Innovation centre sets out new direction to progress built environment transformation

Stephen Good. Image credit: Peter Devlin

Built Environment – Smarter Transformation, formerly Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, has announced a new focus prioritising the sector’s transition to zero carbon and improving its contribution to the fight against climate change.

The new brand and mission for the innovation centre is described as underlying its core purpose: to accelerate the move to a more sustainable, energy-efficient and circular built environment.

The ‘refreshed’ ambition is also said to reflect its growing partner base beyond the construction sector, including organisations right across the wider built environment ecosystem, and its expanding geographical reach beyond Scotland.

Stephen Good, CEO of Built Environment – Smarter Transformation, BE-ST for short, revealed the centre’s new direction at an event hosted at the innovation factory that marked the midway point between COP26 and COP27.

The day began with a rallying call from Stephen Good inviting the sector to work together to address the challenge of decarbonisation, followed by a keynote session from Lord Willie Haughey. Attendees also heard from Scott McAulay, coordinator of the Anthropocene Architecture School, and a range of panel sessions chaired by former BBC broadcaster Clare English.

Estimates suggest the built environment accounts for around 47% of all UK carbon emissions, highlighting the scale of the challenge. Built Environment – Smarter Transformation will will help to drive change with a range of programmes aligned with industry, national and policy objectives. Included in this is a roadmap for the sector to reach zero carbon, with activities focussed on modern methods of construction, retrofit, sustainability and digital transformation.

Since CSIC was launched in 2014, it has supported the commercialisation of more than 400 new products, processes and services. The innovation centre has been involved in more than 350 collaborative projects valued at over £34 million, engaging with a range of academic, public sector and industry partners. Last November, the centre hosted a showcase of sustainable construction – BE@COP26 – which ran alongside the climate change summit in Glasgow and brought together a range of prototypes and examples of best practice, visited by more than 800 people.

Stephen Good said, “Today we have set out a new direction for the innovation centre, focused on delivering maximum impact and rapid transformation across the built environment ecosystem in its widest possible sense – not just the construction sector. We’ve always helped organisations explore how to do things in a more sustainable way but, from now on, this has to be our top priority.

“Building on that, we needed a new mission, brand and name that better reflects who we are today and, most importantly, where we’re going tomorrow. The acronym is of course BE-ST, but it’s not about us thinking we’re the best. It’s about us all working together to do our best, to find the best ideas and the best approaches.

“Built Environment – Smarter Transformation has an important role to play in connecting stakeholders and creating the innovation support infrastructure we need across all building typologies, including housing, commercial property, industrial, and infrastructure projects – both new build and retrofit, that will help us meet our mission and objectives. One thing is absolutely certain, no single organisation will deliver zero carbon transformation on its own and, as time marches on, we need to come together and collaborate like never before.”