The construction industry has considerable potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but only if it is open to innovation and change with a more holistic approach.
68% of construction professionals think not enough is being done to reduce carbon in the industry, says a new report from the Construction Industry Council. This finding comes as no surprise to David Ball, Founder and Chairman of David Ball Group PLC, an award-winning manufacturing company creating products for the global construction industry, who says that while the construction industry acknowledges something must be done, the time to act is now.
David explains: “The recent EU climate change package gives us 15 years to right the wrongs of decades of damage and destruction and cut our greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030. For these emissions targets to be met we must look to each and every industry for potential savings. The construction industry is one such area.
“The construction industry has already taken steps to achieve this, with green innovations developing throughout the industry. Both the cement and concrete industries are at the forefront of this drive to a more sustainable legacy from the built environment.
“Materials are not often addressed as a potential area to reduce greenhouse gases, as there is an assumption that there are no alternatives. However that is simply not true. Through many years of intensive research and development we have invented a zero carbon concrete – Cemfree – which provides up to a 95% reduction in CO2 compared with the industry standard.”
Cemfree is the embodiment of the determination of the global cement and concrete industry to reduce its environmental impact with innovative business-led solutions.
“Utilising well known by-products of other industries, this disruptive new product can reduce the UK’s operational CO2 emissions by over 2,100,000 tonnes every year, just from existing raw material capacity alone, without any forward investment or expansion of resources.
“Currently the production of cement is the third highest man-made producer of CO2, after transportation and energy. The construction industry spends trillions on the refurbishment and maintenance of buildings to make them more efficient, but in addition to lowering operational energy costs, we as an industry need to get the designs more efficient from the beginning.”
David believes that the construction industry is dedicated to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, with the cement industry alone improving its Climate Change Agreement performance by 33% over 1990 energy levels by using alternative fuels. But there needs to be a holistic approach if current practices are to change.
“Climate change is a long term issue. We are used to looking at things in the short-term but we need to change our attitudes and look to the long-term commercial and environmental benefits of sustainability and green solutions if we are to succeed in meeting our greenhouse emission targets.”