Countdown to COP26: Meeting the built environment net zero challenge

24 Sep 2020


To mark a year until the COP26 conference in Glasgow, Scotland's Innovation Centres are hosting a virtual event which will explore the many ways the nation can benefit from tackling climate change. 

The built environment will be one of six two-hour long programmes as part of the conference on 3 November. 

Led by Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, the built environment programme will set the scene for industry to be inspired to work collaboratively to find strategic and practical solutions to the net zero carbon challenge.  

Four major themes will be covered in the built environment programme featuring a diverse range of experts who will share their experiences and discuss new ways of building more sustainably, how to transform our existing built environment to be net zero carbon, the opportunity to use Scotland’s resources and the new skills and industry culture necessary to deliver all of this.  Topics will include design, procurement, lifecycle, retrofit, maximising our natural capital, decarbonisation of heat, the transition to net-zero, workforce and academic skills.

The programme will open with visionary discussion led by futurist and cultural strategist Adah Parris who will discuss the mindset required to approach the challenge.  Dr Marie Macklin CBE, Founder & Executive Chair HALO Urban Regeneration Company will share her vision of creating the first town-centre located, net-zero carbon energy development in Scotland, and Terry Ahern, head of SEPA will outline opportunities for Scotland. 

The audience will hear from Karim El-Jisr on his experience of creating Dubai’s Sustainable City, the first Net Zero Energy city in Dubai and the Middle East’s first operational sustainable community, now five years in existence.  He’ll be joined by Mark Farmer, the UK government’s Champion for Modern Methods of Construction in Housebuilding, and other experts, to discuss ways industry should be changing the way we build.

80% of the built environment will already have been built by 2045 so revisiting Scotland’s existing assets is one of the biggest challenges we have.  An expert panel will give their views on what needs to be done to address this challenge and includes: UK energy and sustainability expert Peter Rickaby; Public Procurement specialist Kelly Nugent from Scotland Excel; and Russell Smith, Managing Director of Parity Projects, Net Zero Retrofit pioneers.

Are Scotland’s resources the key to creating a sustainable built environment? Professor Professor Sandy Liddell Halliday and Chris Morgan, of John Gilbert Architects will present their views followed by a discussion led by Stephen Boyle, Strategic Programme Manager, Zero Waste Scotland. 

A diversified workforce alongside new skills and competences will be required to create a sustainable world. We need to imagine the workforce of the future, what skills, motivations, aspirations and motivation do they have?  Jennifer Phin, Managing Director of AC Whyte, Emma Marriott, Construction skills expert and Louise Rogers, Centre for Offsite Construction and Innovative Structures are among some of the speakers who will discuss  skills needs and who these are being addressed in the built environment sector. 

Lucy Black, CSIC Director of Innovation and Engagement, says: “This is only the start of a road of challenges but equally opportunities, and we hope that those involved in all areas of the built environment will be inspired by this event to come on the journey with us. 

“The conversation and momentum will keep going in the following months up to, and well beyond, COP26, with a whole programme of events and initiatives we will be running at CSIC to engage and support the sector in its path to zero carbon.”  

Join the conversation and take up the challenge by registering to join Scotland’s Countdown to COP26.

Register here

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