The construction industry is one of the biggest emitters of carbon dioxide globally. With the focus of the world shifting towards sustainability and reducing the carbon footprint, it has never been more important for the industry to change for the better. In the UK, the goal is to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030 and the construction industry is looking for ways to adapt and evolve to meet the changing requirements. In other countries, like Canada and New Zealand, the switch in the industry towards sustainable construction is well underway.
We consulted some of the top experts about sustainability in the construction industry. These experts were:
· Dr Jamal Alabid, the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Associate in Thermal Performance and Building Envelopes at Robert Gordon University/ Kishorn Specialist Contractors Ltd,
· Dr Syeda Zainab, the Sustainable Technology Services Manager of Wates Group,
· Hamid Vossoughi, the Senior Principal, Building Sciences, WSP,
· David Davenport, the Director of DJJ Supply Chain Solutions Ltd,
· Nick Haughton, the Head of Marketing UK & Global at Sapphire Balconies Ltd,
· Dr Rochelle Ade of The Green Building Whistleblower,
· Joe Innocente, Business Development Manager, North America, at
Sapphire Balconies Ltd,
· Lukas Thiel, Partner, at White Arkitecter
· Amir Hassan, Building Science Manager at EXP.
Here are the key highlights from their discussion:
Construction Materials and Embodied Carbon
When it comes to selecting the right materials for construction, it is important to look at various factors such as the life cycle of the product, the embodied carbon and its use in the industry, and whether it can be recycled in the future. Those factors need to be taken into consideration when selecting the right materials to achieve net zero targets.
Thermal Bridging and Carbon Emissions
The biggest cause of high carbon emissions in the industry is thermal bridging as it leads to heat and energy loss in buildings. Thermal bridging can also cause discomfort to residents if not dealt with early on. Designing buildings with fewer thermal breaks is essential to create energy efficient and sustainable buildings.
The Industry and Carbon Goals
The construction industry in both the UK and Canada is moving towards achieving net zero carbon emissions. In Canada, the National Energy code requires that buildings need to be ready for net zero by 2030. Similarly, in the UK, the industry is being driven by the Committee on Climate Change and so far, the country is on track with the goals set by the Committee. But the targets are being changed, so the industry needs to do better to meet the new targets set by the Committee.
Energy Efficiency and The Construction Industry
Building energy efficient buildings is vital to achieve net zero goals in the industry. In countries like Canada, where the cost of electricity is really low, the industry is going to make these changes intentionally in order to reach the net zero goals in the country.
Current Blockers in the Industry
While the legislation in the UK and Canada is changing to ensure the switch towards sustainable construction, there are a number of factors blocking the change. The major one is the lack of understanding in the industry and the reluctance to trust innovation and modernisation. The industry needs to work towards creating awareness and ensuring stakeholder buy-in in order to achieve carbon goals. Additionally, the switch will require financial resources and research on products and design requirements to promote net zero emissions.
Watch the recording of our live event here to learn from industry leaders on sustainability in the construction industry and the way forward.