Why Pinpoint rivals Google in the arena of sustainability in the built environment

Google is great, isn’t it? How many times a day do you Google? Once or twice? Or is it likely to be reaching the mid-twenties? So, it was interesting when a colleague commented recently “If you’re on page four of Google you may as well just give up and go home”. We’ve all been there. How many times do you get to the bottom of the second page of results and have that inward sigh, where nothing has caught your eye, and you suspect that your next Google search will be “how to google search”. So, where next?

There are thousands of places to search online when you’re looking to improve your knowledge around sustainability and my team at M&S are always seeking to learn and embed that knowledge to deliver our Plan A Commitments.

There are few key platforms which host information about the built environment or sustainability. However, Pinpoint uniquely serves as a database when you can access resources about sustainability specifically in the built environment. Pinpoint is an initiative led and managed by the UK Green Building Council, sponsored by M&S, and supported by a wide range of industry institutions such as CIBSE, WRAP, RICS and RIBA.

Pinpoint has been live for a year and has a simple premise of: how do you navigate through all the relevant sustainability information? And how do you know what the rest of industry thinks about that information? Pinpoint’s main feature is a text search box. So far, so Google. But it’s the combination of the text search box with a nifty set of filters that allow you to whittle down your results quickly to exactly what you’re looking for that makes Pinpoint quite so useful. Add to that the comments from the Pinpointing discussions, where industry looks in depth at a particular tool, and you have a tailored list of resources relevant to your industry with some key sector insights.

The fact that the major institutions continuously contribute their content adds to the level of trust placed in Pinpoint. But it’s not just the major institutions that have added resources - Pinpoint is open to any organisation wishing to share their own case studies, guidance, tools, reports and events as well. There are now over 1,000 resources on the platform and it is growing daily.

Pinpoint recently went through a design revamp and an upgrade in functionality making it easier to find resources by allowing you to sort by latest, most relevant and most commented resources. The main menu bar now has a “Top Picks” section which looks like it could prove promising as a way of curating lists of resources for particular sectors, such as this list of resources which came out of the recent Embodied Carbon Week series.

Google will never be dispensed with. But if you’re after a library of resources specific to built environment issues, Pinpoint may just be the place to start and help you to avoid that feeling of being all Googled-out.