Developers and builders should reassess their city-build plans to reduce their impact on the environment and community, says Skanska Managing Director Paul Heather.
Heather is one of the key note speakers at the opening debate of Open House London. The event asks: ‘London’s pollution is ruining our lives. Can we build a cleaner city?’ It takes place at the Saw Swee Hock Student Centre of the London School of Economics on 9 September at 6.30pm.
Skanska is the sustainability sponsor of Open House London, an architectural festival which opens up 800 buildings to the public on 19 and 20 September. It is also sponsoring the opening debate.
Heather says: “I think there is much more that developers and builders can do to make buildings and the construction process greener. Skanska is a leader in this field, having worked on a range of environmentally friendly projects, including the award-winning Brent Civic Centre – the greenest public building in the UK. As an industry, we need to have the vision to create a cleaner, less polluting world.”
Green buildings are also healthier for the people who work in them, and improve productivity, according to research by the World Green Building Council. The study, supported by Skanska, suggests there is overwhelming evidence that the design of offices has a big impact on the people who work in them.
“Cutting pollution is not just about vehicles,” comments Heather. “It’s about ensuring buildings produce the lowest amount of carbon emissions across their lifetime. That starts right at the beginning, with the design process. For example, we know it’s possible to construct buildings which produce as much energy as they use. We’ve done it with our own buildings; the challenge is doing it in the confined and complex inner city London environment. It needs more than just expertise, it needs a recognition that being green is good for business and ultimately the right thing to do for society.”