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.

Within the SDF’s Sustainable Buildings Alliance, the Passivhaus Trust, Alliance for Sustainable Building Products, Building Performance Network and Good Homes Alliance now operate as independent ‘sister’ organisations. The STBA (Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance) is operated within SDF, and the SDF also hosts the National Retrofit Hub, which launched in 2023.

The SDF has also supported the development of the SuperHomes network and LETI (the Low Energy Transformation Initiative).

Sustainable Buildings Alliance organisations

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.

The National Retrofit Hub will address the complex challenges of retrofit, by engaging with and bringing together all stakeholders across the UK to share knowledge and support local retrofit delivery. It will be a non-profit programme working collaboratively across the retrofit sector; the SDF is hosting the Hub during its startup phase.

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 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.

Partner Grand Challenges

LETI (Low Energy Transformation Initiative) is a voluntary network of over 1,000 built environment professionals, working together to put the UK and the planet on the path to a zero carbon future.

Their vision is to understand and clarify what this means in the built environment and develop the actions needed to meet the UK climate change targets.

Superhomes logo

The SuperHomes network has been created to help achieve net zero emissions by retrofitting one million homes to the SuperHomes standard by 2030. The network facilitates the exchange of ideas and knowledge sharing, and provides whole-house planning support and advice for anyone proceeding with a domestic retrofit.

SuperHomes is owned and managed by the National Energy Foundation. SDF helped with its redevelopment in 2020 – 2021.

The next grand challenge: Sustainable Buildings Academy

The Sustainable Development Foundation is currently working on its next Grand Challenge, with a focus on encouraging a collaborative approach to the skills needed to deliver high performance sustainable buidings. The SDF is working with other sector leaders to develop a Sustainable Buildings Academy that will provide access to a multitude of high performance training resources.