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Key Organisations and Actor networks in the UK Green Building sector / Third Sector/not for profit

Sectoral non-governmental organisations (NGOs) represent an amorphous collection of charities, pressure groups and direct action bodies. In the context of this report, they are considered to be those organisations that have at least part of their activity involved in the promotion and advocacy of reducing the environmental impact of the built environment. However it should be noted that some NGOs within the sector; such as the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), and the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF), may have priorities that are to some extent antagonistic to the goals of the green building lobby; such as restricting expansion of new housing and maintaining aesthetic characteristics of existing buildings. Whilst many of the organisations listed in table also engage in commercial activity, some scholars have expressed concern that the large number of environmental NGOs should exhibit greater accountability, given their significant role in influencing  policy, and may be also susceptible to capture by corporate interests (Jepson, 2005).

Groups such as the UK Green Building Council are specific to the industry and provide a collaboration platform for many large scale and corporate actors, whilst also lobbying governments to promote sustainability in construction. Other groups such as FOE, FFTF and WWF are engaged in wider issues surrounding sustainability and have dedicated teams or departments working on energy in a built environment context, often engaging in direct action approaches. Whilst groups such as the UKGBC focus is sector wide, other smaller organisations such as the Passivhaus trust are specifically focussed on their niche activity. A list of these groups can be found in Table 1

Table 1 Key NGO’sOrganisationSector/StructureBrief descriptionRelevant roles/ activitiesGood homes AllianceCharity and Membership bodyThe Good Homes Alliance is a member-based organisation that has been set up as a Community Interest Company. The Board is made up of Member companies and initially includes the Founder Members, who have paid to support the set-up of the organisationIt was founded by four housing developers – BioRegional Quintain, Cornhill Estates, Kingerlee Homes, and Swan Country Homes. The group advocates sustainability across its portfolio of development activities

This includes a commitment to mandatory improved CO2 performance a charter containing eight further principles.UK Green Building Council (UKGBC)Charity and Membership bodyThe UK Green Building Council is a charity and membership organisation which campaigns for a sustainable built environment. UK-GBC has a diverse membership of more than 400 organisations spanning the entire built environment. The majority are from the private sector, but we also have public and third sector membersKey aim is to impact sustainability performance through our membership body and drive industry to set meet and reach higher sustainability targets

Number of dedicated campaigns on key issues.

Task Groups are convened around a particular topic to tackle specific issues or develop innovative new approaches.

UK-GBC engages its members in advocating a progressive message to Government on green building policy issues.

Learning and development courses and events allows members to learn, influence and network with like-minded sustainability professionals from across the built environment industry.

National Energy AssociationCharityNational Energy Action (NEA) is a major national charity whose work to improve and promote energy efficiency brings social, environmental, housing and employment benefits. Working in partnership with central and local government, fuel utilities, housing providers, consumer groups and voluntary organisations, NEA aims to eradicate fuel poverty and campaigns for greater investment in energy efficiency to help those who are poor and vulnerable.NEA achieves its objectives through

  1. research and analysis into the causes and extent of fuel poverty and the development of policies which will address the problem

  2. providing advice and guidance to installers on good practice in delivering energy efficiency services to low-income householders

  3. developing national qualifications and managing their implementation to improve standards of practical work and the quality of energy advice

  4. campaigning to ensure social and environmental objectives are brought together under national energy efficiency programmes

  5. developing and managing demonstration projects which show innovative ways of tackling fuel poverty and bring the wider benefits of energy efficiency to local communities

National Home Improvement Council For more than forty years, the National Home Improvement Council (NHIC) has provided an important source of first class, impartial advice and information on all manner of home improvements – now including renewable energy technologies. Passivhaus TrustCharityThe Passivhaus Trust is an independent, non-profit organisation that provides leadership in the UK for the adoption of the Passivhaus standard and methodology.Integrity: to promote and protect the integrity of the Passivhaus standard and methodology in the UK.

Research: to undertake research into issues directly relating to the use and uptake of the Passivhaus standard and methodology in the UK.

Promotion: to promote the Passivhaus standard, methodology and principles as an effective, proven, healthy and deliverable way of reducing energy use and carbon emissions from new and refurbished buildings in the UK at this time.Sustainable Development FoundationParent Group of CharitesThe Sustainable Development Foundation is a non-profit organisation that works to deliver a radical step-change in sustainability performance for the UK built environment. Programs include :

  1. SHINE Healthcare Network

  2. Good Homes Alliance

  3. Passivhaus Trust

  4. Think Tank and St Pancras Group

  5. Alliance of Sustainable Building Products

  6. Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance (STBA)

  7. Identify innovation & solutions for a sustainable future.

  8. Increase knowledge and understanding about sustainable buildings and communities

  9. Challenge and enable clients to deliver a step change in real life sustainability performance.

  10. Demonstrate that whole life value can be achieved through a holistic sustainable approach.

  11. Inspire behaviour that will create sustainable communities and lifestyles

Regen SWCharity/not for profitRegen SW passionately believes that sustainable energy has a vital role at the heart of a successful economy and thriving local communities.

An independent not for profit that uses our expertise to work with industry, communities and the public sector to revolutionise the way we generate, supply and use energy.

Forum for the FutureCharity/not for profitForum for the Future was founded in 1996 by three leading figures of the UK environment movement with a mission to accelerate change to a sustainable future. To create a sustainable future, they believe it’s critical to reimagine and transform the key systems we all use and rely on, and innovate for long-term successRefit West

Pioneering scheme to reduce the energy and resource consumption of people’s homes by developing a model to retrofit whole houses

The Big Energy Vision

An ambitious coalition changing the household energy conversation from “I can’t” to “I will take control of my energy billsFriends of the Earth (FOE)Charity/not for profit/Direct ActionFriends of the Earth was founded in 1969 Friends of the Earth considers environmental issues in their social, political and human rights contexts.

The current campaign priorities of Friends of the Earth internationally are:

  1. economic justice and resisting neoliberalism

  2. forests and biodiversity

  3. food sovereignty

  4. climate justice and energy

Friends of the Earth led the campaign for the Warm Homes Act, which put a duty on government to end fuel poverty in the UK by 2016.

To help bring this about they are with Energy Bill Revolution – a coalition of children’s and older people’s charities, health and disability groups, trade unions, businesses and politicians from all parties. Renewable energy campaign

In Europe, Friends of the Earth is calling for the EU climate and energy policy to contain an ambitious target for renewable energy by 2030. This will encourage investment in the sector as well as reduce carbon emissions.

Internationally FOE are calling for a global feed-in tariff, to ensure rapid take-off of renewable power in developing countries. We are campaigning for this to be funded through the robin hood tax – a tax on currency speculation.World Wide Fund  for Nature WWF The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is an international non-governmental organization founded on April 29, 1961, and is working on issues regarding the conservation, research and restoration of the environmentWWF work with other organizations to promote effective action to help people reduce their carbon emissions and their energy bills through energy efficiency measures.

The Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE) The Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE) was formed in 1981 by a number of major companies active within the energy conservation industry. Its aim is to encourage a positive national awareness of the need for and benefits of energy conservation, to help establish a sensible and consistent national policy and programme, and to increase investment in all appropriate energy saving measures.

•developed the concept of securing funding for energy saving programs (EEC, CERT, ECO etc.) via the energy companies, rather than public expenditure;

•ensured that Building Regulations have been regularly upgraded to achieve greater energy efficiency;

•secured both primary and secondary legislation to introduce a minimum energy efficiency standard for the private rented sector;

•been responsible for the vast majority of energy efficiency legislation since 1995, as well as delivering various reductions to VAT rates on energy saving materials.


JEPSON, P. 2005. Governance and accountability of environmental NGOs. Environmental Science & Policy, 8, 515-524.

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