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Key sustainability & energy movements in the built environment: 2024 insights

14 Dec 2023

Jose Hernandez

Jose Hernandez


As 2023 draws to a close, Pick Everard’s Sustainability & Energy team gears up for an exciting 2024. Head of Discipline, Jose Hernandez delves into the anticipated trends and key areas of focus in the built environment sector for the coming year.


Industry movements

  • Enhanced focus on repurposing and retrofit: In 2024, we expect to see a continued emphasis on repurposing existing buildings, when compared to new construction. This approach will necessarily promote lower carbon solutions and more circular economies through a focus on climate resilient and adaptive designs, and more effective asset management at end of first life. Advances in modern methods of construction (MMC), design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA), and buildings as material banks (BAMB) will also underpin this trend, alongside the use of innovative materials offering carbon-negative and self-healing properties.
  • Circular practice standards: New ISO and industry standards for circular practices will continue to emerge next year, especially in the context of measurement and reporting. These standards will be crucial for UK companies responding to statutes such as the EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (EU CSRD) and the UK Green Taxonomy. Pick Everard's involvement with the IEMA Circular Economy Network Steering Group will also see new circular economy guidance for procurement specialists published in early 2024.
  • Biodiversity Net Gain requirements: In January 2024, there is much anticipation for the solidification of the UK Government's mandate for Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) on developments, which will further emphasise the need to preserve and enhance natural capital. This move will a central cog in achieving our net zero commitments, fostering urban wellbeing, and creating greener, biodiversity-rich urban spaces.
  • Accessibility of product carbon information: 2024 will see a shift towards more accessible and ‘up-to-the-minute’ information on the carbon impact of building materials and products. Enhanced industry data sharing and new open-source repositories will promote transparency of impacts across manufacturing, transportation, and installation of materials. For example, the Built Environment Carbon Database will be a pivotal resource as it evolves, allow for precise analysis and benchmarking of carbon impacts in our work.

Engaging with our clients

  • Active participation in industry events and industry working groups: Pick Everard will continue to part of the sustainability dialogue at key events in 2024. At UKREIIF, we’ll be presenting and engaging on the future of net zero, a circular economy, social value and EDI, and inward investment. We’ll also be at the SPACES National Study Day at the University of Reading, which will focus on retrofitting for a net zero future. Additionally, we’ll be attending Futurebuild, which also host the National Retrofit Conference (in partnership with The Retrofit Academy) – the latter explore approaches to the net zero skills gap and decarbonising UK housing.
  • Utilising industry certifications: Next year, Pick Everard will be exerting even more effort on aiding clients make the most of industry certifications such as DREAM, BREEAM, WELL, EnerPHit, and GSL. In combination, these frameworks offer far more than their individual benefits, driving best practice and innovation across the whole life of built environment developments.
  • ‘Shifting thinking to the left’: In 2024, Pick Everard will augment its commitment to helping clients ‘shift their thinking to the left’ in the delivery lifecycle. There are numerous benefits to early engagement and consensus-driven decision making which our team will spearhead, particularly in the following spheres: low carbon and renewable energy funding opportunities, thermal modelling and efficiency, climate resiliency, and sustainable resource management. “Fail to prepare: prepare to fail”.
  • Social value leadership: In response to the rapidly advancing requirements for ESG reporting across both the public and private sectors, we will further enhance our role in planning, measuring, and reporting social value for our clients. We will be working hand in hand with Pick Everard’s Social Value Leads add value to our clients’ existing metrics, and to drive a just transition across industry.

Our corporate ventures

  • Sustainability Forum advancements: Pick Everard’s Sustainability Forum (which brings together knowledge across our full complement of business disciplines), will increasingly be used to create practical and future proofed action for all our clients. We’re looking forward to celebrating the successes of these actions with our clients, in a variety of media in 2024.
  • Commitment to Science-Based Targets and UN Goals: Pick Everard continues its journey towards net zero carbon across its operational activities in accordance with Science Based Targets. Whilst we will exert a focus on meeting our annual reduction targets, we will particularly whilst also addressing our Scope 3 emissions, which includes minimising the lifetime impact of the built environment and other projects we deliver.
  • Advancing our Passivhaus approach: As part of our commitments to a net zero future, Pick Everard will expand the application of the Passivhaus standard, which will be particularly important as part of retrofitting and sensitive historical projects. This will include the use of the 'imminently to be released’ Retrofit Moisture Balance Guide (Passivhaus Trust UK), which will form a core component of the EnerPHit certification standard.
  • Team growth and diversification: In line with our ever-expanding client base, Pick Everard is also set to grow its Sustainability & Energy team in 2024, advancing our current expertise in net zero and energy strategy, thermal modelling, climate resilience, ESG and the circular economy. Needless to say, we warmly invite those interested in a career in these dynamic fields to reach out and explore opportunities with us.

2024 promises to be another transformative year in the built environment, and Pick Everard will continue to lead on a wide variety of innovative and impactful sustainability initiatives to achieve whole life value and future proofing, and positive and lasting legacies.