Research centre to deliver sustainable solutions in built environment

UK's first research centre to focus on delivering sustainable solutions in the construction industry and built environment.

Sustainable built environment | BTR News

Puma Property Finance (Puma) is sponsoring the launch of UCL’s new research centre focused on developing sustainable practices in the construction industry and the built environment. It’s the first centre of its kind in the UK.

Cushman & Wakefield’s ‘Why ESG matters to the Future of investing’ report estimates that 39% of global energy related carbon emissions come from the built environment. The new ‘Centre of Sustainable Governance and Law in the Built Environment’ seeks to address the challenge of building more with less emissions as the demand for more and better-quality housing increases. 

The two-year partnership will see the development of pioneering research designed to improve the understanding of sustainability practices in the built environment and drive forward solutions. This includes research to identify the best tools to accurately measure the environmental emissions and the social impact of construction projects and buildings; develop innovative financing models for construction projects; improve knowledge transfer; and decarbonise building stock. 

The centre will sit within the Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction: the first built environment faculty in the UK. The ten-person research team will be led by Dr Armando Castro, an Associate Professor at UCL, who has been researching and writing about ESG-related themes since 2014. Other team members’ expertise spans economics, finance, civil engineering, surveying, geography, management and law.

“This centre has been launched in a critical time and has the purpose of sharing academic insights and knowledge, while connecting and fostering the dialogue between academics and practitioners of the built environment. This is greatly needed now since the construction industry and its players need to do more to address current societal concerns regarding their social and environmental impact. Further, universities’ research can be used for the greater good and should be shared more widely.”

Dr Armando Castro, Associate Professor, UCL

Puma aims to support the drive towards greater sustainability in the construction industry. With this new partnership, Puma hopes to further inform the conversation and help the property finance industry to arrive at solutions that promote the next generation of the built environment.

“We’re incredibly proud to sponsor UCL’s new research centre and play our part in significantly reducing the carbon impact of the construction industry. Delivering net zero buildings and retrofitting existing ones is a huge challenge, especially as we try to meet the demand for more and better-quality housing, education facilities and suitable accommodation for our ageing population.

“Progress can’t be achieved through policy and regulation alone; it requires collaboration across industry and academia, innovation, creativity and ambition if we’re to drive truly impactful change.

“This new Centre offers an exciting opportunity to put that into practice, and we are delighted to be supporting its important work. The finance sector has enormous influence over the real estate that we build in this country and around the world. We can and must use that influence for the benefit of both current and future generations.”

Paul Frost, Managing Director, Puma Property Finance, and member of the Centre’s Advisory Board