The Forge Landsec

The Forge development was part of Landsec's drive to explore new methods of construction, Credit: Landsec


‘Future is in jeopardy’ | Landsec unveils ‘carbon manifesto’

The FTSE 100 developer has called on the UK government to strengthen building regulations to “support and accelerate our transition towards net zero”.

“[W]ithout turning targets into tangible results, the future, not only for our industry but for the world in which we operate, is in jeopardy,” Landsec said in a four-page strategy it called Our Carbon Manifesto. “Action is urgently needed today but it must also be sustained tomorrow.”

Calling carbon reduction a “moral and commercial imperative”, Landsec outlined its own progress in cutting carbon 70% by 2030. But while companies have a responsibility to cut emissions, the developer urged the government to take action to support industry action.

Landsec’s five “key asks” of the government are:

1. Align with industry best practice

The government should bring forward the Future Homes Standard and Future Building Standard to ensure that these are benchmarked against industry best practice. “It is important that we are aligned upon the baselines against which we should assess progress,” Landsec said.

2. Regulate embodied carbon

The government should require whole life carbon assessments to drive progress and hold the industry accountable.

3. Develop regulatory framework to enable use of sustainable building materials

A “fit for purpose” framework, Landsec argued, should include:

  • A statement of clarity on the safety of engineered structural timber
  • Ensuring that policy and guidance don’t become an impediment to reaching the UK’s net zero targets
  • Considering government-backed solutions to a lack of insurance available for timber buildings.

4. Develop a performance-based rating system

Alongside Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings, the government should introduce a system to measure in-use energy performance.

5. Introduce best practices in public procurement

By doing so, the government could “entrench” the use of low-carbon materials, methods and operations, setting baseline standards for the industry and addressing real estate’s aversion to risk. This would also help small and medium-sized businesses move towards sustainable building designs and operations, Landsec said.

Landsec was the first commercial real estate company to have a Science Based Targets Initiative-approved carbon reduction plan. The developer has since cut emissions by 52% compared to its 2013/14 baseline.

In the manifesto, Landsec said it would have to continue exploring “innovative new technologies” to help it decarbonise its portfolio.

Other goals included focusing on retention over redevelopment; exploring new methods of construction as it did at The Forge, which PlaceTech recently visited; and standardising materials so they can be reused in the future.

The manifesto said: “While we don’t yet have all the answers, we do believe that by being explicit in our targets, we can incentivise and support action across our industry.

“We believe that, with active engagement with and from government, we can drive a united approach that deliver the progress and outcomes required to protect the planet.”

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