The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has today launched a series of online infographics designed to profile ‘The State of Sustainability in the UK Built Environment’. The specially commissioned project provides an accessible overview of the industry’s sustainability performance and impact across five priority areas:

  • Climate change
  • Resource use
  • Nature and biodiversity
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Socio-economic impact

With input from wide-ranging stakeholders, including a significant number of UKGBC’s own members such as Arup, BRE and University of Leeds, the project has brought existing datasets together alongside some data that was previously unpublished.

UKGBC views the project outputs as an important step in clarifying the scale of the sustainability challenge facing the built environment industry. As the organisation embarks on its second decade, it calls for all built environment professionals to take responsibility for making positive and transformational change happen.

Stand out stats include:

  • 22% of UK carbon emissions come from the operational and embodied carbon of the built environment
  • 10% of UK carbon emissions come from heating buildings alone
  • 3.2 million homes are in areas at risk of flooding from surface water
  • Waste from construction, demolition and excavation represents 59% of the total UK waste
  • Since 1970 56% of monitored species in the UK have declined
  • The health effects of particulate air pollution cost the UK around £16 billion per year
  • 11% of occupied homes in England are in serious disrepair

The landmark series was launched at UKGBC’s largest ever event, with over 400 built environment professionals in attendance to celebrate the charity’s 10th year of operation. In addition to the ‘State of Sustainability in the UK Built Environment’ project launch, guests also witnessed the unveiling of a new brand identity for UKGBC and heard from David Partridge, Managing Partner of Argent LLP, who takes over as Chair of UKGBC’s Board of Trustees. The event was made possible thanks to the generous support of sponsors: Atelier Ten, Barratt Developments, BRE, Kingspan, Landsec and The Crown Estate.

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.”

David Partridge, Newly Appointed Chair of the Board of Trustees at UKGBC and Partner at Argent LLP, said:

“The property and construction industry in the UK has come a long way towards embedding sustainable practices in the ten years since UKGBC was founded. But we must go much further.

“UKGBC is committed to helping the industry to work together for a better built environment. We call upon all those responsible for the creation and maintenance of the built environment to join our mission, and start taking action.”


Notes to editors

The State of Sustainability in the UK Built Environment project is available to view online here.

Full summary of UKGBC AGM business:

UKGBC today announced the appointment of David Partridge as Chair of its Board of Trustees. David has a wealth of experience in the UK Built Environment and is currently Managing Partner at Argent LLP. He is credited with being one of the earliest champions of sustainability in the built environment and was instrumental in the placemaking approach taken at the flagship redevelopment of Kings Cross.

Further business at UKGBC’s AGM included the official election of David Partridge, Rick Willmott (CEO Willmott Dixon) and Alastair Bell (MD British Gypsum) as Trustees on the UKGBC Board. In addition, Claire Battles from Balfour Beatty joins Clarion Housing Group’s Alex Willey to fill the two positions reserved for alumni of UKGBC’s Future Leaders programme. Trustees stepping down after serving full terms are Atelier Ten’s Patrick Bellew and outgoing chair Andrew Gould, Principal at Genr8 Developments.


UKGBC is an industry-led network with a mission to radically improve the sustainability of the built environment.

A charity with over 400 member organisations spanning the entire value chain, we represent the voice of the industry’s current and future leaders who are striving for transformational change.

We inspire, challenge and empower our members, helping them to identify and adopt the most sustainable, viable solutions.

We also engage our members in advocating a progressive message to government, informing and influencing policy.