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Green awards finalists on sustainability hits and myths

Firms have expressed their hopes and doubts in a wide-ranging survey for Construction News, writes Jennifer Palmer-Violet

Everyone at least pays lip service to the goals of sustainability, but what do the most forward thinking companies think about the key issues? Are they universally supportive or do even they have concerns about what is being asked of them?

Construction News surveyed the 53 individual companies which reached the shortlist of the Green Construction Awards, comprising main contractors, suppliers and consultants. The results showed an industry-wide commitment to sustainability, along with some shared doubts.

The single most important issue for the finalists was training - considered very important by 76 per cent. In contrast, reducing water usage and zero-carbon homes were considered less crucial, with only 24 per cent and 35 per cent respectively considering them very important. In fact, a quarter of respondents thought zero-carbon homes an unimportant issue.

But the results also showed the industry has little confidence in national initiatives. Over half of the finalists believed the Government provided poor assistance and information for sustainability targets, and 60 per cent said the sector did not have enough say in these targets. This dissatisfaction was underlined by attitudes towards specific green ambitions.

Little confidence was expressed for all new homes to be carbon neutral by 2016, with 73 per cent admitting no confidence in the scheme. And the 2020 deadline for zero waste on landfill was dismissed by 73 per cent, although 60 per cent believed a 50 per cent reduction would be achieved by 2012.
All finalists thought the Government needed to do more to decrease carbon emissions of existing homes, with almost half strongly supporting the statement.

More immediate schemes garnered a positive response, with a 60 per cent confidence in the target of half of new build over œ1 million using 'stewardship and responsible sourcing' by 2010, and a 66 per cent belief in one fifth of projects over œ1 million achieving an excellent BREEAM rating by next year.

Energy performance certificates were considered good by 86 per cent of respondents and 93 per cent would use the English Partnership-managed Carbon Challenge programme, which fast-tracks development of zero and low-carbon communities.

GREEN WEEK

The results of Construction News' Green Construction Awards will be announced at a special dinner in London on September 26. For more information on the awards and to book your place at the event, go to www.greenawards.co.uk

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