Puma backs new sustainable construction research centre

[Image: Avel Chuklanov/Unsplash]

Puma Property Finance is sponsoring the launch of a new research centre established by UCL (University College London) to focus on developing sustainable practices in the construction industry and the built environment.

The new ‘Centre of Sustainable Governance and Law in the Built Environment’ is the first of its kind in the UK and seeks to address the challenge of building more with less emissions as the demand for more and better-quality housing increases.

The centre explained in a statement that although an estimated 39% of global energy related carbon emissions come from the built environment, the construction industry has been slow in developing sustainability initiatives.

Puma will have a two-year partnership with UCL.

During this period research will be designed to improve the understanding of sustainability practices in the built environment including research to identify the best measurement tools to measure accurately the environmental emissions and social impact of construction projects and buildings. It will also develop innovative financing models for construction projects, knowledge transfer and decarbonising building stock.

The centre will be part of the Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction. A 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.

“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,” Castro explained.

“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.”

Other team members’ expertise spans economics, finance, civil engineering, surveying, geography, management and law, in order to tackle and solve the wide-ranging issues across the industry.

Puma, for some time a supporter of the drive for greater sustainability in the construction industry, stated that it hopes that the partnership will further inform the conversation and help the property finance industry to arrive at solutions that promote the next generation of the built environment.

“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,” said Paul Frost, managing director of Puma Property Finance, and member of the Centre’s advisory board.

“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.”