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Today the Building team launches the first episode in our new Building Talks podcast series focusing on the issue that has risen to the top of the agenda in recent months: net zero carbon.

Now that we are just days from the COP26 climate change conference, there is a definite feeling that attention is on saving the planet like never before.

Our podcast launch comes at a pivotal moment – last week the government finally published its long-awaited Heat and Buildings Strategy and its Net Zero Strategy. So during this first Building Talks episode we get stuck into analysing the significance of these documents and crucially what is still missing from government policy.

The podcast also features an interview with new RIBA president and co-founder of AHMM Simon Allford, which took place at the RIBA’s central London offices. Allford is planning to attend COP26 to spread the word about the RIBA’s just published Built for the Environment report, which it produced in partnership with Architects Declare, so net zero is very much at the forefront of his mind.


Source: Jean Goldsmith

Simon Allford talking to Elizabeth Hopkirk

Listening to him you really pick up that he is optimistic that the construction industry can have a hugely positive impact on the carbon agenda, but he believes it will not come without a lot of hard work and engagement with clients.

He is also keen to challenge the industry, saying professionals – and he doesn’t just mean architects – need to wake up to the fact that if they do not drive down carbon their buildings will become useless and without value.

He raises a whole series of questions. Which construction materials should we use? How do architects keep up with pace of change? How do all built environment professionals share best practice and learn from failures? Is retrofit best or do new buildings with a long life, loose fit and low energy have an equal importance?

Perhaps rather than an optimist, Allford is best described as a realist because he provides no easy answers to these questions. Listening to him you realise he sees the complexity surrounding net zero targets and knows that easy assumptions or sweeping statements will not help professionals reach them.

Building Talks net zero podcast

Cundall’s Simon Wyatt talking to Building’s editor Chloe McCulloch and Building Design’s assistant editor Elizabeth Hopkirk at Cundall’s offices in central London

This week we also introduce another Simon: Simon Wyatt, who is a partner at Cundall and also our net zero jargon-buster for this series of Building Talks. In our first episode he takes aim at firms and projects that claim to be net zero carbon when in fact they are merely carbon neutral. If you don’t know the difference, listen up.

We hope you enjoy this first episode. We certainly enjoyed producing it. Having launched our Countdown to Cop26 series at the start of the year, it feels right to be having these important conversations in a podcast format in the lead up to and during the conference itself.

You can hear the episode 1 of the podcast by clicking on the player below, but if you wish to subscribe so you receive each podcast in the series when they are released every Monday then go to one the main podcast providers such as Spotify and Apple.

To get in touch with the show – and to ask Simon Wyatt to explain some net zero jargon in the next episode - go to:

Twitter: @BuildingNews