Think Tank and St Pancras Group


The SDF Think Tank has been actively researching and lobbying about the policy, procurement and regulatory framework that affects the built environment. Its most recent activities were undertaken through the work of the St Pancras Group (see below), whose work has now ceased. Prior to that, the SDF Thhink Tank undertook some lobbying activities around a Low Carbon Building Campaign. Further information about these activities is available via the Activities tab above. 

The SDF is currently working on a framework to describe the Sustainability Principles it adopts, and plans to start further research and policy activities through its Think Tank from 2014 onwards. 



RSS for Think Tank Events

This RSS feed will keep you up to date as and when new items are added to the feed, RSS explained. To use them, first identify a feed reader you would like to use, install the reader if not already installed, and then paste the url of the feed into that reader as a new feed. You are also free to use this feed on your website or blog, all links will continue to lead back to the relevant SDF page.

RSS for Think Tank News

This RSS feed will keep you up to date as and when new items are added to the feed, RSS explained. To use them, first identify a feed reader you would like to use, install the reader if not already installed, and then paste the url of the feed into that reader as a new feed. You are also free to use this feed on your website or blog, all links will continue to lead back to the relevant SDF page.

St Pancras Group

The St Pancras Group was convened by Neil May, following discussions with Tadj Oreszczyn at St Pancras about how best the leading experts in the field of sustainable buildings and the built environment might bring some sanity to the legislative programme around sustainability in buildings.   It was felt that the advice of those experts who have been working in this field for many years has not been taken up to now and consequently much of the legislation has been badly conceived and executed. The aim of the St Pancras Group was therefore to address this situation and to propose and actively lobby for better legislation which delivers long term improvements in the sustainability of the built environment in reality.  In the opinion of the Group this requires a radical re-thinking of how we deal with the built environment and how we legislate for this.  It also requires proper independent research and support for learning throughout the sector. 

The group came together in August 2010 and first responded to the call for input into Building Regulations by Andrew Stunnell MP.  It also wrote directly to Grant Shapps MP about the whole sustainable buildings legislation, and was involved in discussions with CLG about this and about the new Local Standards Framework.

 The St Pancras Group members were

  • Jon Bootland (on behalf of the Sustainable Development Foundation)
  • Alan Clarke CEng MSc MEI
  • Chris Herring (as Chair of AECB)
  • Paul Everall (CEO of LABC)
  • Adrian Leaman (Usable Buildings Trust)
  • Neil May (as Chair of the Good Homes Alliance)
  • Nick Grant
  • David Olivier BSc, MInstE, MASHRAE
  • Lynne Sullivan OBE
  • Professor David Strong
  • Peter Warm CEng BSc MInsE

The Group also had the support of

  • Professor Malcolm Bell (of Leeds Metropolitan University)
  • Professor Robert Lowe (of UCL Energy Institute)
  • Professor Tadj Oreszczyn (of UCL Energy Institute)
  • Bill Bordass (Usable Buildings Trust)

Please see these documents for more detail of the approach and why this initiative is necessary at this time:


If you would like more information about the St Pancras Group, please contact Neil May on  or contact the Sustainable Development Foundation.

Low Carbon Buildings Campaign

In October 2005, when the SD Foundation was still being created, there was a groundswell of opinion that climate change had become such an urgent and life-threatening problem that something drastic had to be done to reduce CO2 emissions from the building stock, which were responsible for approximately 50% of all UK emissions.

At the time, the Government was developing policy on the Building Regulations (Part L), the Code for Sustainable Homes and Planning Policy Statements on Climate Change. These policies appeared to offer a once-in-a-generation opportunity to achieve the drastic changes needed, and the SD Foundation team, with others, therefore embarked on a series of letters and user-friendly consultation responses to the emerging policy framework.

Aim of the Campaign
To deliver a steep and rapid reduction in the energy consumed and CO2 emitted during the production, maintenance and operation of new and existing buildings, in line with the requirements of Contraction and Convergence

Initial strategy for the Campaign

  1. Using industry leaders and research by existing campaign groups, identify barriers to the delivery of Low Carbon Buildings
  2. Work with interested parties to identify efficient and effective actions that can be taken by Government and industry to deliver Low Carbon Buildings
  3. Organise opportunities for industry professionals willing to take personal action to campaign for low carbon buildings.

Actions to date
An initial letter was developed on the detailed proposals within the Building Regulations (Part L) consultation document. This was met with enthusiasm and was evenutally submitted to the Government in the name of the SD Foundation, the Green Alliance and the Association of Environment Conscious Building (AECB) with signatures from over 50 industry sustainability leaders. You can download a copy of the letter below.

Further consultation responses followed on the Code for Sustainable Buildings and Planning Policy Statement 3. Again, copies can be downloaded below.

At this stage the whole political and cultural landscape around climate change seemed to undergo a significant moodswing and the amount of activity on Climate Change policy increased dramatically.

The SD Foundation therefore commissioned a review, with support from the Laing Charitable Trust, to identify where it could best focus its activities. This identified that a number of organisations were already promoting low carbon approaches for new homes, and that several key bodies had made public their intention to focus next on the existing housing stock. As a result, the report's authors suggested that the SD Foundation should instead address performance in non-domestic sectors, particularly focusing on schools and healthcare buildings where it had already developed expertise and contacts with clients. Download a copy of the report below.

Since that point, the SD Foundation has been involved in further policy activities for low carbon buildings, including consultation responses on:

The DCSF Zero Carbon Schools Taskforce (download)
The Code for Sustainable Homes Energy requirements (download)
The Zero Carbon Homes definition (download)

Current Activities
The SD Foundation currently delivers its low carbon buildings work through its sector-based programmes for health, housing and schools. Case studies of some low carbon buildings in each sector can be viewed below:

The Plowright Surgery, Swaffham
The Churchill Hospital, Oxford
Lincoln Grove, Bladon.

Related Downloads

SD Foundation Building Regs Letter

SD Foundation response to ODPM Code

SD Foundation PPS3 Response

Low Carbon Buildings Campaign - feasibility report

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