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The Road to Green Sky…

April 2016

In the run up to our Green Sky Thinking event ‘Bridging the Zero Carbon Void’ (have we mentioned we’re hosting an event on Thursday?) we have released a series of blogs to provide a bit of background information. You don’t need me to tell you that – you’ve been engrossed, constantly refreshing the XCO2 blog page, I know.

But just in case you missed it – this is what we’ve been blogging about ahead of our event in order to set the scene on the void in zero carbon policy.

Dave’s dodgy decisions

We kicked off by kicking off about the closure of the Zero Carbon Hub, for which we wholeheartedly blamed the government. This slotted in neatly to the degenerative trend of disappearing environmental policy, and led us to a hearty critique of the shortcomings of the latest Housing SPG.

The outcome of this is evident. The building industry needs an evolution in standards to improve environmental performance. But how does one facilitate a rapid evolutionary change? Do we wait for the Government to U-turn and start releasing policies that will actually benefit the green building industry, or should we, the industry, be the drivers of regulatory change itself?

A Zero-Carbon Tardis

From there, we’ve travelled in time: back 50 years and zooming to the present day, analysing the changing onus on green buildings within industry policy in the last half century. This analysis has suggested to us that when it comes to implementing successful policy, local lasts longer. Regulations such as the Merton Rule and the London Plan have achieved far more in terms of long-term industry influence that Government-driven policies such as Zero Carbon Homes or the Green Investment Bank, both of which were scrapped before reaching full potential. So how do we apply these lessons in future?

Future vision setting?

If historical precedent is used as a basis for our decision making, it makes sense for local authorities to be leading on regulatory change for the ‘greening’ of buildings. And given the currently unfavourable political circumstances for anything remotely pro-planet, we believe that industry lobbying and alliances are our most important tool for implementing change on a local or regional level.  Talk of alliances furthers the question: does the industry need leadership to unite efforts and create a concentrated laser-beam force of change? Or are we on the right track with dozens of devolved, expert-led separate organisations?

Questions galore, and answers… not sure

On Thursday evening we’ll be unravelling these issues in greater detail, and exploring the options that are available in terms of drivers towards industry-led regulatory change. We’ll be talking operational targets, such as the Australian NABERS scheme which has raised performance standards for the past ten years and been implemented across the entire property market. We’ll be talking incentives and quality marks – the carrot or the stick? And we’ll contextualise this within today’s political climate – how will changes to the London Mayor, and even the ‘Brexit’ campaign impact our future policy options?

The keystone of our understanding thus far is that a policy void exists and must be filled. The building blocks of solutions however, are yet to be constructed. Our ultimate conclusion is this: our industry must come together, to share knowledge and carve a future path for improved building performance in the fight against climate change.

You can play your part by joining the debate. Come along to our Green Sky Thinking event on Thursday (book your ticket here!) to watch and contribute to discussion on how we can fill this policy void alongside our panel of industry experts. We look forward to having you join us.

Thursday 28th at 6.30pm, Crypt on the Green, Clerkenwell.

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