As we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic there is a renewed opportunity to focus on the challenges of climate change mitigation and adaptation, delivering safe and healthy buildings that provide for occupant wellbeing and maintaining biodiversity and environmental protection. At the same time we need to build our resilience to future crises. The current pandemic highlights the need to be guided by science and engineering. Later action will cost more and may lead to irreversible damage.
In addition, a green recovery could contribute significantly to job creation and UK export opportunities, now and in the long term.
CIBSE therefore recommend the following strategy:
1. A clear commitment by government to embed climate, environmental, health, and building safety objectives in the recovery plan.
2. Making the most of the current period: the period of lower economic activity creates opportunities to prepare and facilitate the transition to a zero carbon economy by:
- Developing low-carbon skills and expertise
- Thinking and planning, for plans that embed climate and biodiversity objectives to be put into action when economic activity resumes.
- Acting now where it is easier than usual, especially where it can pre-empt detrimental reactions post-lockdowns.
- Gathering data and lessons on how beneficial lasting change could be achieved.
3. Improving the policy and incentive framework to prioritise climate, environmental and health and wellbeing improvements as well as job creation, and turning this into action. The following should be a focus due to their demonstrated potential to benefit both the economy and the climate:
- Low-carbon retrofit and refurbishment.
- Nature-based solutions.
- Low-carbon and clean infrastructure.
For more information, see CIBSE briefing on green recovery.