No one should underestimate the challenges of the sustainability agenda

This week we introduce the future leaders of an increasingly green built environment as we present our Top 50 Rising Stars in Sustainability. Take Rob Singleton, for example, a local authority planner who has retrained to obtain the skills required to implement the government’s multi-million pound retrofit programme - his only regret is that he didn’t do it sooner.Or Samantha Connelly, the Olympic Delivery Authority’s sustainability guru who is charged with delivering the greenest Games in a generation. Of course, these are the new generation of niche knowledge workers embracing an emerging sector. There is still a huge education programme required to equip the many managers, developers, tenants and construction professionals who will be working to help meet government and European carbon reduction targets. As we continually flag up in the pages of this magazine, the government’s messaging in this area has left a lot to be desired. But as we approach the Budget, initiatives such as the Green Deal, Part L revisions, partnerships with energy companies and nuclear development plans will finally take centre stage as part of a greener legal and regulatory framework. Not that any of this is going to be easy.Occupiers and tenants at the sharp end are going to need to acquire a huge amount of knowledge.

There is a risk of a fundamental disconnect between the actual performance of hi-tech operating systems and the proud boast of an Excellent-rated BREEAM building

In our news analysis this week, we provide a snapshot into the kind of knowledge that will be required. There you will find highlights of our 80-page Sustainability White Paper, which, billed as the definitive guide to the UK sustainability sector, is being launched by assistant editor Thomas Lane at Ecobuild next week. Complete with a survey of more than 250 construction professionals, the report reveals the fact that private occupiers of large-scale buildings often fail to navigate complex building system controls in order to optimise energy use. There is a risk of a fundamental disconnect between the actual performance of hi-tech operating systems and the proud boast of an Excellent-rated BREEAM building.

This danger must be met through a fundamental upskilling of everyone involved. Whether you view this as a challenge or an opportunity will depend on where you sit in that value chain, but one thing is for sure: if you’re not joining or supporting this growing army of newly skilled green advocates, you’ll soon be left behind.

Get ready for Ecobuild


Next week, more than 55,000 people are expected to land on London’s Excel for the annual gathering of Ecobuild, the leading sustainability event in the world that showcases more than 1,500 exhibitors and 1,000 speakers. During the event, in partnership with our parent company UBM Built Environment, Building will present a full programme of activities on our stand. We will host a Building 2012 and Government Construction Summit reception with a delegation from the Brazilian construction industry and Olympic 400m gold medallist Kriss Akabusi. We will showcase the construction of our new headquarters at 240 Blackfriars Road, SE1. And Ken Shuttleworth will present designs and a Lego model for what he calls “Bamboo City”, a community centre for Chinese charity China Children & Teenager Fund. We hope to see you there. For full details and timings click here.


Tom Broughton, brand director