As an architect with a lifelong commitment to sustainable construction, in 1995 I was fortunate enough to be able to take a sideways step in my career to work as seminar coordinator at the UK’s first environmental building centre, Construction Resources (CR), in London.
At CR, I was basically paid to learn everything about building materials and their impact on the environment and then create seminars to pass this information onto others through the CR seminar programme that I was responsible for…what a luxury!
Richard Handyside, the CEO of CR, encouraged us all to immerse ourselves in the world of alternative, low impact building materials and to teach ourselves about all aspects -extraction, manufacture, distribution, installation and eventually disposal – of said building materials and then spread the word to construction professionals interested in reducing the environmental impact of their building projects.
The CR seminar programme was a great success and we taught many hundreds of construction professionals. But despite this work, what I often witnessed was that building owners visiting CR who wanted to ‘do the right thing’ would commit to specifying sustainable building materials and building services systems but then find a dearth of professionals and contractors with the right knowledge and willingness to carry out this type of work. Additionally, much of the information available on building products was heavily influenced by commercial interests.
Whilst at CR, I identified three main barriers that were preventing the uptake of sustainable building practices:
- A lack of unbiased information on building materials and products that professionals could confidently specify for their projects
- The difficulty that building owners had finding professionals who could deliver sustainable building projects
- Back in 2000, we felt a bit like we were pushing against a fairly tightly closed door and there were few opportunities to network with like-minded individuals
And so I founded The Green Register, a not-for-profit organisation aiming to address these issues. Since 2000, TGR has grown from a small, London based organisation to a national-wide training provider with thousands of building professionals attending our courses each year- we have welcomed 4457 delegates onto our courses over the last 12 months.
22 years later and I am taking another sideways step, this time stepping into a non-executive role at TGR in January 2023 to make way for others to take the organisation to new and interesting heights.
The team at TGR is what has made working not a job but a joy and I have every confidence that TGR will retain its position as a leader in the provision of unbiased training and its excellent reputation will continue to expand and grow…for the next 22 years at least! – Lucy Pedler, Founder