Building a Sustainable Future: The Vital Role of Construction in Combating Climate Change
Climate change impacts on all our lives, but the construction industry stands at the forefront of providing solutions to this global crisis. In the words of Phil Holding, Managing Director at Horizon Construction, it is clear that transformative change is not just an option but an imperative:
“The built environment and construction sector account for a staggering 38% of global carbon emissions. To put it into perspective, the industry erects the equivalent of a city the size of Paris every week worldwide. This level of construction is undeniably unsustainable for the well-being of our planet, unless we usher in systemic changes to our construction methods.”
– Feb 2023
The urgency to act cannot be overstated. The UK government has a commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. In pursuit of this goal, the construction sector is a pivotal force, grappling with some of the most complex challenges. These include re-evaluating the materials we employ, changing our heating and cooling systems, and re-imagining the lighting solutions integrated into our buildings and infrastructure projects.
As members of this industry, the My Build My Way team finds itself on the cusp of a critical decade. It is a decade that demands profound adjustments in our operational practices. Collectively, we hold the future of our planet in our hands, and it is our responsibility to reshape the landscape of construction to ensure global temperatures remain under two degrees celsius.
Pioneering Sustainable Change in Construction
In the pursuit of substantial change, government leadership plays an indispensable role. Over the past decade, there have been a number of changes introduced that implement a policy of decarbonisation which encompasses every part of the construction industry. These measures are strategically engineered to enhance sustainability through a comprehensive approach involving planning, taxation, and construction requirements:
- Reducing the Carbon Footprint of Building Materials. An essential component of this transformation is the reduction of carbon intensity in the production process of building materials. The government has championed this initiative to steer the industry towards more environmentally responsible sourcing and manufacturing.
- Promoting Climate-Smart, Low-Energy Solutions. The government has actively advocated for the implementation of climate-smart, low-energy consumption practices in both the planning and construction of buildings and infrastructure. This includes the integration of clean energy technologies that align with a sustainable future.
- Fostering Recyclability and Eco-Friendly Disposables. In alignment with the broader sustainability drive, measures have been taken to encourage the design and use of materials that are more readily recyclable and environmentally friendly. This encompasses the entire lifecycle of materials, including robust recycling programs to manage construction waste effectively.
These government-led initiatives represent a pivotal shift towards a more sustainable and environmentally conscious construction industry.
The Construction Industry’s Path to Net Zero
The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has embarked on a dynamic journey, encapsulated in their regularly updated Net Zero Action Plan. This blueprint lays out the steps being taken by the industry to align with the ambitious 2050 net-zero emissions goal. Within this comprehensive framework, there are four distinct areas of focus:
- Research and Analysis. At the core of the CITB’s mission lies the imperative of understanding the evolving skills required by the industry. Through in-depth research and analysis, the aim is to not only anticipate but also to proactively respond to the industry’s ever-shifting skill demands.
- Standards and Guidelines. Clarity is a cornerstone of progress. The CITB is committed to crafting robust standards and guidelines that resonate across the industry, enlightening builders, laborers, and training providers. These standards serve as the stepping stones to attain recognised qualifications, facilitating a more sustainable and efficient construction landscape.
- Training Investment. Investment in knowledge and skill development is an essential part of the strategy. The CITB is dedicated to ensuring that the right skills are not only available but accessible in the right place. By investing in training, they will equip our workforce with the competencies needed to navigate the changing tides of construction.
- Collaboration. To create an enduring impact, the CITB recognises the value of collaboration. They are actively engaged with governments and industry partners, working hand in hand to establish the necessary support systems and investments.
As builders and industry professionals, we are the architects of change, and our dedication to these four pillars of action can help us build not just for today, but for the sustainable world of tomorrow.
Inspirational Construction Projects
Every building contractor knows that the journey toward sustainable construction is often more easily said than done. Invariably, the feasibility of a sustainable build hinges on the attitudes – and budgets – of clients. The good news, however, is that we are witnessing a transformation in client attitudes, paving the way for buildings that harmoniously blend eco-friendliness into their design, construction, and operation.
Developers are increasingly recognising that embracing sustainability not only burnishes their business reputation but also amplifies market value. It enhances the allure of a project to customers, investors, and employees alike. In the bustling heart of London, several remarkable construction projects exemplify this shift towards sustainable development, offering us a glimpse into the future:
- Blackfriars Crown Court. Situated in the heart of London, Blackfriars Crown Court is poised to become the city’s greenest office block. Notably, it boasts a lush forest adorning its roof, marking the capital’s first such venture. This all-electric marvel is engineered to achieve net-zero status concerning both construction and operation. What’s more, the project is championing sustainability by employing reclaimed steel from demolition waste. Read more
- 11 Belgrave Road. A Pimlico office building dating back to the 1950s, 11 Belgrave Road is in the midst of a transformation towards becoming a net-zero office in terms of both construction and operation. Its innovative design surpasses the RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge target by a remarkable 38%. This project endeavours to reduce its carbon footprint by retaining much of the existing concrete structure while introducing enhancements such as garden courts, new facades, and roof terraces. Read more
- The William. A mixed-use development in Bayswater, known as The William, is set to revitalise The Queensway with a distinct sustainable touch. What sets this project apart is its pioneering use of cross-laminated timber, making it London’s first office building of its kind. As part of a High Streets improvement scheme, it will offer six floors of office space alongside shops and 32 new homes, 11 of which will be designated as affordable housing. Read more
These projects not only inspire but also serve as beacons of hope for the future. They demonstrate that sustainability and construction can coexist harmoniously, pushing the boundaries of eco-friendliness and innovation while redefining the architectural landscape of London.
Work With My Build My Way
My Build My Way has a clearly defined goal; to improve the residential building sector. Having spent years in the construction industry, we know the kind of challenges that builders face every day.
At My Build My Way we provide high-quality home improvement leads to contractors and peace-of-mind to homeowners. Our promise to builders is simple – we’ve got your back. We pre-qualify every project we offer, guaranteeing top-quality leads and minimising your risk.
Want to find out more about My Build My Way? Call us today to talk to one of our team – 0333 772 2356