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Published date: 2020/01


​Technological innovations and changes in workforce demands have influenced today’s built environment. However, one overriding keyword beats all of them when it comes to sheer impact, and that’s (you guessed it) sustainability. 

It seems like only yesterday that a recycling bin in the office was deemed forward-thinking. However, fast-forward to now, and building and facilities managers are continually evolving practices to ensure optimum efficiency. 


Things need to change to protect our planet. If we continue as we are now, CO2 emissions from buildings will increase 150 per cent by mid-century. 

The built environment is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and is also a major consumer of power and water. According to the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC), the construction sector uses more than 400 million tons of material each year, much of which is harming the environment. Additionally, a building should operate sustainably, so that it both increases the efficiency of its resource use while reducing the impact on the environment and human health.

Things Are Changing

A survey of more than 2,000 architecture, engineering, and construction professionals by Dodge Data & Analytics reported that 47 per cent of industry professionals expect more than 60 per cent of their projects to be “green” by 2021.

Research from TopLine Film reports that workers expect their employers to commit to better environmental policies and sustainability. 73 per cent of those workers are demanding that their workplace improve sustainability policies, and nearly a quarter claim they would refuse a job at an organisation with a poor sustainability record.

Also, investors are increasingly looking to be part of greener movements. The Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing found that 85 per cent of individual investors are interested in more sustainable options with climate change the top reason for investment.  

Is There A Disparity Between Demand And Implementation? 

The Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing report found that only half of respondents had “at least one sustainable investing activity.” And, the TopLine Film research found that 31 per cent of employees don’t think their workplace is sustainable from an environmental point of view. So, will the industry take more notice in 2020?

Small Changes, Big Visions

There are several changes that today’s organisations can incorporate to make a real difference long into the future. These include: 

  • Energy Analysis. Analysis of potential energy use and daylighting is crucial for any green building. For example, ensuring there’s as much natural light as possible throughout a building reduces the use of electricity for lighting. 

  • Smart Appliances. Energy-saving and self-sufficient appliances such as SmartGrid dishwashers, refrigerators and washing machines are a great way to increase building efficiency. 

  • Recycling. This is about more than a cardboard paper bin in the corner. For example, placing compost containers in a cafeteria/lunchroom can encourage people to think about food quantities and manage food waste. Also, encouraging staff to use recycled paper for note-taking can make them think twice about whether they really need it.

Bulbs. A quick and easy environmental hack is replacing standard incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or LED bulbs where possible. These use 75 per cent less energy than standard light bulbs while delivering the same light output - a no-brainer.


Download our look ahead to what 2020 will bring to the Built Environment and Facilities Management industries...