CEWales E Bulletin February 23 - We will not get to net zero unless we stop repeating ourselves

With the Queen Consort forced to cancel engagements this week due to "seasonal illness", it triggered my thoughts on how the narrative we use, what we tell ourselves and others defines our attitudes, thoughts, and behaviors. Having Covid-19 would once have filled us with fear and anxiety, but now having a seasonal illness seems to imply it’s just something to expect. So if we, in construction use the right narrative, can it form a part in determining the success we yield and help implement holistic change?

Success is setting high internal benchmarks and expectations and then aiming to accomplish them, everything we believe in the CEWales movement. We are seeing and debating this particularly in the radical societal transformation as our climate changes and we look at how the sector implements its carbon reduction plans. The built environment elicits a quantum of carbon emissions, therefore green buildings are now playing a pivotal role in creating better long-term value. If buildings don’t put net-zero at the forefront, they could become ‘stranded’ assets in the future. Green Financing is helping this shift change but financial incentives need to look at building mechanics as well as technology and fabric. Like all asset clauses, it is vital for net zero ambitions to be quantified in a clear and transparent way and for progress and achievement to be monitored and verified through certification.

It’s not just buildings that need to put net zero at the forefront, investing in alternatives like rail, bus, walking and cycling initiatives, and placing the climate and ecological emergency at the heart of decision making is a key part of future infrastructure spending.  The Welsh Government’s decision to scrap major road schemes in Wales citing that all road schemes had to “support modal shift and reduce carbon emissions” reflect this stance. 15-minute cities and 20mph zones also play a part in our road map to a low traffic, low carbon future. Backed by the World Economic Forum, the C40 Global Cities Climate Network, UN Habitat, Climate Network, the Federation of United Local Governments and our very own Future Generations Commissioner. Its Wales’ time to shine and demonstrate how as a small nation, we can be one of the strongest players in the green economy.

The Development Bank of Wales has recently launched a new £10m green fund. The Green Business Loan Scheme aims to support sustainable growth, the transition to net zero and a strong green Welsh economy. Projects which could be supported by the debt fund, which has been created from the bank’s existing funding capacity, include: Investing in renewable energy technology, Improving the fabric of premises and energy efficiencies within the building; upgrading systems or machinery to reduce energy use; water usage and waste reduction/improvement. https://developmentbank.wales/business-need/green-business-loan-scheme