Public Reports

The following are the public reports and summaries that have been published in relation to the Modern Built Environment:

Please note the following:

  • most of the MBEKTN reports and publications are only available to members of the MBEKTN. If you are not a member of the MBEKTN yet please join our network here
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  • some presentations are large files and may take several minutes to download.

Built Environment

This report discusses the challenges of thermal management of buildings and urban areas in a changing climate. It provides an overview of the challenges faced, identifies current practice and innovation gaps, highlights business opportunities and links to further information. Arup has produced this report on behalf of the Modern Built Environment Knowledge Transfer Network. Information is set out in seven sections: climate change and its impacts; challenges for design and use of buildings; drivers, risk and opportunities; conclusions; references, and relevant examples.

Challenges for water management in a changing climate, April 2010

This report has been produced by CIRIA on behalf of the MBE KTN and in
collaboration with the Environmental Sustainability Knowledge Transfer Network. The report provides an overview of the challenges of water  management in a changing climate by identifying good practice and innovation gaps, highlighting business opportunities and providing links to further information.

It is estimated that up to four million holes are cut into the UK road network each year to install or repair buried service pipes and cables. Failure to identify accurately the location of existing buried assets results in numerous practical problems, costs and dangers for utility owners, contractors and road/rail users. Existing utilities in the UK vary in depth, soil type and size, are made of differing materials, and have varied access. Often the problem is exacerbated in dense urban cities where lack of space introduces the problem of multiple services being found in a single trench. Ageing Victorian services such as water pipes may be found next to newer broadband and other optic fibre cables, with the latter being significantly smaller and a lot more difficult to locate with traditional non-invasive service locating technologies.

With 50% of emissions coming from the built environment, SEMBE is the first comprehensive, futures examination of energy systems in the built environment and is based on a significant scientific evidence base (200 experts and around 60, peer-reviewed State of Science papers).  It was written by an academic panel of eight scientific experts.  The Project seeks to understand how the development of UK society over the next 50 years may guide the built environment towards lower carbon energy systems.

This report by the Global Climate Change Group identifies the key role that ICT systems play in delivering a low carbon economy.  Smart buildings are identified as a key area where ICT can provide $340.8 billion of energy savings globally.

The Strategy for Sustainable Construction is a joint industry and Government initiative intended to promote leadership and behavioural change, as well as delivering benefits to both the construction industry and the wider economy.


Building Knowledge for a Changing Climate: Collaborative research to understand and adapt to the impacts of climate change on the built environment, infrastructure and utilities.

BERR's Strategy for Sustainable Construction report provides impetus for widespread long-term improvement in sector’s performance. The report discusses challenges in light of current economic downturn, the drive to embed best practice, and to ensure the transfer of learning from frequent to infrequent clients.

  • Rethinking Construction – The Egan Report

Construction Task Force reports on ways to improve the quality and efficiency in the UK construction industry.  The report identifies five key drivers of change for radical improvement in the construction process and proposes processes in order to sustain improvement and share learning.

The National Platform for the Built Environment's report has identified – from an industry-led perspective – what types of information, communication and automation technologies are needed, in order to efficiently create and reuse information throughout the design, construction and whole life management of built assets.

This CABE Space briefing sets out lessons learned both in the UK and around the world from using public spaces to help adapt to the climate crisis. This publication also includes case studies and a checklist.

The aim of this proposed project work is to develop a time series of input-output tables for the UK by using an automated data optimisation procedure. This procedure allows the construction of national input-output and environmental databases, in the greatest possible sector disaggregation and can be used for a multi-region environmental input-output model in the future.

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing society today – both for the international community and the UK. The debate about the causes is over: we now know that the planet has warmed largely due to human activity.

This Report sets out in more detail what we have done and looks forward to what needs to be done over the coming year. The introduction of carbon budgets (result of the Climate Change Bill) will help tackle climate change and ensure that we are on the right track to meeting our 2050 target.

Commercial Buildings

The NHS Sustainable Development Unit has launched its NHS Carbon Reduction Strategy for England "Saving Carbon, Improving Health".  This report, which was produced with strategic input from the MBE KTN, sets out the key areas for action to deliver a low carbon and sustainable NHS.  The built environment which contributes 22% of the NHS carbon footprint is identified as a key target towards the delivery of a low carbon NHS. The document proposes launching a taskforce to develop a blueprint for optimum low caron healthcare buildings.  The MBE KTN will continue to work closely with the NHS Sustainable Development Unit to help deliver on this strategy.

  • Carbon Reductions in Non-Domestic Buildings

UK Green Buildings Council's report investigates the opportunities for achieving zero carbon in new non domestic buildings. Following on from the targets set out in the Code for Sustainable Homes to achieve radical emissions reductions in new homes; this report aims to add to the understanding of whether similar targets in the commercial sector can be set and achieved and in what timescale.

This report, by the All Party Parliamentary Urban Development Group, looks at what needs to be done by both the public and private sectors to reduce the energy use of cities’ existing non-domestic buildings. It focuses on three key barriers: the availability of information; the economics of retrofitting (including the owner/occupier responsibility dilemma); and physical barriers such as the age and location of buildings.

Education Buildings

  • Building Colleges for the Future - LSC's National Capital Strategy for 2008-9 to 2010-11

This document describes how the Learning and Skills Council’s capital programme will support the delivery of the organisation’s key aims and priorities through a £2.3 billion project over the next three years.
Sustainable Schools - Getting it Right -British Council for School Environments
The document addresses the issue of sustainability, identifying features which either helped recently constructed 'sustainable schools' to be more sustainable in use, or which led to difficulties in achieving good performance.


ICE will be issuing a series of detailed energy briefings throughout 2009 aimed at government and the energy industry. These briefings offer ICE’s suggestions for changes in key areas of the energy sector. This first paper provides background on the UK’s recent energy history and current situation and outlines ICE’s strategic level priorities for action.

This BSRIA publication is the ideal primer for understanding the wide variety of innovative systems that provide cleaner and less environmentally damaging ways of heating, cooling and powering buildings. It describes major technologies that can be incorporated into new and existing buildings, along with their operational characteristics, maintenance requirements, and an idea of the possible savings in carbon dioxide emissions.

This study is the culmination of 18 months research by the Met Office and Entec regarding the potentail of small-scale wind energy in the UK.  It has found that the majority of carbon savings are available from small turbines in rural areas.  In addition a   technical supplement has been published, which provides a review of existing scientific literature and engineering methods for calculating energy yields.

The Digest provides essential information for everyone and contains extensive tables, charts and commentary covering all the major aspects of energy, including separate sections on petroleum, gas, coal and electricity. It provides a detailed and comprehensive picture of energy production and use over the last five years, with key series taken back to 1970.

This digest contains a range of indicators to show the progress made in implementing the four goals of energy policy, and is structured in two sections: Key Indicators and Supporting Indicators.

This report shows statistics to produce a comprehensive review of energy consumption in the UK since the 1970s. It describes the key trends in energy consumption with focus on trends since 1990. It includes an analysis of factors driving the changes in energy consumption, the impact of increasing activity, increased efficiency, and structural change in the economy, detailed tables are available in Energy Consumption tables.

This Guidance Module was completed by the SHINE Sustainable Healthcare Network in partnership with MBE KTN.  It summarises energy & sustainability innovations applied in a number of healthcare projects, exploring both their successes and limitations and also examining the key steps that are required to make innovative approaches work.

Housing/ Domestic

This report summarises thecomplete analysis addressing a number of key issues including how retrofit can realistically help with the UK's low carbon targets, capturing the occupant's experience of retrofit delivery and installed measures, how these can add value to improve comfort in the home and how the supply chain needs to be developed in order to deliver retrofit at scale.

This report reviews the current state of the UK housing market and identifies some of the challenges it faces. There is a review of current application of Fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) composites in housing discussed. Developments overseas, particularly in the US, are illustrated and the potential impact these could have on the UK industry.

This report steps back from futuristic visions of smart homes to look at what technology can offer us in the homes that we live in today. The domestic sector is responsible for twenty seven per cent of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions and smart features can help to address this challenge and to teach homes to be green.

England’s housebuilding industry needs to be capable of delivering 240,000 homes a year by 2016. This review has concluded that given sufficient land, and subject to recommendations, the industry and its supply chain has the capacity to meet the Government’s objectives on volume, quality, environmental performance and affordability.

The Code sets a single national standard within which the home building industry can design and construct homes to higher environmental standards. The Code is a tool for developers and gives new homebuyers information about environmental impacts, potential running costs and an assessment process.

Three Regions Climate Change Group (London, the East and the South East of England) reports on a study showing that it is possible and cost effective to increase the resilience of the existing housing stock. Mitigation and adaptation measures can be successfully integrated to reduce CO2.


Environment Secretary Hilary Benn has published a report outlining the progress Government has made in implementing the recommendations contained in the Pitt Review into the 2007 floods. The report comes six months after Sir Michael Pitt’s review, published in December 2008, in which he made 92 recommendations to improve the UK’s preparation, management and response to severe flooding.

This first edition presents the results of econometric modeling and focuses on a medium-term view of transport infrastructure investment in 30 European countries.

This is an independent, thorough review of the flooding emergency that took place in 2007. It discusses what happened, what to do differently, lessons learned and where change is needed. It includes the views shared from over 1,000 professionals from relevant fields and indepth discussions with key organisations.

This report outlines the strategic views of ICE on flood risk management. It makes recommendations to improve infrastructure, how to deal with future flood risks, how to improve coordination of planning and funding, and how to improve the speed and quality of emergency response to major events.

Water UK's report on more long-term topics that arose in analysis of the floods. The primary learning points and recommendations from this report concern climate change and the uncertainties of weather; protecting water industry services from disruption and from flooding; and improving drainage and surface water management. 

The Review Group on Flooding has now completed its work and recommends that the Water UK Flooding Implementation Group assumes responsibility for the implementation of recommendations and conclusions on behalf of the water industry.

ICE has  conducted an inquiry into the defence of the UK´s critical infrastructure. In the course of the investigation ICE gathered oral and written evidence from many major infrastructure asset owners, operators, agencies, service providers and civil engineering consultants and contractors. This report addresses the main threats to our infrastructure: system failure, climate change and terrorism.


The corporate-level roadmap is a research project plan, covering both strategic and technical level objectives. This booklet includes the first roadmaps developed across Arup sectors, tracking our future needs and priorities in 11 subjects. Arup roadmaps allow us to plan our research activity on a regional or sector basis, against overarching trends: market, environmental, societal, industry and business.

Business and government alike acknowledge that innovation is essential for the future of our economy, to maintain and build our position in the face of global competition. It is a hot topic, as evidenced by this publication. But there is much more at stake; not only is innovation key to prosperity, it is vital in addressing many of the major issues that face us as a society.