The Build Better Now events programme follows daily themes of the official COP26 Presidency Programme with a focus on the Built Environment. Featuring speakers from across the global industry with a range of expertise, the programme promises to be an inspiring way to engage with the solutions our buildings can provide. 

Build Better Now events are free and open to a global audience. Please note that the time of all of the events is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

Explore the official Build Better Now programme for COP26 below. For even more ways to engage, you can view a detailed schedule of events led by our partners below. Together, these programmes offer a rich selection of content covering the official COP26 themes and shine the spotlight on sustainability in the built environment.

All of the events will be available on demand within around 24 hours, simply fill in the registration form to access the recording.

A pledge for COP26: The critical role of cities in meeting climate ambitions

November 1, 2021

Monday 1st November, 12-1pm

Cities are big polluters, but many demonstrate real ambitions to cut emissions.  If all cities took action, climate goals can suddenly become more achievable, leading to tangible results. 

Join this event to hear from the cities leading the change. 

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A Human Future: a new skills paradigm for our transition to zero carbon

November 2, 2021

Tuesday 2nd November, 9-10am

Imagine the art of the possible, and consider how industry, policy and skills providers can work together to create a highly skilled and competent workforce that delivers on our net zero ambitions.  

Policy makers, industry leaders and future workforce representatives join forces in this event to explore what is needed to ensure we have the right skills to accelerate our journey to zero carbon. 

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How can smart flexible buildings help us reach net zero?

November 2, 2021

Tuesday 2nd November, 12-1pm

We understand the significant benefits of an energy system transition built on flexibility and optimisation; from greater and locationally specific capacity, they could offer further benefits to networks and to home owners and users.  

Join this panel plenary debate, captured visually by a graphic artist, to unearth the opportunities and challenges of smart and flexible buildings. 

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Building net zero: mobilising capital for a sustainable built environment

November 3, 2021

Wednesday 3rd November, 9-10am

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Decarbonising the UK’s housing stock: finding the £250 billion

November 3, 2021

Wednesday 3rd November, 12-1pm

The UK housing stock is responsible for 23% of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions and, unless these emissions are addressed at pace, the challenge of decarbonising the UK’s built environment could result in a 40% shortfall to our economy-wide decarbonisation targets by 2030.  

This event will offer an insight into the soon-to-be published Heat and Buildings Strategy, followed by a panel discussion on the latest initiatives and innovations by leaders in the finance sector to address the retrofit funding gap. 

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The Retrofit Opportunity

November 4, 2021

Thursday 4th November, 9-10am

The repair, maintenance and improvement of the energy performance of UK’s existing housing stock is essential to meet our climate targets, given that approximately 45% of the UK’s total carbon emissions are a result of energy consumption in buildings. 

This event explores the opportunities of growing the retrofit market and examines the key barriers at both a policy and societal level. This includes a discussion around short-termism policies, lack of awareness and demand by consumers, the imperative of delivering a just transition with no one left behind, and the inherent skills issues associated with delivering retrofit at scale. 

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Sustainable city regions: how can we enable zero-carbon living at scale?

November 4, 2021

Thursday 4th November, 12-1pm

Urgent action to create sustainable city regions is essential to support sustainable, zero-carbon living and to tackle the climate and ecological emergency.  

Using inspirational case studies from leading city regions around the world, this interactive session will enable policy makers, community groups and development professionals to learn from City leaders who have helped to create exemplar built-environment projects. This will include how regional government, communities, and the built environment sector can work together to unlock sustainable living at scale. 

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Empowering young people to become the climate-aware built environment professionals of the future: what do we need to do now?

November 5, 2021

Friday 5th November, 8-9am

As the Built Environment and Infrastructure sectors strive toward meeting net zero carbon objectives, the professions within these sectors – and the skills needed to perform these jobs – will also need to adapt.  

This event will explore the skills that built environment and infrastructure professionals will need to develop to meet net zero goals and the potential barriers to change and how to overcome them. 

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Why circularity should be your route to net zero

November 5, 2021

Friday 5th November, 12-1pm

The emissions associated with the use of cement, steel, aluminium and plastic in the construction and mobility sector accounts for over 10% of global emissions.  

In this session we will explore how to reduce emissions through circular economy principles such as sharing assets and transforming existing buildings, as well as discussing what actions we can take now to enable circularity to become common practice in the built environment. 

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Quantifying the costs of (in)action: the measurement and reporting of physical climate risks to built assets

November 8, 2021

Monday 8th November, 9-10am

Amidst a backdrop of flash floods, Siberian wildfires and the UK’s first ever extreme heat warning, the Climate Change Committee (CCC)’s third Independent Assessment of UK Climate Risk (CCRA3) was released this summer, heeding stark warnings that our lack of action on climate adaptation will bring further socio-economic and environmental risks.  

With the UK Government mandating the Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations, this event will provide an opportunity for attendees to hear and share ideas on the rapidly emerging practice of climate-related financial risk measurement and reporting in relation to physical risks, and what the implications are for their own organisations. 

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Race to Resilience: How to finance the built asset adaptation gap

November 8, 2021

Monday 8th November, 12-1pm

Globally, there will be a $4.1 trillion finance gap for nature by 2050. The annual adaptation costs in developing countries alone are currently estimated to be in the range of $70bn, with this figure set to rise to 280-500bn by 2050. If the Race to Resilience is to be won, it will require a mass upscaling and diversification of both nature and climate-based investment.  

This event will broaden the discussions of climate adaptation and consider how a wide range of solutions can become more investable at scale. It will draw on a range of international perspectives and insights to identify shared solutions and opportunities for overcoming the current finance gap and taking more holistic and unified action against climate change across both the Global North and South. 

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Safe, sustainable & healthy – the relationship between building safety reform, sustainability and wellbeing

November 9, 2021

Tuesday 9th November, 9-10am

The Building Safety Bill is set to re-shape the way the construction industry operates. Its impacts will be broad-ranging: affecting building design, construction, and operation, as well as the way these are regulated. 

This event will consider how safe, human-centred and low carbon design principles can interact under the Building Safety Bill. Our goal is climate conscious buildings that promote wellbeing (beyond preventing disaster), but how can we get there? 

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Innovation at the heart of a zero carbon built environment

November 9, 2021

Tuesday 9th November, 12-1pm

Intelligent use of technology can provide affordable, future-proof, sustainable buildings which perform better for everyone.  

Join us in this event to understand the potential of innovation in the built environment sector and to be introduced to real life case studies leading the way towards the net zero.  

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Designing a green and resilient built environment – what do we need to do now and in the future?

November 10, 2021

Wednesday 10th November, 9-10am

Improving how we design our built environment will be crucial to realising more green and resilient places to live. The issue is multifaceted and covers low carbon design principles, the value we place on natural capital, the codes, standards and regulations that guide decisions on design and the role of alternatives such as low build or no build design solutions. 

Join us in this panel discussion to explore how design can drive action towards achieving net zero carbon, resilient and nature-positive places today and in the future.  

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Planning for transport and connectivity: How do we build holistic net zero and resilient places of the future?

November 10, 2021

Wednesday 10th November, 12-1pm

To reach net zero carbon targets, the way we create and connect places needs to be radically transformed. This will require new ways of designing buildings, reconfiguring our transport systems and ensuring neighbourhoods provide people with the services and facilities they need close to hand. 

Join us in this event to explore the concepts and investigate the reality of delivering successful networks of places for people and planet.  

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Events have been carefully programmed in collaboration with WorldGBC and partners representing the United Nations (UN) to avoid content clashes with the official programme. No events are scheduled for Cities, Regions & Built Environment Day on 11th November. On this day, we will be sharing links to view events live-streamed from COP26 in Glasgow.  

For even more ways to engage, you can view a detailed schedule of events led by our partners below.  


Partner Events

Watch now. Webinar series: Building Natural Connections – driving change across the built environment with a focus on people, nature and climate (CISL)

The series – hosted by Make Architects’ Future Spaces Foundation, in collaboration with the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership – features diverse perspectives from business, policy, finance, academia and civil society. With an audience of investors, developers, asset managers and policymakers, the talks will trigger fresh thinking around how the built environment can deliver a resilient and prosperous future for all.

This series concluded on 13th October. All events are available to watch again online at your convenience.

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Tuesday 12th October, 8.30am - Energy in Property: key features and issues in renewable or low carbon energy in property (Pinsent Masons)

Exploring the various ways in which the real estate sector can acquire low carbon or renewable energy, generated on or off site for their properties. Covering on site renewables, Power Purchase Agreements and heat networks, looking at the advantages and challenges and at the relevant regulatory background.

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Tuesday 12th October, 11am - Sustainable outcomes for the construction industry (The NBS)

In the second episode of the NBS sustainability mini-series, Paul Swaddle, Head of Technical Solutions, will discuss sustainability goals and quality specification in the face of the climate emergency.

The webinar will aim to explain key concepts and look at projects working towards positive outcomes in construction and operation.

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Tuesday 19th October, 8.30am - Net Zero Real Estate - The role of planning, property investment, and management and construction (Pinsent Masons)

Issues arising in property consenting, construction, and property investment and management in the transition to Net Zero, interactions between them, how changing commercial and regulatory landscapes will drive outcomes for real estate developers, owners and investors and what issues/opportunities there are for real estate actors in the transition.

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Tuesday 19th October, 11am - Marketing masterclass: Sustainable marketing (The NBS)

In episode three of the NBS sustainability mini-series, Lee Jones, Head of Manufacturer Solutions at NBS, discusses sustainable marketing. Whether you’re working for an architectural practice, engineering firm, or product manufacturer, we all have a role to play. But how do you raise awareness and proactively promote your sustainability activities and credentials?

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Tuesday 19th, Wednesday 20th & Thursday 21st October, 8.30am - Glasgow's Retrofit Conference (Low Carbon Homes)

Low Carbon Home’s retrofit conference for Glasgow will draw on the soon-to-be-published city-region retrofit feasibility study which considers how best to improve 428,000 homes across the region. Low Carbon Homes’ second event hosted by Glasgow City Council will help foster increased collaboration between government, industry and training providers to help Glasgow realise its ambition to become the UK’s first carbon-neutral city.

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Thursday 21st October, 8.15am - COP26 Academy Conference (Ashurst)

The COP26 Global Climate Conference is fast approaching. If you haven’t had time to read the latest IPCC report, join us to discover the latest from scientists leading the research.

Anna-Marie Slot, Ashurst Global Sustainability/ESG Partner, is delighted to host a discussion with Sir David King, Founder of the Cambridge Centre for Climate Repair and Head of the Climate Crisis Advisory Group and Professor Nerilie Abram of ANU Research School of Earth Sciences.

We invite you to join in our conversation as we delve into the science of Climate Change and why the journey to net zero and net negative is so important for business.

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Thursday 21st October, 9.15am - COP Gloucestershire (Active Building Centre)

Ahead of COP26 in Glasgow, ABC is hosting a COP fringe event in Berkeley, Gloucestershire. We will discuss issues ranging from leadership on the green agenda, the role of the public sector in reaching net zero, to the need for green skills, and how the UK’s construction industry needs to adapt or wither.

Find out how ABC has helped deliver more affordable and environmentally friendly homes & developments, as well as hearing from guests such as, Ecotricity’s Dale Vince and Robert Llewellyn from Fullycharged.

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Tuesday 26th October, 11am - Delivering a sustainable water cycle (The NBS)

Episode four of the NBS sustainability mini-series looks at water, and how the climate emergency requires a better understanding of water sustainability and flood mitigation. Paul Swaddle, Head of Technical Solutions at NBS will consider water usage at global, national, and local scales.

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Wednesday 27th October, 12pm - Built by Nature Launch (Laudes Foundation)

Please join us for the virtual launch of Built by Nature, a new industry transformation network and accelerator fund with a vision for our built environment to work in unison with nature.

Funded by Laudes Foundation, Built by Nature’s mission is to accelerate the timber building transformation – radically reducing embodied carbon in construction; safely storing carbon in our buildings for generations; and sequestering carbon by championing forest stewardship and regeneration.

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Thursday 28th and Friday 29th October, 10am-6pm - Built Environment Summit (RIBA and Architects Declare)

The Built Environment Summit is a global event taking place on 28-29 October following the publication of the Built for the Environment report and ahead of COP26 in Glasgow, which starts on 1 November.

Today 38% of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to the built environment. The summit is a call to action, bringing together professionals from across the international built environment sector to address the urgent need to drive changes in behaviour to reduce carbon emissions.

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Monday 1st - Thursday 11th November 2021 - COP26 Buildings Pavilion (GlobalABC)

The COP26 Buildings Pavilion Programme is a 2-week, packed programme featuring frontrunner companies, countries, cities, networks, and many more on their joint vision from the the Building to COP26 Coalition ‘united towards a zero-emission and efficient and cities for everyone, everywhere.’

Note that this pavilion is in the Blue Zone and can be found in hall 4 (main space) and hall 5 (theatre) – further details on the website.

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Thursday 4th November 2021, 10am - From wheels to meals: a city's food footprint (ReLondon)

45% of damaging greenhouse gas emissions come from the global management of land and the production of goods and food, and these emissions need to be tackled in a way that requires a transformational change in how we make, consume and dispose of ‘stuff’ – they require a global shift to a circular economy.

This event will launch a ground-breaking report by ReLondon and Circle Economy which details the flows of food in and out of London, using a methodology which all cities could use for a variety of material streams. This material flow analysis highlights waste and carbon ‘hot spots’ around the city, providing the data needed to target tangible action on carbon emissions in London.

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Thursday 4th November 2021, 11am - Heat innovation for a cooler tomorrow (Mitsubishi Electric)

An opportunity to hear from leading innovative solutions from Scotland to decarbonise heat. Find out about some of our world leading technologies. See how we are using innovative sources to deploy zero carbon heat. Hear the latest information on how Scotland will tackle public sector buildings and join the discussion.

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Thursday 4th November 2021, 5.30-8pm - UKGBC – Scotland launch, Glasgow (UKGBC)

Join us in Glasgow Thursday 4th November for UKGBC – Scotland’s first launch event. You can expect to hear from UKGBC CEO Julie Hirigoyen and other local speakers. The event will include informal networking and refreshments and snacks will be provided.

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Monday 8th November 2021, 7-9pm - UKGBC – Scotland launch, Edinburgh (UKGBC)

Join us in Edinburgh at 7pm on Monday 8th November for UKGBC – Scotland’s second launch event. Taking place in member Bennetts Associates’ pop-up exhibition SpACE, you can expect to hear from our hosts as well as Julie Hirigoyen and other local speakers. The event will include informal networking, and refreshments and snacks will be provided.  

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Monday 8th November 2021, 6pm - The Race to Net Zero: Why We Need to Plan the World We Need (IStructE)

This face to face and webcasted event will show how planners and planning system across the world are tackling climate change and working to achieve net zero.

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Monday 8th, Tuesday 9th, Wednesday 10th & Thursday 11th November 2021, 5-7pm - Open House Cocktails (JLL)

Join us at our Glasgow office on St Vincent Street for open house cocktails and networking between Monday-Thursday during the second week of COP.

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Wednesday 10th November 2021, 5.30pm - 4-5 Lochside Avenue Talk & Tour (Troup Bywaters + Anders)

With a focus on Sustainable refurbishment towards net zero carbon.

Key elements of the presentation (6:15pm) followed by study tour will include:

  • Reuse of existing building rather than demolition supporting a “RetroFirst” approach
  • Best practice features in terms of ‘Wellness’ agenda
  • All electric zero fossil fuels building meeting objectives for “zero direct emissions” buildings
  • Achieving UK Green Building Council 2025-2030 interim targets for operational energy use
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Thursday 11th November, 8:30am - How do we kick start the renovation revolution? (Rockwool)

We can’t tackle climate change without tackling buildings. Governments recognise that action is needed and COVID-recovery funds are set to stimulate this, but how can we deliver wide-scale retrofitting well? This event presents solutions, drawing on research with UK, US and EU financiers and policy-makers as well as fresh consumer polling.

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Thursday 11th November, 10am-6pm - Onyx Building Open House (Troup Bywaters + Anders)

Join us for topical discussions, refreshments and a series of brief presentations every hour. Please book a timeslot from 10am -6pm to suit your schedule via the ‘Select a Time’ button.

Topics will include:

  • Net Zero Targets to adopt for building projects
  • Approved methodologies for assessing embodied carbon in the built environment sector
  • Refurbishment and repurposing of existing building stock as a Net Zero strategy
  • Proposed changes to Energy Performance standards within the Building Regulations – Scotland + England.
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Thursday 11th November 2021, 6.30pm - Sustainability in the Built Environment (IStructE)

The Institution of Structural Engineers invites you to an open panel discussion on sustainability in the built environment, ongoing activities across the industry, and the impact of this year’s COP26 conference.

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Tuesday 23rd - Friday 26th November 2021 - International Conference on Advancing Net Zero 2021

Themed “Decarbonising High-rise, High-density, Sub-tropical Cities”, the Conference aims to enhance the knowledge of Hong Kong’s building and construction professionals, as well as those from other parts of the world, on the latest concepts, trends, strategies and technical solutions to decarbonise and advance towards a net zero and sustainable built environment in a high-rise, high-density, sub-tropical city context.

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Thursday 25th November and Thursday 2nd December, 2pm - UK Passivhaus Conference: Delivering Net Zero through Passivhaus

Join us this winter for the 2021 UK Passivhaus Conference, dedicated to exploring the latest best practice & delving into cutting edge research developments. After exploring the bigger picture of the climate emergency in Glasgow, we shall be driving down into the technical & practical aspects of putting net-zero pledges into action.

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Delivery Partners

Active Building Centre
ACE Logo
BRE Trust
Building Centre
Construction Innovation Hub
Core Cities UK
Design Council
Existing Homes Alliance Scotland
Federation of Master Builders
Good Homes Alliance
Landscape Institute
National Infrastructure Commission
Passivhaus Trust
Scottish Property Federation
Uni of Edinburgh
Wood for Good

Technical Delivery Partner

Communications Delivery Partner

Commercial Partners

Active Building Centre
Argent LLP
Argent Related
Berkeley Group
BNP Paribas
Bouygues UK
British Land
Building Centre
Buro Happold
Bywater Properties
Carbon Intelligence
Carrier Corporation
CFP Green Buildings
Ecology Building Society
Federated Hermes
Great Portland Estates
Hoare Lea
Howard de Walden
John Sisk & Son
Knight Frank
Lloyds Banking Group
Low Carbon Alliance
Low Carbon Homes
Make Architects
MCS Certified
Mott MacDonald
Oxford Properties
Pinsent Masons
St. Modwen Properties
Turner & Townsend
Willmott Dixon