Ecobuild latest: Clients are still getting to grips with the green agenda, delegates told

Clients are getting to grips with sustainability but some still don’t know their own sustainability policy, according to architects and developers.

Speaking in a Q&A following an Ecobuild conference session on innovative design, architect Rab Bennetts, founder of Bennetts Associates, said some larger clients don’t know their own sustainability policies and rely on architects to explain them.

He said: “We’re finding bigger companies worry about recruitment. They’re being asked what their sustainability policy is and they have to have an answer.

“They sometimes don’t know and they ring up their architect and ask ‘what’s our sustainability policy?’”

However, he added that clients are “not hostile to sustainability” and said they are “very willing when you properly explain everything to them.”

Paul Williams, director at developer Derwent London, agreed clients are keen on improving their sustainability.

He said: “When I see some of our customers/tenants, sustainability is high on their agenda. For one client, for their sustainability tick list BREEAM was high up on the list.”

Also speaking at the conference was Lydia Dutton, project manager at developer Argent, who revealed that London mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith – who was attending a UKGBC event – said he is looking to follow the example of Bristol when it comes renewable energy in the built environment.

Answering a question on how renewables can help close the building performance gap, she said: “Zac Goldsmith said the leader of the city of Bristol has opened all of the roofs (of council-owned buildings) to renewable energy… with solar PVs.”

“I think that’s something that as a model might be able to be developed across the UK.”