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UK behind Europe in property sustainability

Monday 26th September 2011
The UK property sector trails the rest of Europe in adopting sustainable practices, although steady improvements are being made in the industry and RICS is working with government to accelerate the process.

The RICS Sustainability Index, contained in the Green Gauge report puts the UK in fourth place, with a rating of 53%, behind Canada (74%), Continental Europe (65%) and Australasia (64%). With an increasing focus on energy efficiency and environmental issues, mainland Europe has now overtaken the UK in the index.

In a bid to encourage greater adoption of sustainable practices in the property industry, RICS is leading on six areas of the UK Government's Low Carbon Construction Action Plan. RICS will be covering issues such as the Green Deal, the use of the Ska Rating tool, embodied carbon measurement and Building Information Modeling (BIM).

Interestingly, RICS Green Gauge report found the biggest driver of sustainability is the growing demand from business, as environmental awareness and responsibility become increasingly central to organisations and their operations.

Two-thirds (65%) of respondents to the report also stated that they had seen an increase in client demand for sustainability-based services, such as products and advice on sustainable design and construction measures.

The research also revealed that sustainable practices are becoming increasingly vital to the global property industry. Some 98% of respondents claimed that sustainability is relevant to their core business area, while the four most important issues to the property industry were energy efficiency, waste management, energy supply and transport issues.

Martin Russell-Croucher, RICS Director of Sustainability and Special Projects, said: "While the UK has fallen behind Continental Europe in the sustainability index, this should not mask the fact that inroads are being made by the property industry across the country. RICS is currently leading on a series of issues, in light of the government's Low Carbon Construction Action Plan, which aims to help establish the UK as a world leader in sustainable construction and refurbishment.

"We are leading the investigation into the issue of embodied carbon, BIM, the Green Deal and the Ska Rating tool. We will also be working closely with the construction and property industries and the Government to deliver in these areas. "

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Mike Jones

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