The Role of Sustainable Development Within the Build Environment

Published by The Landsite on 23rd December 2020 -


In an environmentally aware world, the desire for more sustainable living is a requirement faced by all industries. However, in the development of both commercial and residential buildings, it is a complex challenge, that needs to be considered from the earliest planning stages to avoid significant adverse environmental impact.  

The built environment accounts for:  

  • 45% of total UK carbon emissions (27% from domestic buildings and 18% from non-domestic).
  • 72% of domestic emissions arise from space heating and the provision of hot water.
  • 32% of landfill waste comes from the construction and demolition of buildings.
  • 13% of products delivered to construction sites are sent directly to landfill without being used.

Why is sustainable development important?

As one of the largest consumers of natural resources, the construction industry has an important part to play in sustainable development.  While that means extra time and investment must be allocated to the early planning stages, it also delivers significant business benefits:

  • Sustainable development in the construction industry considers the interests of the communities and environment within which they operate. It’s not just about profit; it’s about corporate social responsibility.
  • Promoting your commitment to sustainable development and corporate social responsibility can help you generate more business through your ‘green credentials’.
  • Predicting change and adapting early will mean that as new environmental rules and regulations are introduced, you are ahead of the game. 

How does sustainable development affect construction? 

Sustainable development affects all areas of residential and commercial building construction:

  • Materials - source environmentally friendly materials to lower costs (for the developer and end-user), reduce waste and give your business a competitive advantage (‘green credentials’).
  • Energy – focus on creating energy-efficient design utilising natural light, smart windows and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems and sourcing low impact materials such as timber, clay and stone. 
  • Technology - the use of green construction technology is revolutionising the energy consumption of commercial buildings. HVAC systems can be told to ‘power down’ unoccupied areas of the building, through the use of motion sensors and access card readers.  And the impact is considerable when most commercial buildings are empty 30-40% of the time. 
  • Transport - commit to transport sustainability across all areas of the business from employee and personal transport, to supplier transport and fleet management. It will reduce your contribution to carbon emissions, comply with regulations and potentially offer long-term cost savings. 

What does Sustainable Development for Commercial and Residential Buildings look like?

They are property developments that have been planned and constructed to lessen their impact and deliver environmental, economic and social benefits.  They are buildings which: 

  • Maximise the use of sustainable resources to lower environmental impact and increase energy efficiency. Find out more about commercial EPC (Energy Performance Certificates) from NRG Focus.
  • Improve the quality of life for the people living in/using the buildings, creating healthier environments that promote well-being, and prevent negative social issues arising. Companies like KIN work with local communities and community-led housing groups, empowering them to deliver homes and neighbourhoods tailored to local needs and to shape the towns and cities they live in.
  • Have been built with the flexibility to accommodate future changes, taking into consideration the lifetime of a building from draft to demolition, not just the initial construction.
  • Support natural environments and habitats by maintaining and improving the natural environment.  Companies likeEnviroSolution - a multidisciplinary Environmental and Planning consultancy can provide integrated solutions to complex problems.
  • Deliver profit. 




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