In today’s post, we look into how constructions are becoming more sustainable and eco-friendly. Construction that produces net-zero carbon emissions is gaining progress. The UK has defined two consecutive quarters of decrease, and Architects expect that sectors are also decreasing and the UK is in recession. The oldest lido in the United Kingdom, which has been out of service for close to four decades, has been brought back to its former grandeur.
Buildings are becoming more sustainable
Sustainable construction is slowly improving the environment. UK construction projects use sustainable practices.
Construction agencies and contractors must use regenerative materials, environmental legislation, and waste minimization to build sustainably. Bigger brands have been implementing measures to promote sustainability and reduce environmental risk.
BT, Apple, and M&S have implemented strategies to limit their environmental effects. Most brands adopt environmentally-friendly methods, whether through charities, products, or structures.
Construction uses 36% of world energy. The building industry’s energy use can have a large impact on the environment.
Sustainability allows all types of building projects to minimise energy use.
The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) address climate change. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development gives a detailed framework for peace and prosperity for the planet and the people, outlining 17 SDGs.
OECD implements sustainability in schools, buildings, and construction projects in different countries (OECD). These initiatives require 25% to 40% of total energy, 30% raw materials, 30-40% of world greenhouse gas emissions, and 30%-40% solid waste regeneration (according to Supply Chain Sustainability School). This figure highlights the necessity of sustainable construction, the percentage needed to power environmentally-friendly resources, and the construction sector’s progress throughout the years.
The World Green Construction Council (WorldGBC) believes green building may contribute to the UN’s SDGs and has developed ideas for green offices to satisfy various SDGs. Eden, one of the UK’s greenest office buildings, was designed as a template for sustainable structures throughout the country.
In addition, rules ensure consistent and effective environmental practices for construction projects.
BRE’s Environmental Assessment Method
This law, also known as BREEAM, employs a grading scale to examine buildings’ design, construction, and use in the UK. This improves the sustainable performance of UK buildings by recognising their environmental contributions.
The Microgaming Office (UK) received a BREEAM “excellent” grade and 71.3%. This certification was given due to the company’s commitment to a low-carbon economy. Micrograming’s facility has integrated sustainable practices such as knowledge exchange of appropriate recycling schemes, increased understanding and group responsibility of eco-activities, and measurement of waste streams, transport, office supplies, and more.
ISO14001 helps companies grow
ISO14001 is an international standard that certifies organisations’ environmental management systems. The standard helps companies achieve their sustainable goals by requiring excellent environmental performance in their facilities.
This certification aligns environmental goals with corporate strategy. Advisera says this level demonstrates legislative compliance, waste reduction, and responsible purchasing.
CSR, aka (CSR)
CSR refers to a business’s self-regulation for the improvement of communities and societies. Environmental and social measures increase brand perception and appeal to customers, employees, and investors.
Johnson & Johnson has recently concentrated on decreasing its environmental effect by using wind power and providing safe water. The company’s commitment to seek alternative energy options has made its image attractive and will for years to come.
Eco-friendly residences, properties, and businesses
We’ve highlighted certain firms’ sustainable initiatives, but the public has also begun to value eco-consciousness.
As everyone knows, the UK housebuilding industry and market are in high demand, and the Government is striving to increase homes across the UK under its sustainable communities strategy (particularly in the South East).
In addition to increasing housing demand, the UK’s environmental rationale for sustainable dwellings is clear. Our energy demand is rising, and houses account for 30% of the UK’s overall energy use, 27% of carbon dioxide emissions, and 25% of greenhouse gas emissions.
Implementing sustainability in houses is vital. According to Open Access Government, two-thirds of millennials globally want to buy “as many eco-friendly products as they can” and are “prepared to pay more for products and services from enterprises devoted to positive social responsibility.”
There’s also evidence that eco-friendly homes are gaining popularity in the UK. Due to high demand, the country plans to build over 30,000 low-carbon, smart homes and 500 low-energy dwellings (according to the founder of Citu).
Using Google Trends, we can also see that searches for “eco-homes” are on the edge of breakouts, indicating they’ve expanded by 500% in the last 5 years. Many are already considering eco-homes and hope to buy one in their lifetime. The construction sector will thereafter create sustainable buildings.
Construction workers traditionally use bricks, concrete, and other resources-intensive materials. Contractors now employ sustainable materials to meet UN SDGs. Due to their long-term sustainability and quality of life benefits, bamboo, straw bales, and reused wood are becoming prominent building materials.
Sustainable building materials have less environmental impact or danger than traditional materials. This means that sustainably derived materials (recycled wood, plastic, or steel), precast concrete, and timber are used to improve the environment.
Sustainable materials fall under recycled materials and whether recycling has made a difference in the UK. The UK’s recycling rate for residential waste was 46.2% in 2019 (up from 45% in 2018), according to GOV UK. These recycled materials lead to eco-friendly construction elements, and the council’s recycling approach for citizens has increased sustainability over the years.
An environmental policy is any measure a corporate, public or private organisation, or local government takes to reduce human impact on the environment. These methods prevent human activities from harming ecosystems, thus organisations should implement them.
The Environmental Act legalises improved environmental protection, allowing us to set new targets for air and water quality, biodiversity, and waste reduction.
Consider Sainsbury’s eco-policy. Their dedication to the UN’s SDGs has allowed them to send zero waste to landfills since 2013, reduce water use by 1bn litres since 2006, and save 7,992 CO2e through their “Greenest Grocer” programme.
Primark also uses sustainable materials in its products. Their environmental policy focuses on sustainable materials, no harmful substances, renewable resources, energy efficiency, biodiversity, and water efficiency.
Apple’s environmental policy was just released. Journalists say a regular Apple MacBook burns 70% of its manufacturing energy. Apple’s environmental approach includes excluding chargers and headphones from future phones to balance energy demand.
WRAP estimates 2018 food waste at 9.5 million tonnes, 70% of which was meant for human consumption and 30% inedible. With this statistic, the waste percentage can translate to over 36 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually, and this number does not fully reflect the accurate result, as we must also consider food surplus from manufacturing, retail, hospitality, and foodservice redistributed through charitable or commercial routes (which mirrors around 740,000 tonnes of food surplus in the UK).
In response to this situation, the UK updated national food waste in January 2020 under UN guidelines. The UK has recorded a 27% reduction in waste compared to the UN’s baseline SDG of 50%, putting it over halfway to accomplishing this aim countrywide.
This was achieved by businesses and councils who suggested recycling initiatives and food waste incentives. Business trash has highlighted these concerns and produced remedies most firms and residents know about.
Sustainability is expanding in the UK, as shown by prominent brands’ environmental initiatives, strategies, and goals.
The UN’s SDGs have also had a huge impact as organisations commit to achieving them for a better environment, planet, and future.
If governments make good on their recent commitments to reduce emissions by 2030, the earth would warm by at least 2.7C degrees this century, a UNEP assessment showed, which calls for urgent action by nations throughout the world today, as it exceeds the internationally agreed temperature rise of 1.5C degrees.
All countries must reduce carbon emissions to cool the world. Most major firms have taken steps to meet the ideal global temperature, but national leaders must act to create a better planet for us all.
Net-zero construction is making progress
Original Source: Construction is taking key steps on road to net zero
For many, the climate problem might feel overwhelming since the challenge is so large and individual contributions seem inadequate. If we want to achieve net zero carbon by 2050 and avoid the worst climate change impacts, we must avoid inertia.
Those of us in carbon-intensive industries must act. Construction is one such industry. Facts are stark. According to the UKGBC, the built environment industry accounts for 40% of worldwide emissions. Half of a typical commercial property’s lifetime emissions come from its construction.
The building industry must step up to satisfy the UK’s Paris Agreement responsibilities, which are now domestic law. So, where is net zero construction? And what should we do first?
The industry has recognised the severity of the task and is making progress. The UKGBC and other industry groups have been pushing for this for years.
Members of the UKGBC have signed some fairly rigorous pledges and are responsible for billions of pounds worth of projects each year. They include developers, owners, contractors, subcontractors, and consultants. All are working to lessen construction’s carbon footprint and should be commended.
Major urban companies and individuals are primarily focused on net zero. They’re also big players with deep pockets. To make progress, SMEs and non-metropolitan areas must be included.
This needs more regulation. Many countries have tighter rules. In France, Finland, and the Netherlands, it’s required to assess a project’s full carbon footprint. We don’t demand it yet, but are starting. The London Plan requires similar reviews but only for referable projects, excluding most construction.
When the MP was elevated, a bill addressing full lifecycle evaluation fell to the first post. It has subsequently been revived, but many think it should be a national priority.
Unfortunately, the energy crisis caused by the Ukraine invasion seems to be reducing the demand for radical change. Germany has started recommissioning coal-fired power plants, and the Greens are in the coalition. The UK government’s moves to initiate a review to evaluate if it’s fulfilling its Net Zero 2050 aim “economically efficiently” and to abolish green taxes on energy bills show that in tight times, priorities can change.
The crisis response was frustrating. Many have advocated for years that a large initiative to remodel the UK’s energy inefficient homes is needed, not just for the environment but also for energy security and to keep rates down for the poor. We didn’t do enough in the good times and are now in a catastrophe.
Many people, especially in the construction industry, are working to make positive changes. Some green construction issues are thorny. Recycling is an example. In theory, recycling more construction materials should be easy – many components are free. It prevents previously embedded carbon from being wasted and fresh carbon emissions from being made.
Insufficient performance data hampers material reuse. Therefore, materials must be tested, and steel testing is expensive and time-consuming. Recycling is doable, but it’s harder than buying new.
Low-cost recycled goods
The industry sees a market for affordable recycled products, and many are attempting to lower the carbon intensity of steel and concrete production. New technology may make building and disassembling easier. Building information modelling (BIM) and digital twins could become the standard, labelling every aspect of a structure with data on how it functions and when it was made. This should ease reuse without testing. Net-zero clients increasingly request that new buildings be constructed for deconstruction, not demolition.
The most sustainable building is the one that already exists, and 80% of the structures that will exist in 2050 are already built. To attain net zero, reuse, adaptation, and refurbishment must be prioritised over destruction and new construction.
Building regulations do not demand ‘not to exceed’ embedded carbon levels for new structures, so there is minimal legislative incentive to reuse and adapt, given the likely increased expense of reusing an existing building that may need considerable maintenance to be appropriate for alternative uses.
The dual VAT handling of new building and remodelling costs is detrimental. Part Z and the Commons Environment Audit Committee have recommended ‘not to exceed’ embedded carbon levels for new buildings, which would increase retrofitting.
In the interim, the GLA’s London Plan prioritises retrofitting over new construction. Large London new-build projects are experiencing increased scrutiny of the carbon waste created by large-scale demolition and the high degree of embedded carbon from new development.
Existing buildings may not be reusable. Deep retrofits take longer and cost more than building fresh. Many buildings may be unsafe or unfit for repurposing. It might be difficult to determine an existing building’s structural soundness and who should carry the risk of any construction difficulties.
Despite these dangers, prominent clients with net zero pledges are focusing on reuse and adaption of existing facilities. The brutalist 1970s Camden Town Hall Extension was converted into the Standard Hotel at Kings Cross. In a period of material shortages and inflation, some projects that maintain the substructure and/or frame of obsolete structures offer cost and time advantages.
Despite the energy crisis, a looming recession, and doubtful political commitment, the construction industry is pushing for net zero. We’re in the foothills, but we can see the summit and are determined to get there.
Architects expect the sector to decrease as the UK enters recession
Architects predict the sector will contract for the first time in more than two years, as the Bank of England warns of a recession.
Practices predict workloads to fall for the first time since June 2020, during the first covid-19 lockout.
August’s index plunged 12 points to -8 after five months of volatility caused by rising prices, energy costs, and economic uncertainty. Below zero, respondents expect fewer tasks.
The Bank of England raised interest rates from 1.75 to 2.25 yesterday to contain inflation.
The central bank says the GDP dropped 0.1% between July and September after expecting growth. April and June saw the same decline.
The UK may be in recession, defined as two consecutive quarters of decline.
All four sectors examined by RIBA are expected to witness declining work prospects over the next three months, despite the community sector’s forecast improving from -10 to -6.
Private housing, the most robust sector since the pandemic began, went into negative territory for the first time since June 2020.
The business sector declined to -2 and the public sector to -9.
Workload expectations in Wales and the West fell 37 points in one month, from 22 to -22.
The Midlands and East Anglia sank 10 points to zero, the South of England declined 9 points to -12, and London decreased 1 point to -7.
Only the North of England predicts more jobs, although its rating fell from +13 to +6.
Rising inflation and energy prices “obviously weigh hard on architects’ thoughts,” says RIBA’s Adrian Malleson.
Many projects are being hampered by construction product inflation, supply chain issues, uncertain project costs, and limited contractor and trade person availability.
According to reports, delays in the planning process are also hampering the timely delivery of projects. Applications that once took weeks now take months, and delays occur across regions and project kinds.
UK’s oldest lido reopens
Original Source: Cleveland Pools: UK’s oldest lido reopening
After a 15-month refurbishment, Bath’s 1815 Cleveland Pools are available for swimming.
Cleveland Pools Trust spent 17 years restoring the Grade II* site.
The first 100 swimmers from a competition to be the first will swim on Saturday.
The first swim was scheduled for September 10 but was postponed after Queen Elizabeth II’s death.
Anna Baker, a historic-building specialist, led the renovation.
“I’m delighted to have helped restore a building many doubted could be saved,” Ms. Baker remarked.
“It’s been difficult. It’s also a once-in-a-lifetime project.
“We’re a small crew and couldn’t have done it without volunteers. Working on a community-driven project was a luxury.”
This winter, the pool will provide cold-water sessions before reopening next spring as a heated pool using heat pump technology and energy from the nearby River Avon.
The pools closed in 1984 and threatened demolition in 2003, but residents and the trust battled to rescue them. Restoration began in May 2021.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund contributed £6.47m to the £9.3m project.
The project received funding from the DCMS capital jumpstart fund, Historic England, and Bath and North East Somerset Council.
Beard Construction, a heritage restoration company, did the work, while Bath-based Donald Insall Associates designed it.
Most building materials could only be delivered by river, making logistics difficult.
Tregelles, Beard “Having just river access has taxed our initiative in getting materials in and out of the project and in the technique of construction, considering the restricted plant and equipment we could bring to the site.
“It’s been an honour to restore a historic treasure for future generations.”
Donald Insall Associates associate director David Barnes called it a “exciting chapter”
Summary of today’s construction news
Overall, construction practices that are less harmful to the environment are gaining ground over time and UK building projects adopt sustainable practices. Net-zero construction has continually made progress, and we must fight against inertia if we are still to reach our goal of producing zero net carbon emissions by the year 2050 and avert the most severe consequences of climate change. As the Bank of England warns of a recession, architects foresee a first contraction in more than two years. In Cleveland Pools, the oldest Lido in the United Kingdom reopens.