked to the location of the source data and we refer readers to these for more information on research methodologies and accuracy predictions. A full list of references is available here.

UKGBC would like to thank:

  • arup
  • BBP logo
  • bre
  • CCC
  • CIE-MAP
  • GVA
  • iTree
  • jll
  • UniversityofLeeds
  • NextGeneration
  • SustainableHomes