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Sustainability remains a topical theme, but willingness to invest remains low

For years, sustainability has been high on the agenda of many companies in the construction sector. And that makes sense, as construction is one of the industries that contribute large shares of waste and depletion of natural resources. All the more reason for stakeholders in construction to find ways to reduce these shares. Over the years, sustainability has gained importance and has become more intertwined with for instance the decision-making process for materials to be used. Despite the rising demand for sustainable solutions, the willingness to invest in these remains low. That is one of the findings of the European Architectural Barometer Q4 report, which is focused on sustainability and circularity in construction. This research was conducted by USP Marketing Consultancy among architectural companies in 8 European countries.

Sustainability remains a topical theme, but willingness to invest remains low
European Architectural Barometer Q4 2020 – USP Marketing Consultancy

Sustainability plays a role in British and Dutch architects’ projects the most

The extent to which sustainability plays a role in projects of European architects varies a lot. However, in all countries but Poland a majority of the architects is involved in projects in which sustainability is one of the aspects that plays a role in the design. What stands out is that a third of Polish architects reported in 2020 to be still not really aware of the concept of sustainability. In this, Polish architects are lagging behind the other countries. The Netherlands and the UK, on the other hand, are ahead of the other countries. There, over three quarters of architects are actively involved in projects in which sustainability plays a role, quite a lot more than in the other six countries.  

Despite the role sustainability plays in projects, principals are not always willing to invest

In many European countries the effect of sustainable solutions being taken into account in many projects is evident. But in many cases, architects will have to propose solutions that are not more expensive than other less sustainable solutions. The willingness to invest in sustainability in projects still remains low among principals. No significant development can be seen in this yet. Architects in all European countries experience a demand for sustainable solutions from these parties, but only one in five principals also seems willing to invest in them. The willingness to invest is relatively high in the Netherlands, the UK and Belgium, which provides a plausible explanation for Dutch and British architects being more involved in projects in which sustainability plays a role.

For more information on a country level we refer you to the European Architectural Barometer Q4 2020: Sustainability & Circularity