Sustainable Construction / Solar Pannels

Sustainable construction

The construction industry is one of the largest sectors when it comes to using materials and having an impact on the environment and there is a huge push on sustainable construction, with the aim of becoming net zero by 2050 looming over all developments. But what are the keys to sustainable construction and what challenges are we going face trying to achieve the ambitious goal of becoming net zero by 2050.

 

Why sustainability in construction matters

The construction industry is at the forefront of building new societies and creating the future world we live in. Due to the constant need for construction and the impact it has on the future of our planet, making the construction industry sustainable is vital for the future health of our planet.

In fact, the building and construction industry accounts for an incredible 40% of CO2 emissions and according to the Supply Chain Sustainability School, building and construction works in countries which are part of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) use:

  • 25-40% of total energy
  • 30% of raw materials
  • 30-40% of global greenhouse gas emissions
  • 30-40% of solid waste generation.

 

Building a sustainable construction industry

 

To create a truly sustainable construction industry the first step that needs to be taken is the sourcing of materials and making sure that where

Sustainable Construction, Low angle green apartments

possible the materials used to build our future have come in some capacity from our past, such as recycled materials. As mentioned previously, construction is responsible for 25-40% of the worlds energy usage and therefore finding a renewal energy source is another big step in helping to create a sustainable site.

During projects themselves, care must be taken regarding waste, not just the amount of waste but also how it is being disposed. Can the materials be recycled and used further down the line? Is there a way in which we can dispose of the materials in a less impactful way to the environment? These are questions you should be considering if you’re responsible for the removal of materials.

You should also consider how you’re impacting the environment whilst carry out work such as creating dust, destroying natural habitat and the energy consumptions you’re using. The thought of sustainable construction is to create an environmentally friendly construction site and well as finished project.

 

What are the challenges?

Adapting to these new methods is something that is going to take time and won’t happen overnight. Not only will they take time to implement and change, but they are also expensive. Using renewal materials and sourcing renewable energy all comes at great costs and although might save you money in the long run, businesses will often take a large financial hit to change from the current processes.

 

Government plans

Sustainable Construction - turning down CO2 dial

Building a sustainable future is something the UK government is doing its best to tackle. They have set out plans which would see the United Kingdom be net-zero in carbon emissions by 2050. The ‘net zero’ plan would see any emissions balanced by schemes to offset an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, such as planting trees or using technology like carbon capture and storage to negate the negative effects if CO2.

As part of this initiative all homes and businesses will have to meet rigorous new energy efficiency standards to lower energy consumption and bills, helping to protect the environment.

These new standards include radically improving the energy performance of new homes with low carbon heating, reduce emissions and be zero carbon ready by 2025. This would see roughly a 75-80% reduction in carbon emissions to the current level of housing.

Existing homes will also be subject to higher standards. There will be significant improvement on the standard for extensions, making homes warmer and reducing bills. The requirement for replacement, repairs and parts to be more energy efficient, including windows and building services such as heat pumps and fixed lighting.

Closed due to Cornavirus

COVID-19: urgent clarification on new government restrictions

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement regarding COVID-19 isolation policies on 23 March, we’ve had many calls from business owners, concerned that the new, stricter measures announced by the government will mean that they have to shut their business for the next three weeks.

We wanted to take this opportunity to reassure that this is not the case. Under the latest instruction, travelling to and from work is an acceptable reason to leave home, provided that the work absolutely can’t be done from your home. Even then, you should minimise the time spent outside of the home and practice social distancing by staying two metres apart from people outside of your household.

The list of additional businesses which must now close is as follows:

  • All non-essential retail stores – this will include clothing and electronics stores; hair, beauty and nail salons; and outdoor and indoor markets, excluding food markets.
  • Libraries, community centres, and youth centres.
  • Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, arcades and soft play facilities.
  • Communal places within parks, such as playgrounds, sports courts and outdoor gyms.
  • Places of worship, except for funerals attended by immediate families.
  • Hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, caravan parks, and boarding houses for commercial/leisure use (excluding permanent residents and key workers).

There are 2 exceptions to the rule that there should be no public gatherings of more than 2 people.

  1. Gatherings of members who live in the same household
  2. Where the gathering is essential for work purposes – but workers should be trying to minimise all meetings and other gatherings in the workplace.

Earlier this morning, following some confusion, UK Housing Minister Robert Jenrick confirmed that builders can carry on working, but only where absolutely necessary and must practice social distancing. Plumbers are also allowed to visit homes but must not be in the same room as the people living in the house at any one time.

The government guidance on this remains brief. If you’d like to read their full advice, you can find it here.

The spread of COVID-19 in the UK, and the government measures to tackle it, are fast-paced and ever-changing. We understand that this can be overwhelming for many business owners as we face a time of unprecedented change.

The experts at our sister company, Citation are following these updates closely and are working hard to bring you updates, guidance and clarification as they happen. Keep an eye on our latest articles, free resources and social media for regular updates.

If you’re a Citation client, they’re here to help, guide you and reassure you on how these changes will affect your business. You can call their experts on our 24/7 advice line on 0345 844 4848.

If you’re not yet a client of theirs and you want to discuss how these measures will affect your business, and what they can do to help, give their friendly team a call on 0345 844 1111.