In a couple of weeks, the world’s leaders will arrive in Copenhagen to negotiate a deal to limit global carbon emissions

For the construction industry this could have a big effect on the way it does business: the built environment is the principal cause of carbon emissions in the developed world, so any solution to the problem of reducing carbon will involve changes to the way it does business. However, you don’t have to turn many pages of this supplement to see the strides the industry has made already. Even in these tough economic times it’s clear that sustainability is no longer an add-on but deeply embedded in the make-up of the companies that entered these awards.

Our judges had their work cut out picking winners, particularly in the Large Project of the Year category, where eight made it onto the shortlist. The eventual winner was Bennetts Associate’s Elizabeth II Court in Winchester, because this project showed the potential for transforming energy guzzlers into the sort of low-energy offices that people want to work in.

The first Sustainable Consultant of the Year award went to Atelier Ten, which has built up an enviable reputation for smart green design in the UK and overseas, and concrete specialist Byrne Bros scooped the award for Sustainable Contractor of the Year.

But these awards are not just about the design and construction process; they are also about the clients that are often the driving force behind the environmental ambitions of many projects, and the product manufacturers that invest in research and development that provides the kit that make many energy efficiency measures possible.

And it’s not just about the industry’s big names, either; smaller firms and the achievements of individuals are also recognised in the Small Project and Leadership categories.

So, congratulations to the winners, and thank you to all who entered: your achievements continue to make these awards a showcase for sustainable excellence.

Denise Chevin, editor, Building