Building and construction practices can be wasteful and are not sustainable. They have a big impact on carbon emissions. If the nation is going to collectively reach net zero by 2030 the construction industry also needs to play its part in reducing its carbon footprint.
These are the global forward-thinking initiatives and projects making the construction industry more sustainable.
The Green Construction Board
This community interest company was set up to push the ‘Low Carbon Construction Action Plan’ and champion the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from infrastructure, housing, and non-domestic building projects.
The board members include senior government officials and industry leaders who push through green construction issues, advise on policy, and promote UK achievements in sustainable construction and property building. In November 2021 the Board announced the possible introduction of ‘energy usage intensity targets’ for all new builds from 2025 to help meet the net zero target.
Sustainable road and highway building
Tarmac, a name synonymous with road building since the early 1900s, has developed a product and a guide to help do it sustainably. The guide includes which materials are low carbon, how to reduce and recycle more during building, and the benefits of Tarmac’s Rubber Modified Asphalt which is made from 500 used car tyres every kilometre of road.
Cement is an essential building material but every tonne manufactured emits almost one tonne of CO2. Innovators have been working on sustainable alternatives to cement production for years, even developing cement that absorbs pollution, and now an Australian construction company has created a type of green cement created from industrial waste from the steel industry, reducing carbon emissions by 90%.
Atelier’s Carbonlite Challenge will fund the building of six ‘ultra-sustainable’ homes in South London designed to improve biodiversity. The houses will be built with ‘green roofs’, built-in bat boxes, use all sustainable materials, and feature triple glazing and an airtight construction to reduce the occupants’ energy consumption. The builders will also minimise waste and use sustainable building methods.
£440 million for sustainable construction projects
In October 2021 the government allocated £440m in funding for developments that reduce carbon emissions. This includes £180m to develop a sustainable aviation fuel from plants, £140m for two carbon capture clusters for hydrogen production, and £120m for small modular reactors to be built in factories.
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