Voting for the top drivers of building sustainability.

3 October 2013 — Operational efficiency, healthy environments and ecological footprint will be the next big drivers of sustainable buildings, according to a survey conducted by consultancy Cundall.

As part of Green Building Week, Cundall hosted 16 workshops around the globe and asked the 250-plus attendees a question: what will drive sustainable buildings in 2020?

From a choice of 20 options, attendees were asked to choose the top five drivers of building sustainability over the past 10 years, and then the drivers expected to take us through to 2020.

The top 10 were collated and ordered by importance.

Around the globe, there was significant variation in responses, but a level of agreement as to the top three drivers.

“Operational Efficiency” received the most votes globally, at 44 per cent.

“Perhaps highlighting the continued cost of energy and the reporting of carbon emissions across the globe, there was a strong vote for Operational Efficiency to continue to play a key role in the design, procurement and refurbishment of sustainable buildings in 2020,” said Cundall Australia chief executive Simon Wild.

With 42 per cent of votes, second place went to “Healthy Environment”, though it was more mixed internationally, with the UK and Europe voting it out of the top five while Asia voted it as number 1, “perhaps reflective of the ‘air quality’ summer that China and Singapore have just been through”, said Mr Wild.

“Ecological Footprint” came third with 38 per cent of participant votes, but it ranked as the most pressing for Australia and sixth in the UK.

“Some of the comments about Ecological Footprint during the workshops were that it enabled us to focus on global resources demands rather than just local, it allowed quantification of the total impact of buildings rather than just energy and it was a catch all for a lot of the other drivers,” Mr Wild said.

In Australia

For Australia, over the past ten years building sustainability had been driven by green ratings, regulatory changes and operational efficiency.

A major change in 2020 was the loss of importance given to green rating systems, slipping 20 places from the most important factor to the least important factor.

Wild said this was “perhaps a recognition of influence that green ratings have had in Australia over the last 10 years and maybe a reflection of the current trend to move beyond ratings”.

“Aside from Ecological Footprinting having a positive shift in the next 10 years, the next significant movers of Connection to Nature, Active Lifestyle, Out of Office Working and Social Connection all indicate a move towards more social aspects and needs of our sustainable built environment,” he said.

In order of importance, the top five factors for Australia were: Ecological Footprint, Healthy Environments, Operational Efficiency, Renewable Energy and Consumer Pressure.

See the full report.

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  1. For all the ‘green’ incentives, the ones that will motivate people most will be the ones that improve their everyday lives. If an air-source heat pump reduces heating costs to almost zero, then people will start using them – they just have to know about them. They need to be as easy to install as a regular heating system and their plumber has to suggest it as an option.
    Things that are actually ‘sustainable’ and things that are merely promoted as such as a marketing tool shows the need for regulation – a green version of the BS Kite mark perhaps?
    Many ‘green’ buildings are more concerned with the ‘look of appearing green’ rather than actually being ‘green’ – sustainability is about what happens afterwards: