Building sustainability and climate change into projects

Building sustainability and climate change into projects

What do your clients know about climate change, and its opportunities and risks?


Clients may not know what sustainability and climate change response options are available to them and may not understand how these relate to their own goals/profitability.

Engineering consultants may not have the right skills/information to bring sustainable solutions to their clients, or may be unable to persuade them to use them.

In developing nations, which are expected to be generally worse hit by the effects of climate change, governments and populations may have concerns other than climate change, which are more immediately pressing than emissions reductions and sustainability for their own sake.

"Both real estate developers and institutional investors are understandably uncertain about how far to go in implementing environmental investments" – Doing Well By Doing Good? Analysis of the financial performance of green office buildings in the USA (RICS, 2009)

Barking Riverside, London – sustainable housing development and community regeneration

The largest regeneration site in Europe (175 hectares, to become home to 26,000 people) is being developed for mixed commercial and residential use by a joint venture, which has recognised the need for sustainability to be considered in all aspects of the development.

Features include an extensive sustainable drainage system across the site, water re-use and saving measures, green roofs, river restoration and inclusion of energy reduction features in the new homes being built.

There was much early discussion between the engineers and client, to negotiate and agree on these sustainable measures.

This example highlights the possibility of aligning commercial objectives with sustainable aims on a large scale, for the regeneration of an environmentally degraded area.

Further information

Barking Riverside

Deomonstrate benefits to clients and their business


Sustainability 'Toolkits' – for education

  • There is increasing availability of sustainability services for clients in the form of 'toolkits'.
  • These focus on looking at a proposed engineering project throughout its lifecycle across all disciplines to analyse sustainability opportunities, costs and benefits
  • If effectively used, such tools can also help to educate clients about the options open to them and act as a central point for the project team to refer to sustainability aspects of the project at both a specific and holistic level
  • By displaying a range of quantified sustainability options in a visual format, engineers can help clients to make informed choices about where and how they can make their products or projects more sustainable

    Examples include:

  • Aspire, primarily targeted at development projects

  • Project Sustainability Assessment and others from DFID, IUCN and OCED

  • And, for sustainable buildings, see: