We must make strides towards net zero in 2024 says Rics chair

Turbines have benefited from strong winds over the last day.
It’s critical that sustainability is placed at the heart of our decision making in 2024 (Danny Lawson/PA)

It is now critical that we place sustainability at the heart of our decision making.

And as we start the new year, Rics in Northern Ireland is promoting the role that chartered surveyors play in achieving net-zero targets. By building on our previous efforts, we can meet the challenges posed by a changing climate.

As a professional body, Rics recognises we are custodians of our built and natural environment and our rich history and heritage in Northern Ireland. This year we will continue to champion the importance of the built and natural environment as both a key economic driver and in the role it plays in promoting a sustainable regional economy.

In 2023 Rics continued to encourage policy-makers and industry to adopt green measures. We saw the launch of the second edition of Rics’ Whole Life Carbon Assessment standard, a tool set to become the world-leading standard for consistent and accurate carbon measurement in the built environment.

Rics in Northern Ireland hosted a conference on surveying sustainably, focusing on renewable energy, retrofitting existing buildings and the use of the latest technology. As chartered surveyors locally, it Is vital that we utilise the knowledge and skills leading industry professionals share with us at events like these to help build a sustainable future.

We also saw the most recent findings of the Rics global sustainability report which indicate that occupier and investor demand for sustainable buildings in the UK has risen.

However, a significant portion of survey respondents reported they make no measurement of embodied carbon on projects; and even if carbon is being assessed there is little evidence to suggest that it is impacting the choice of materials and components.

Martin Doherty is chair of the NI regional board of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) (Kelvin Boyes)

In 2024, we must address these findings, and Rics will continue to advocate for consistent carbon measurement to help us achieve net zero emission targets.

We want – and we deserve – a future that is both healthy and sustainable. To achieve this we need to embed sustainability at the heart of procurement so that we get the best buildings and create a place which attracts people to live, work and invest in Northern Ireland.

As regional chair for Rics NI my role in 2024 is to give visible leadership for the profession, and to positively influence the direction of Rics, whilst helping deliver positive, sustainable change in our built and natural environment.

:: Martin Doherty is chair of the NI regional board of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics)