Exclusive interview: Lucy Pedler, Director The Green Register

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Lucy Pedler is an architect with 31 years of experience with particular expertise in sustainable building practices. Lucy worked at the UK’s first Ecological Building Centre, for five years. In 1999, Lucy started her own sustainable architecture practice, archipeleco, designing buildings that have a low impact on the environment. Lucy created The Green Register in 2000 as part of her lifelong commitment to the promotion of sustainable building.

In 140 characters or less – what is The Green Register?

The Green Register is a not-for-profit organisation offering expert & unbiased training on sustainable building practices to the UK construction industry.

What was the driver for creating The Green Register – what gap did it fill?

The Green Register (TGR) was founded back in 2000 by director, Lucy Pedler, who identified solutions to three main barriers preventing uptake of sustainable building:

– To provide low cost, high quality, unbiased training for all disciplines of the construction industry

– To encourage the sharing, exploration and discussion of innovative and sustainable building solutions amongst building professionals

– To create a free-to-access, web based listing of construction professionals who have demonstrated a commitment to sustainable building practices for potential clients to access

Who is it primarily for?

The training TGR provides is for all disciplines of the UK construction industry such as architects, engineers, surveyors and builders amongst others. The training varies from introductory level sessions through to one-day seminars with a high technical content and so can satisfy a wide range of requirements from delegates. TGR events are often attended by multiple professions and we encourage cross disciplinary debate during the training sessions to foster a holistic understanding of the building process and how it can be improved.

TGR also provides a service to building owners who are seeking professionals with a commitment to building sustainably (see [2] above). We ensure the quality of our membership by requiring each member to attend a minimum of two days TGR training in order to become eligible to join TGR.

What difference does The Green Register want it to make?

The main aim of TGR is to raise awareness of sustainable building issues and provide unbiased training of these issues, focusing on solutions. TGR has trained thousands of professionals over the last fifteen years with a programme of events already being offered for 2016. These events help professionals to understand the issues and to give them confidence to make a difference in their work.

What are the barriers to making that difference?

There are some actual barriers – lack of robust legislation for example – and some perceived barriers, such as assuming that ‘green’ measures always cost more than conventional ones. Some of the perceived barriers can be overcome by education, which is what TGR works to achieve. TGR is not sponsored by any organisation and so trainers are free to present unbiased course content that is of direct use to the delegates in their work. Our independence is something that our delegates repeatedly state is of great value to them.

Who’s helping you overcome those barriers?

TGR is entirely independent but sometimes works with like-minded organisations to overcome some of these barriers. We have partnered with The Good Homes Alliance, the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Alliance of Sustainable Building Products, Innovate UK and others to hold jointly badged events where our combined efforts result in more effective awareness raising.

TGR is also starting to collaborate with a few selected companies whose principles align with our own such as Ecological Building Systems.

Is construction industry action today commensurate with the sustainability challenges we face?

When TGR was created in 2000, the concept of sustainable building was considered by most as an alternative method of construction. Today, some measures are becoming more mainstream such as solar thermal panels and photovoltaics.

However, the current UK government’s policies are moving quickly back into the 20th century and are a significant barrier to the adoption of sustainable building practices across the UK. The removal of The Code for Sustainable Homes & the Zero Carbon Homes target and the reduction of FIT’s for renewable energy generation are just a few of the polices that make the UK look like a backward nation compared to many other countries.

How can people – individuals and organisations – find our more about The Green Register?

TGR’s website – www.greenregister.org.uk – has information on all the courses we run around the UK throughout the year. The website list all construction professionals who are TGR members.

For specific enquires, the office is open Monday-Thursday on 0117 377 3490 or email mail[at]greenregister.org.uk