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Last edited 06 Jan 2021
The State of Sustainability in the UK Built Environment
In September 2017, the UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) launched a series of online infographics - 'The State of Sustainability in the UK Built Environment' - which it suggests are an important step in clarifying the scale of the sustainability challenge facing the built environment.
The project has brought together existing datasets with previously unpublished data and input from wide-ranging stakeholders such as Arup, BRE and the University of Leeds. The aim of the infographics is to provide an accessible overview of the industry's sustainability performance and impact across five areas:
Some highlights of the statistics include:
- The operational and embodied carbon of the built environment amounts to 22% of UK carbon emissions.
- Heated buildings account for 10% of UK carbon emissions.
- 3.2 million homes are in surface water flood risk areas.
- 59% of the UK's total waste output is from construction, demolition and excavation.
- 56% of monitored species in the UK have declined since 1970.
- The annual cost of the health effects of particulate air pollution is £16 billion.
- 11% of occupied homes in England are in serious disrepair.
Julie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive at the UK Green Building Council, said:
“This series of infographics and insight has been produced in response to demand from UKGBC members for clarity and perspective on the journey ahead. I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve produced, but it’s not the whole picture: it’s clear that there’s a large amount of important data that simply isn’t being collected. In many cases, the data that does exist has so much variation in time and scope as to make direct comparisons very tricky.
“This project was designed to bring the data that is available to life, and in collaboration with experts, to highlight where we urgently need to either measure new aspects or take different actions to address the magnitude of the challenges we face.
“Now more than ever, our industry must show leadership and galvanise around some of these issues. We need bold and decisive action to make sustainable development truly second nature in the built environment.”
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