SDF’s work has focused on areas that need systemic change, both across the industry and at a cultural level, and then developing disruptive, collaborative responses about how change can be achieved. We are very proud of the Grand Challenge programmes that have resulted from this approach, which tackle multiple areas across the built environment sector.

The Passivhaus Trust, Alliance for Sustainable Building Products and Good Homes Alliance now operate as independent ‘sister’ organisations. Building Performance Network and Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance are operated within SDF, and SuperHomes is managed in association with National Energy Foundation.

The Alliance for Sustainable Building Products launched in 2011 with a mission to lead transformation to a healthy, low carbon built environment by championing the understanding and use of demonstrably sustainable building products.

ASBP helps foster innovation in sustainable building products, conducts cross-industry research, shares knowledge through events and white-papers and lobbies government and industry on climate change.


Building Performance Network brings together individuals and organisations working to improve building performance in-use, and tackle the performance gap.

The well documented gap in many new build and retrofit projects between designed and in-use performance affects not just energy use and emissions, but also technical performance, occupant satisfaction, operating costs, environmental impact and occupant health. BPN aims to tackle this Grand Challenge by bringing building performance evaluation into the mainstream.


The Good Homes Alliance is tackling the Grand Challenge of providing high quality, sustainable homes and communities, and to transform the whole of the UK housing industry to sustainability.

GHA activities include helping to deliver alternative housing delivery models, research including reduction of overheating in homes, how to target zero carbon and reducing the performance gap between design and as-built performance.


Passivhaus is the leading international low energy design standard for domestic and commercial buildings.

The Passivhaus Trust provides leadership in the Grand Challenge of adoption of the Passivhaus low-energy standard in the UK. Its aim is to promote the principles of Passivhaus as a highly effective way of reducing energy use and carbon emissions from buildings in the UK, as well as providing high standards of comfort.


The SuperHomes network has been created to help achieve net zero emissions by retrofitting one million homes to the SuperHomes standard by 2030.

The SuperHomes network facilitates the exchange of ideas and knowledge sharing, and provides whole-house planning support and advice for anyone proceeding with a domestic retrofit.


The Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance aims focuses on conservation and improvement of traditional buildings, aiming to quantify the benefits and mitigate the risks of both small and large-scale retrofit of traditional buildings.

The STBA’s activities include research and training to increase understanding in all parts of the construction industry, general public and in government regarding the optimal approaches to traditional buildings.


The next grand challenge

The Sustainable Development Foundation is currently working on its next Grand Challenge, with a focus on encouraging a collaborative, strategic approach to the UK’s retrofit challenge. The SDF is working with other thought leaders to determine how a collective approach can be developed to the retrofit of existing buildings across the whole of the UK, possibly in the form of a National Retrofit Task Force, a National Retrofit Centre, or similar.