In 2021, LQ BID (an independent not for profit company) launched Northern Ireland's first sustainable district, in Belfast, with a series of ten initiatives to make the Linen Quarter the most sustainable business area in the region.
Building on the launch, we organised RE[act] Festival, a completely new NI festival that sought to inspire and lead a more sustainable Belfast (and Northern Ireland). The festival showcased a green building report commissioned by Linen Quarter BID that illustrates the practical and commercial benefits derived from moving towards a sustainable built environment.
The launch of our green building report at Bedford House (a nine-story tower block) in Belfast city centre highlighted their sustainability journey and what more can be achieved. The report also highlights how we can retrofit similar buildings across Belfast to help create a more sustainable city. We also address related issues – such as tenant requirements, circular fit outs and supply chains – and provide a template to help those in the building industry become more efficient, sustainable and profitable.
During this green buildings event, our business audience heard from the report's authors and from invited speakers about the commercial, social and environmental benefits of building sustainably and sustainable buildings.
It has become clear in Belfast's transition to a sustainable city that the built environment, not least in our city’s centre, plays an important role in the future growth of the region, the success of its businesses and in the creation of future jobs and opportunities.
The RE[act] team wanted to illustrate in a very practical way the 'true' commercial and social benefits of a green built environment – starting with our city offices – and so we commissioned an illustrative report on one of Belfast's land marked office blocks, Bedford House. The concept behind the visual report was to illustrate the environmental and social benefits and returns to other office block owners and tenants. We wanted to produce a document with enough detailed evidence to offer credibility while being accessible enough for others to follow in the city. We achieved both.
We would recommend that other cities/regions do the same: take one well-known city office block and use it as a credible case study to support more green office space as well as the wider returns from the transition towards sustainable urban living.