No room for individual agendas in the race against climate change, says Lord Willie Haughey

Lord Willie Haughey

“THE construction sector needs to ‘trust the science’ and leave individual agendas at the door when it comes to the climate emergency”, Lord Willie Haughey has said ahead of an industry event designed to accelerate transformation across the built environment.

The Scottish businessman, philanthropist and property developer said that the sector must start looking at the wealth of evidence that already exists to prove the case for using more environmentally friendly building processes and materials, and put sustainability at the top of the agenda ahead of other priorities.

Attendees at the Built Environment – Smarter Transformation conference being hosted by Construction Scotland Innovation Centre at its Innovation Factory next week, will hear Lord Haughey’s take on how to address the transformation to net zero – one of the biggest challenges the sector has ever faced.

Lord Haughey said: “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.

“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 Built Environment – Smarter Transformation 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 later this year.

Hosted by former BBC broadcaster Clare English, 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.”

Free tickets for Built Environment – Smarter Transformation, taking place on Wednesday 27th April from 10am,can be booked now via:

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