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Jeremy Richards, head of JLL’s Bristol office, talks about why the property industry needs to step up to the green challenge.
"The number of people living in cities across the world is increasing by more than the population of the UK each year and by 2030, it is predicted that 60 per cent of us will live in an urban environment. So, it is not surprising that there exists a keen focus on urban regeneration and resilience."Bristol’s award as European Green Capital in 2015 comes at an important time when the government and major corporates are increasingly focused on the sustainability agenda. "In Bristol’s office market, we have been involved in some market-leading schemes for several years. Opened in 2010, the Environment Agency’s Horizon House, was, at the time, the UK’s greenest building."Now, major corporates are making the running with PwC creating the greenest refurbished building at Embankment in London. The drive to act sustainably comes from above in the form of government, but increasingly from below, with staff now being keener than ever to be associated with an environmentally-responsible employer.
"Here in Bristol, Skanska’s new scheme at 66 Queen Square which we are helping to deliver in time for Bristol’s European Green Capital year, is aiming to be the Bristol’s greenest speculative building."But the challenge in the coming years is not new buildings, which represent just two per cent of our built environment, but the 98 per cent of existing office stock, much of which is obsolete and in need of refurbishment."Government legislation is due to render the occupation of many buildings illegal in 2018 if they do not comply with minimum standards."So, the pressure is on to improve many of our buildings’ energy performance. Our work for Scottish Widows on 1 Redcliffe Street, the major tower block in central Bristol, is a good example of what can be achieved. Built 50 years ago, it is currently being refurbished to meet the challenges of the next property cycle and attract major tenants. "We all need to step up to the challenge, and for our part, our ‘Building for Tomorrow’ programme aims to help the property industry, clients’ staff and communities succeed long into the future."
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