Supporting and driving the sustainability of Scotland’s built environment sector will be the key aim of a new permanent Scottish presence of the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC), announced today.

UKGBC Scotland will be officially launched at an event inside the Blue Zone at COP26 in Glasgow this morning (Thursday, 4 November), with guest speakers including Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights, Patrick Harvie MSP.

The new Scottish network of UKGBC will develop a programme focussed on the progressive Scottish policy environment and industry sectors, with scope to respond to the unique needs and opportunities posed by Scottish Government’s ambitious targets for the transition to a Net Zero built environment by 2045, five years ahead of the UK-wide target.

Established in London in 2007, UKGBC is a charity and an industry-led network of 600+ members who collectively see the built environment sector as a critical solution to the climate and ecological crises.

Julie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive at UKGBC said: “Today’s announcement of the launch of UKGBC Scotland fulfils our longstanding ambition to establish a permanent network here, building upon the strong base of sector support which already exists. We’re extremely proud to be able to launch against the backdrop of COP26 and highlight the critical role the built environment plays in the transition to Net Zero.”

Hirigoyen continued: “UKGBC Scotland will translate our mission to radically improve the sustainability of the built environment to the specific political, market, socio-economic, and physical built assets in Scotland, and accelerate the transition to a net zero carbon built environment here. We are here to support and represent the progressive voices spanning the entire built environment value chain in Scotland.”

Zero Carbon Housing Minister Patrick Harvie said: “Scotland’s Heat in Buildings Strategy sets out the pathway for cutting greenhouse gas emissions from our homes and buildings by more than two thirds by 2030. Our ambition is significant, and rightly so given the urgent action that is required if we are to stand a chance of limiting warming to under 1.5 degrees.”

“This is a huge transition, affecting communities, businesses and households all across Scotland and we must all work collaboratively to deliver it. I therefore warmly welcome UK Green Building Council’s intention to establish a permanent presence in Scotland. Their expertise will be invaluable as we work with the sector to deliver cleaner, greener, buildings for the people of Scotland.”

UKGBC Scotland will hold launch events in Glasgow this evening and Edinburgh on Monday, while it has already appointed its first permanent member of staff to be based in Scotland.

The new network will convene a diverse membership of built environment organisations, while enabling an accelerated transition to a more sustainable built environment by developing regionally specific guidance, showcasing Scottish solutions, and stimulating Scottish innovation.

UKGBC Scotland will also advocate for change by calling for ambitious commitments, stronger standards, and progressive policy, building on the work already being done in Scotland and acting as a nexus to draw together the areas of excellent best practice across the country.

New UKGBC Scotland member David MacInnes, energy manager at HFD Energy, said: “We are proud to be a founding member of the UKGBC Scotland Network – sustainability is at the heart of what we do across our group of companies. Through joining UKGBC Scotland, with its clear focus on the Scottish built environment sector, we aim to lay the foundations to share and implement best practice within our buildings, educate our staff and tenants on energy in the built environment, while aligning with the UKGBC’s roadmap to Net Zero. We are committed to providing energy efficient property that helps our occupiers meet their own targets for sustainability, as well as delivering on our pledge to operate at Net Zero.”

Stephen Good, Chief Executive at Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) said: “The launch today of UKGBC Scotland presents a fantastic opportunity for Scotland’s built environment ecosystem to connect into the wider UKGBC, and global GBC community, and CSIC is really proud to be a partner in this endeavour. At CSIC our mission is to accelerate the built environment’s transition to net zero. We’re supporting some of Scotland’s most ambitious businesses who are leading that charge, and combining our efforts with the team at UKGBC Scotland will undoubtedly help us accelerate this mission.”

The UKGBC Scotland launch event can be attended online via the Multilevel Action Pavilion at COP26 on Hopin, a virtual conference platform at 11.30am on Thursday, 4th November: