Everyone will have to play their part if we are to hit the net zero target, says Colin Wood


The built environment is one of the biggest challenges to achieving net zero carbon emissions. We need an evolution in building design to scale up the transition to a net zero carbon and climate-positive built environment. This requires the collective expertise of our industry.

Our big idea is ScopeX, whereby we are committing to design out up to 50% of the carbon in our projects going forward. We are starting with some demonstration projects and basket of tools and dashboards to support the embedding of this across our engineering community.

We don’t just engineer structures, projects and systems – engineering out carbon is part of our DNA too.

When we look at our built environment on a wider scale, we cannot underestimate the impact retrofit can make. Here we need to ensure that we get the basics right. For example, when it comes to the UK’s existing domestic housing stock, insulation is critical.

There is no substitute for the basic first step which is to make sure the home is insulated as much as possible, meaning that any new interventions – such as solar panels or heat pumps – will function so much better.

The scale of the challenge requires everyone to play their part, bringing their best skills and talent to the table. It is our industry that will need to provide many of the solutions to rapidly support clients and communities on their journeys to net zero. Without doubt, the greatest impact will be felt through our collaborative and widespread action.

Colin Wood is chief executive of Aecom Europe


Ideas for positive change


This is part of our Countdown to COP26 coverage in the lead up to the world climate conference in Glasgow in November. We will be publishing more big ideas about ways to tackle the climate emergency over the coming weeks and you can find more here.

Do please send us your own thoughts about how to make construction greener! Email us, using the subject line “COP26 ideas”, at newsdesk@assemblemediagroup.co.uk