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Green Entrepreneurs in the Green Economy: A case study of green building in the UK

Institution: Cardiff University 

The green economy represented a major response to the 2008 financial crisis, with green building a key dimension for stimulating economic growth whilst delivering greenhouse gas emissions reductions. This project focused on green entrepreneurs within the built environment, to explore their experiences and challenges of the green economy. 

The research found that UK policy on green building, as exemplified in legislation for the Code for Sustainable Homes and in Building Regulations, gave rise to particular kinds of green building that favoured technological solutions that can readily be adopted by the existing construction system, leading to incremental changes only. Our respondents were critical of UK legislation prior to 2015 and argued that its narrow conceptualisation failed to adequately encourage, or recognise, the range of green building forms needed to contribute to substantial emissions reductions.

Further, post-2015, our research highlighted how the removal of the UK zero carbon homes frameworks represented a case of policy dismantling. Our research on the absence of a clear zero carbon housing agenda in the UK offers useful insights into the politics of sustainability transitions and the weak nature of UK policy for green building. A clear and supportive long-term policy framework is critical for ensuring sustainability transitions in the built environment, to meet emissions reductions targets, and to ensure future-proof homes.