Haughey appeal

Construction sector urged to ‘trust the science’

Lord Haughey: ‘turn the conversation into action’

Property developer and entrepreneur Lord Haughey will tell delegates attending a construction industry conference next week that the sector must “trust the science” in the quest to make its processes and materials more climate-friendly.

In an address to a conference hosted by Construction Scotland Innovation Centre he will say the sector needs to take on board the wealth of evidence that already exists and “turn conversation into action”.

In comments ahead of the Attendees at the Built Environment – Smarter Transformation conference, Lord Haughey says: “There is a lot of noise at the moment about sustainability and zero carbon and many differing views on what the best approaches are.

“The fact is, great ideas already exist and have shown the industry what’s possible, but businesses need to start looking at the hard evidence to cut through some of that noise.

“During the pandemic we were asked to trust the science, and in the case of the climate crisis it should be no different. There is no silver bullet that’s going to come along in 10 or 20 years’ time and magically solve the challenges, we need to start acting now with the tools and technology already available to us. 

Critics have pointed to ‘over-development’ such as this new ‘residential’ road replacing a former country lane bordered by hedgerows (pic: Terry Murden)

“The industry needs to get on board with disruption and urgently turn conversation into action. It’s not just a technical journey, it’s cultural, social and political too, and we need to work together towards a common goal – without any conflicting commercial or political agendas. 

“As with any kind of change or transformation project, there will inevitably be discussions around costs; but it is becoming more and more achievable to build sustainable, zero carbon homes and buildings affordably. Developers need to be thinking in terms of the life-cycle costs of a project for them and for occupiers, the carbon cost, and the initial financial outlay.”

The one-day free event aims to bring together the key players from across the construction sector to shine a spotlight on some of the progress made since COP26, as well as discussing the challenges and opportunities that remain ahead of COP27. 

Sessions will cover accelerating the adoption of low carbon technologies, energy efficiency and a fabric first approach, policy wins and gaps, equipping the workforce and supply chain and creating social value through human capital.

Speakers and panellists include Scott McAulay, coordinator of the Anthropocene Architecture School; Damien Yates, chief executive of Skills Development Scotland; Fionna Kell, director of policy at Homes for Scotland; Mairi Spowage, director at the Fraser of Allander Institute; and Jon Bootland, chief executive of the Passivhaus Trust.

Stephen Good, CEO of CISC, said: “It’s no secret that to address the climate emergency the built environment needs to transform and that the pace of change needs to speed up significantly.

“This event is about bringing the whole community together to talk about what the route map looks like and how it can be applied across all building typologies, including housing, commercial property, industrial, infrastructure projects – both new build and retrofit – to make that happen. Every project from now on needs to deliver a positive impact for the environment.”

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