Structural engineers play a vital role in the sustainable development of our built environment through the design, construction and management of buildings and infrastructure.
This section details information about building for a sustainable future and tackling climate change. Here you can find information on materials, recycling, efficiency and reducing energy and carbon emissions.
Use our informal reading lists to guide your continuing professional development. Compiled by the Institution’s Sustainable Construction Panel, one lists general texts and the other reference texts.
You can also find out about targets and policy in this area. In support of our members, we have selected some guidance documents which are available below.
Read also about the Institution’s research project on sustainability rating systems, “The value of structural engineering to sustainable construction”
Policy and guidelines
Legislation and industry guidelines relating to sustainability are set out by local and national government departments. There are also a number of global organisations which provide essential reading and training on sustainability.
In the UK, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is a central resource for sustainable construction. On this website you can find a number of useful documents which set out government plans and current initiatives. Please also refer to BSI for publications and training.
Agenda21 provides a comprehensive action plan for climate change to be implemented globally, nationally and locally by organisations within the United Nations system. The World Green Building Council which also offers advice in this area is the largest international organisation influencing green building.
There are national and international organisations which provide guidance on sustainable concept design and sustainability issues. The Natural Step sets out a framework for sustainable building design. The construction professionals network Spong is a collective resource promoting sustainability.
Many trade organisations provide information on materials, providers and specifiers. The Building Centre Trust offers a product based information service. There are also several organisations that specilise in specific materils such as: Wood for Good, Steel Construction Institute and The Concrete Centre.
Recycling is an important part of working responsibly to preserve the environment. For information and resources on how to recycling please visit the Waste and Resource Action Programme website.
For a list of major recycling companies across the UK please visit the CIRIA website.
The Renewable Power Association is a representing body for renewable energy producers in the UK. Its main aim is to secure UK legislation for the expanding use of renewable energy. Other UK organisations include the Royal Society and Renewable UK.
Existing and emerging technologies play an important role in tackling environmental and sustainability issues.
The Centre for Alternative Technology provides free information on a wide range of topics and a consultancy service on global issues.
The National Academy of Engineering offers an excellent resource for information on leading technologies.
CL:AIRE promotes the regeneration of contaminated sites. Their Technology and Research Group provides appraisals of remediation technologies. They also offer an online training service.