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In today's rapidly evolving world, the quest for sustainability has taken centre stage in virtually every industry. One area where this is particularly crucial is housing. In a recent virtual gathering, stakeholders from across the housing sector convened to discuss the intricacies of sustainable homes, shedding light on key challenges and potential solutions.

The Sustainable Homes Matrix is the third research paper from industry workgroups part of UKBCSD members, the South East Consortium. It’s a guide to building and maintaining sustainable homes that are fit for the future with residents in mind.

UKBCSD Sustainable Homes Advisor Michael David, shares four key themes that emerged from this  roundtable event.

1.Understanding Stock Condition

One of the primary hurdles highlighted during the meeting was the inadequacy of residential stock condition surveys. These surveys conducted infrequently, often prioritise financial asset valuation over operational intervention. In stark contrast, the commercial sector conducts surveys biannually, delving into the entire lifecycle of the properties. To pave the way for sustainable homes, there's a pressing need for housing providers to gain a nuanced understanding of their stock condition on a more regular basis. This entails moving beyond mere financial valuation to operational insights that drive meaningful interventions.

2.Empowering Retrofit Initiatives

Retrofitting existing homes plays a pivotal role in enhancing sustainability. The government's release of SHDF2.2, allocating a substantial £800 million, underscores the commitment to this cause. However, challenges persist, including gaps in supporting factors such as the supply chain, training, and skill development. Moreover, there's a pertinent question regarding the retrofit sector's aspiration to merely achieve a 'C' energy performance certificate (EPC) rating. Should the focus be on a few outstanding cases or elevating the majority to a commendable standard? These questions prompt a deeper exploration of how retrofit initiatives can be optimized to drive sustainable outcomes effectively.

3.Embracing Smart Maintenance

Central to the discussion was the concept of smart maintenance, encapsulated in a six-step program. While the technical aspects are crucial, it's imperative to prioritize the tenant's perspective. After all, a home isn't just a physical structure—it's a sanctuary where individuals seek comfort and security. Recognising the subjective nature of home experience, the discussion underscored the importance of tailoring maintenance programmes to accommodate diverse occupant needs. Furthermore, drawing insights from international examples, such as Norway's low-maintenance homes or Spain's and Portugal's innovative cooling solutions, can enrich smart maintenance strategies and fortify resilience against future climate challenges.

4. Shaping Sustainable Homes Policy

Beyond individual homes, sustainable housing policy must consider broader infrastructure considerations, including energy sources and district heating systems. While energy often dominates discussions, water sustainability emerged as a significant concern, with proportionally larger price increases than electricity. As stakeholders engage with policymakers, it's crucial to ensure that sustainability encompasses multifaceted dimensions beyond energy efficiency. This includes financial affordability, space standards, amenity space, and adherence to the Future Home Standard (FHS). Acknowledging the additional costs associated with FHS compliance, discussions must address how these investments translate into tangible benefits for homeowners and communities alike.

In essence, the Sustainable Homes Matrix meeting served as a catalyst for dialogue and collaboration, emphasising the imperative of collective action in fostering sustainable housing solutions. As stakeholders continue to navigate challenges and opportunities, the journey towards unlocking the full potential of sustainable homes promises to be both complex and rewarding.


Chris Skidmore MP has urged the UK to move "further and faster" in the global race to net zero - or risk falling behind.

Mr Skidmore, Chair of the Independent Government Review on Net Zero told an audience at the UKREiiF conference in Leeds: "This is the only game in town and the greatest economic opportunity of this decade if not this century.

"We risk falling behind. The cost of inaction is now so great.

"We are in a global net zero race where other countries recognise the opportunity not just of seeing net zero as a tool for tackling the climate crisis but seeing economic opportunity it provides."

Mr Skidmore, who was Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research when he signed the UK’s net zero pledge into law, published his Mission Zero report in January in which he warned politicians were failing to act quickly enough on the climate emergency.

His report contained 129 recommendations across key sectors including renewable energy, green finance, and the built environment.

Mr Skidmore was speaking today at the UK Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Beyond Net Zero pavilion on the third and final day of the conference.

He said it was vital to see net zero as "above all an opportunity" rather than a challenge, adding: "We need to move faster, we need to move further."

Mr Skidmore paid tribute to a new report, commissioned by UKBCSD, which found the UK could achieve £70bn of annual economic benefits by adopting an ambitious "beyond net zero" strategy.

The UK could become a net exporter of up to £17bn of clean energy every year, the report found.

"That is a fantastic vision to look at," said Mr Skidmore.

"But in order to achieve it we have to tackle barriers.

"We need to push further around ensuring net zero is mainstreamed into every institution, into our planning system, so that it becomes the new normal.

"We need a 'whole society' approach."

Mr Skidmore called for the UK to take a longer-term, more strategic approach to net zero, rather than planning around traditional government spending cycles.

And he said net zero could play a vital role in the levelling up agenda by placing "industries of the future [in places] that led the industries of the past".

In order do so, however, he said policy makers and industry had to take local communities with them on the journey.

"We can't simply impose net zero on communities that see it as threatening their way of lives," he said.

"We have to make the case: they will be warmer and richer through year-on-year savings."

Mr Skidmore warned against focusing only on the government's target of hitting net zero by 2050, warning it would fail to do so unless it took action now.

"The net zero clock is literally ticking," he said. "The consequences of delay will be that we fail."

Mr Skidmore said it was impossible for the UK to compete in a "subsidy war" with the USA.

But he said the UK could benefit from the USA's recent huge investments in clean technologies, through the Inflation Reduction Act - for example by exporting technologies and expertise.

"There is a real opportunity to create a green special relationship," he said.

The pavilion had earlier seen an early-morning keynote address by Caroline Norbury, CEO of Creative UK, on the importance of building investible, place-based and community-driven cities.

She spoke of the importance of creativity and how culture was central to everything that cities did.

The day's first panel session - chaired by Bradford Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe - featured Lorraine Cox, Creative Assets Manager of Creative Estuary; Simon Delahunty-Forrest, Assistant Director for Development Planning at Birmingham Council; and James Pitt, MD for Yorkshire and North East at Muse.

Mr Delahunty-Forrest said cities needed to be "bold" to bring in investment and make sure local communities felt involved and empowered to express their own creativity.

He said cities needed to continually evolve and adapt, adding: "If my city looks the same as it does today in five, ten, 15 years then we have failed."

The late-morning panel session focused on how Bradford was using culture as an economic driver after being named City of Culture for 2025.

The panel featured Kersten England, Chief Executive of Bradford Council; Dan Bates, Executive Director of Bradford 2025; Caroline Norbury; and Nicola Greenan, Head of Cultural Partnerships at Bradford Council.

Nicola Greenan explained that Bradford’s decision to bid to become UK City of Culture was part of their 10-year culture strategy which aims to create a long-term, sustainable cultural legacy for culture in Bradford.

Bradford also embedded the UN Sustainable Development Goals into their bid to become UK City of Culture for 2025.

As part of this they are going to invest into decarbonisation plans in the cultural sector.

A new report outlining how the UK could win a £70bn a year "prize" by leading the global charge to clean growth was launched at UKREiiF today.

The report, called "Sustainability Superpower" was commissioned by UKBCSD and written by former government economist Chris Walker. It was sponsored by industry partners Prologis and Inspired Plc.

The report presented two scenarios facing the UK: a "just enough" strategy in which it continued on its current course of near net zero by 2050, and a "beyond net zero" scenario in which it took the lead in the energy transition and maximised its potential in wind, solar, retrofit and other clean growth areas.

The "beyond net zero" strategy was forecast to bring £70bn in annual economic benefits, support 654,000 British jobs, and see the UK export £17bn of clean energy every year.

The report was launched by UKBCSD at the Beyond Net Zero pavilion on the second day of the UKREiiF conference in Leeds.

Speaking at the launch, Jason Longhurst, chairman of UKBCSD, said sustainable growth was now firmly in the economic and political mainstream.

"We have taken the language away from 'could we possibly deliver' and have started putting figures on it," he said. "We have gone beyond mere viability - it is now a competitive area and UK plc should be playing a role in that."

The pavilion also hosted a string of talks and panel sessions focused on innovation, opportunities, and challenges in "clean" construction.

The day began with a keynote address by Sir Andrew McAlpine.

That was followed by an early-morning panel session on understanding the total impact of projects in a net zero environment.

The session was introduced by Angela Blake, assistant director of Bradford Council, and featured Phil Hampshire and Anthony Davis, co-founders of 3ADAPT.

3ADAPT have been working with Keyland Developments on developing a model for "positive living".

The scheme involves better quantification to drive better, more sustainable growth in housing developments.

The mid-morning session - moderated by Chris Carr, chairman of the Federation of Master Builders - tackled issues around mainstreaming sustainable housing.

Panelists included Nigel Banks, R&D director at ilke Homes; Nicola Clayton, Business Development Director at Etopia Homes; and Sarah Chilcott, MD of Planning Portal.

The pre-lunch panel session focused on innovation. It was chaired by Professor Amir Sharif of the University of Bradford and featured Steve Gilley, Director of Infrastructure at the University of Bradford; Iain Jenkinson, Executive Director of Planning at CBRE; Stephanie Townley, partner at Addleshaw Goddard; and Joanne Hyde, Strategic Director for Corporate Resources at Bradford Council.

Introducing the session, Professor Sharif noted that Bradford was the leading university for providing AI programmes in the UK.

The afternoon began with a session asking how public and private sector partners could "pick up the pace" of change.

The panel consisted of Emma Harvey-Smith, Programme Director at the Green Finance Institute; Eleni Polychroniadou, co-founder of Sintali; Lydia Dutton of CBRE; David Willock, Managing Director for ESG and Finance at Lloyds Bank; and Anand Rajagopal of Phoenix Group.

Emma Harvey-Smith said: "The time for pure analysis has been and gone.

"We need to act now. We need to undertake actual projects. We needs innovative financial solutions, we need bankers to be speaking to their clients.

"You can't fatten a pig by weighing it."

David Willock stressed the need for flexibility, pointing out that different solutions were needed for different sectors.

He warned investors would have to adapt their attitude to risk appetite, adding that while there was "a lot of liquidity in the easy areas", it was other areas that needed investment.

Mr Rajagopal called for a more supportive regulatory system that allowed a more flexible investment approach among pension funds and insurers.

The final session, on building sustainable communities and creating value, looked at Springfield Village - the redevelopment of Springfield University Hospital. The site was a partnership between  Sir Robert McAlpine Capital Ventures and Kajima Partnerships and put world-class mental health facilities and well-being at the heart of a broader community, with a 32-acre park and 839 sustainable homes with a district heating system.

The chief executive of the UK Infrastructure Bank has called on investors to reconsider their approach to risk appraisal and commit more funds to the race to net zero.

John Flint, who will oversee the distribution of £22bn of public money to support infrastructure projects over the next eight years, admitted the country was "in a bit of a funk" due to adverse economic conditions.

But he said the UK had a clear strategy to get to net zero and a government with a "track record of delivery".

He called on private investors to play their part by "challenging return expectations" and taking a longer-term view of the value of sustainable infrastructure.

If they did, he said, the UK Infrastructure Bank stood ready to help, adding: "The money is there."

John Flint said the bank had so far committed just £2bn of the £22bn it was making available. But he admitted that even £22bn was a "tiny" amount in the context of the total spend that would be necessary to achieve net zero - and beyond.

What was missing, he said, was the "quantum of private finance" needed to effect permanent and rapid change.

John Flint called on potential private investors to meet the bank halfway in terms of the returns they expected from green infrastructure projects.

He was taking at a panel session in the Beyond Net Zero pavilion at UKREiiF, mediated by UKBCSD chairman Jason Longhurst.

The pavilion, whose sponsors include UKBCSD, has invited a string of high-profile public and private sector leaders to address key questions around the energy transition and sustainability.

John Flint was joined in his mid-morning session by Catherine Raw, MD of SSE Thermal; Andrew Farrimond, Infrastructure Sector Lead at Aviva Capital Partners; and Shavran Joshi, chair of planning at the City of London Corporation.

The late afternoon session, chaired by Tim Newns, Managing Director for Levelling Up at the Office for Investment, looked at the challenges and opportunities presented by the energy transition for real estate and the wider built environment.

Speakers included Simon Cox, senior VP and Head of Project Management at Prologis; Luba Nikulina, Chief Strategy Officer at IFM Investors; Alexa Culver, General Counsel at the Environment Bank; and Jules Pipe, London's Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration, and Skills.

The panel discussed critical issues including the limitations of the National Grid; the need to reform planning regulations in a way that encouraged development using sustainable materials and techniques; and the growing recognition that biodiversity was a critical factor in sustainable development.

The afternoon started with a session on driving potential in sustainable infrastructure.

The session was moderated by CBRE director Claire Weir and the panel included Simon Cox; Grant Findlay, board member at Sir Robert McAlpine; Joanne Patrick, Head of Sustainable Energy at Amber Infrastructure Group; and Xavier Brice, CEO of Sustrans.

Joanne Patrick stressed that investors were increasingly demanding higher standards of accountability, adding: "Gone are the days when you could greenwash".

She told delegates: "Investors getting more clever in their due diligence.

"They are looking for the industries that sit behind the construction industry to show they are also decarbonising."

Grant Findlay called for more collaboration and partnership in promoting sustainability solutions.

He said: "Partnership for me is a much more collaborative approach to how we solve the big issues

"One of the things that has caused the slow pace of doing better on sustainability is that for a long time we thought it could be a competitive advantage.

"We should be democratising those things that we think are solutions to lift all the boats, so that we are all doing better all the time.

"There is real value in collaboration."

In the final session of the day, Matthew Dowdeswell and Dr Harriet Kildahl of Inspired Plc talked about how new and existing buildings could be shaped to help achieve net zero.

They mentioned five key challenges in retrofitting existing buildings - which will make up 80 percent of all stock by 2050 - which were: data, planning, finance, implementation, and building users.


Bradford Council with its partners and communities, is taking forward ambitious plans for the transformation of the District and city centre.  Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council explains.

We are proud to be a member of  the UK Business Council for Sustainable Development UKBCSD and partner in the UKREIIF Beyond Net Zero Pavilion for the second year. We have much to showcase and promote throughout the three days and look forward making every contact and conversation count.

Gearing up to be the next UK City of Culture and Bradford 2025 is now attracting attention, private sector partnership and investors to the District. In partnership with West Yorkshire Combined Authority we've started to invest in key schemes including preparations for the 126 hectare Southern Gateway regeneration site. These are:

All this builds on the £50m Clean Air Zone (CAZ) and a privately-backed £40m 1Energy district heat network, which is now under construction.  Yorkshire Water and  Keyland are progressing the substantial Esholt site as an exemplar sustainable development scheme and expect to be onsite in 2024. We are committed to sustainable development: to effective regeneration, climate and environmental action that has real social and economic value. Our clean growth ambition is central to the delivery of a sustainable, inclusive and resilient economy that works for everyone.

To enhance the Council's ability to work positively with investors and the private sector we have made some key  senior level executive appointments. These include:

Through our regeneration plans and these changes in leadership we are seeking to transform the opportunities for commercial success and for the most disadvantaged in our society; creating greater prosperity for our communities and businesses.  These outcomes are consistent with the Government’s “Levelling Up” objectives as we shape a clean,  high-growth economy and consolidate our position as the UK’s leading clean growth city district.

The critical elements to unlocking the true potential of our city centre now revolve around the delivery of the new rail station including a through line connection and prominent residential schemes within the Southern Gateway regeneration area. 

On the rail station, more productive discussions with  Network Rail, the Department for Transport (DfT), DLUCH and HMT are taking place to build the case for incorporating a through station for Bradford into the plans for delivering the infrastructure needed for the whole of the North to succeed.

Our  focus is now on demonstrating the additionality the new station provides by transforming connectivity to cities in the North and Midlands and integrating it into our economic and spatial plans for the Southern Gateway.  This will create significant benefits for the investment viability of our city centre residential, office and retail schemes, as well as enhancing the experience for rail passengers and redefining the perceptions of Bradford.

Alongside our District Economic Partnership, a dedicated  Southern Gateway Board  has been created, with Nigel Foster appointed as Chair, and consisting of Homes England, DfT, Network Rail, DLUHC, Civic Leaders and other key regional stakeholders and experienced regeneration leaders. In addition, we have also commissioned a team of expert consultants - led by WSP - to develop a delivery framework for the Southern Gateway regeneration scheme (126ha) and this work is now moving at pace.

We are shaping  our City Village proposal to be a test bed for C21st city living. We are now moving forward with the process to work with a private sector development partner. We have also recently completed the £15m acquisition of the Kirkgate Shopping Centre. Bradford City Centre features within the Strategic Place Partnership being created with Homes England and West Yorkshire Combined Authority and we look forward to working in partnership with them on housing growth and sustainable development opportunities.

We are currently part way through commissions to prepare detailed Development Frameworks for Bradford South/East/West and moving our attention up through the Aire Valley to Shipley, Bingley, Keighley and Ilkey. This work is set to identify and prioritise key  interventions and investment opportunities for our pipeline of growth sites and schemes. The whole district is open for business and will be involved in our year of Culture in 2025.

We are committed to effective public-private partnership  and to enabling the conditions for investment in one of the truly great Northern cities and across our whole District.

Our Invest in Bradford team are all set to  deal with your enquiries at UKREiiF so please get in touch via

The Beyond Net Zero Pavilion is back, bigger and with a packed showcase programme featuring some of the leading thinkers and companies from across the development sector.  UKBCSD is partnering with members Bradford Council, supported by Sir Robert McAlpine, Inspired PLC and Keyland Developments to bring a packed three-day programme in Leeds this year.

Following a successful first year, UKBCSD and Bradford Council will host the Beyond Net Zero Pavilion for a second year at the event set to take place between 16-18 May in Leeds.

For more than 22 years, UKBCSD has represented exceptional thought leaders, business trailblazers, innovators and disruptors coming together to attain a more sustainable world.

UKBCSD believe in going beyond net zero by shaping and delivering against the UN Sustainable Development Goals, guiding others and encouraging others to benchmark.

UKBCSD will use UKREiiF as a platform to deliver its message and showcase its members and practice to a group of over 6,000 investors, developers, local authorities, occupiers and more.

Jason Longhurst, chair of UKBCSD, said: “The World Business Council for Sustainable Development is a global network of more than 400 businesses with a combined annual revenue of more than $8.5 trillion.

“The council exists to put forward solutions to tackle the climate emergency, nature loss and mounting inequality.

“The UK Business Council has operated for over two decades and includes major house builders, property developers, consultants and contractors committed to decarbonisation among its members.

“Last year, we were one of the first organisations to commit to UKREiiF. We look forward to meeting and networking with more businesses and organisations at UKREiiF looking for help and expertise with their sustainable development journey.”

UKREiiF, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, added: “There is an urgent need to transform the construction and property sector – it is one of the main contributors to global emissions and therefore action needs to be taken. It’s why the net zero agenda is one of our key pillars and areas of conversation at UKREiiF – and we’re delighted to, once again, have the UK Business Council for Sustainable Development sponsor our Net Zero Pavilion. They are a shining light within the industry and are driving the change, and it’s a pleasure to have their support in getting the key messages across to the industry.”

Led by the UK’s leading property events company, Built Environment Networking, and supported by some of the most prominent UK Property and infrastructure companies, the second annual UKREiiF event will be held in Leeds on 16-18 May 2023. The forum will attract inward investment, generate economic growth and drive a more sustainable and inclusive culture within the property and construction industries.

Register for the UKREiiF annual event  UKBCSD Members please check your email for a discount code!

"The world is moving faster on sustainability than anyone thought would be possible years ago. However, it needs to move much faster and further over the coming years."

A key point made by John Gummer, Rt Hon The Lord Deben at the dinner and one of the many pertinent points mentioned by speakers throughout our day event held last week in London.

There were many key themes throughout, including the use of language and how this needs to be more joined up; investors vs developers and the built environment.

That we have made progress; sustainability is no longer on the streets. It's in the business psyche, and there is huge pressure now on businesses Richard Threlfall claims, citing a recent KPMG report.

Ashley Dunseath MCMI ChMC and Catherine Westoby discussed clean growth. Ashley talked about; leaders, followers and the confused when it comes to Clean Growth. Catherine had a challenge from the floor and discussed with the audience the government's position on Net Zero in the context of UK business.

Our fascinating investment panel surfaced some interesting points around what makes a sustainable investable project.

Lauren Burnhill said gender and social inclusion are two biggest areas for (private) investors.

Alice Gaskell challenged the room to think wider, and the SDG s are helpful in thinking holistically as focussing on one thing like technology or net zero is too narrow for a plc investor, for example.

Sally Ronald from DIT adds that often there are often financial incentives for sustainable attributes.

Following a short keynote from Metro Dynamics from Ilina Sen on the economics of place; Transition or Transformation and explaining their work following the devolution of Manchester;

Our final keynote of the day was on the Big Energy Debate and Georgina 'G' Penfold covered; The intricacies of the energy challenge; access to consumer technology; and solutions, such as renewables.

She said that the language we are using across sectors is inconsistent and we need to align the language across investment and design/build/construction to enable success.

You can find photos of the event here.

Thanks to our sponsors WSP in the UK and Inspired PLC

Our Autumn conference will be held post-COP27 on 24 November, 10.30 am - 4.00 pm at Mary Ward House London. We welcome guests of members and non-members to this event.

Our autumn conference will see Government and private sector leaders discuss the economic and environmental potential of clean growth, the transition to net zero, the future of sustainable development, the legacy of COP26 and COP27 and enable sustainability leaders an opportunity to share best practice.

We value our members and we are a small and interesting, innovative network. These small, conference-style events are held once a year to spark debate and challenge and meet and network with other members in a safe and closed environment.

We hope to encourage debate and challenge throughout the day at this November event and showcase some of the best practices across the UK.





There will also be plenty of networking opportunities with other members throughout the day.
We look forward to welcoming you.
Use this link to book your place.
The event will be followed by a member's only dinner.
We are pleased to confirm Lord Deben, Chair of the UK's Independent Climate Change Committee as our dinner speaker, fresh from Cop27 and will no doubt share an interesting perspective with us. Members can reserve a ticket on a first-come-first-served basis. It is an excellent opportunity to develop deeper relationships with other members and guests and enjoy a high-quality three-course meal with a drinks reception.

This event brings you a webinar 'double bill' - join us for one or both

In the first, "Cop26 - the noise and the reality", hosted by UK Business Council for Sustainable Development, we invite Richard Threlfall, Global Head of KPMG IMPACT and Global Head of Infrastructure, KPMG International to cut through the noise, giving us an overview of key decisions and debates coming out of COP26. He will spell out the reality of the situation - a focus on what Business absolutely has to do if it is to ensure it is sustainable, futureproofing itself and going beyond net zero, while remaining commercially viable.

He will then be joined for a discussion with Jason Longhurst, Chair of UKBCSD, with an opportunity for Q&A with the audience.

The second, "What is Clean Growth? The Bradford effect”, hosted by City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council will present a plan in action. Kersten England, Chief Exec, will give a short overview of the Bradford area, specifically its aspirations to be a Clean Growth City District. Ashley Dunseath, Director, Head of Masterplanning, Advisory & Economics at WSP and a board director of UKBCSD, will introduce the critical concept of ‘Clean Growth’ and explain how his team at WSP is working alongside Bradford colleagues in this process. Ashley will be joined by others involved on the project, to give their take on how it is evolving.

There will be an opportunity for Q&A after the presentation.

Click here to book your place at the event.