The role of construction in achieving a low-carbon built environment
An Industry Leaders' Group Guide



Enablers

Materials, products and carbon briefing
Jane Anderson, PE Consulting

Embodied impacts of building products are becoming increasingly important, as improvements in energy efficiency for new buildings lead to an increased relative impact from the manufacture, transport and disposal of building products. The construction industry first started thinking about embodied impacts 30 years ago, this briefing describes how assessments have evolved since then, resulting in a wide range of approaches both in the UK, and across other countries considering embodied impact. Using different approaches for products and buildings can lead to different answers, meaning benchmarking is impossible unless the same approach has been used.

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Whole life perspective 

John Davies, Davis Langdon an AECOM company

Buildings and built assets are quite exceptional in that they have inherently long lives, are expensive to construct, can be costly to maintain and have large carbon footprints. As a result, this has attracted a lot of interest from the Government to seek ways of delivering carbon reductions in this significant sector. This push has not been without conflict. By designing-in energy efficiency features and sources of non-grid dependant energy, capital cost has quickly become a main go/no go factor almost regulating carbon performance alongside Building Regulations by forcing the question: is a particular level of carbon reduction affordable? It is not unreasonable to expect projects to aim to reduce costs and secure a “better deal” where possible, however in forcing this question others arise.

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Whole life perspective
(Adobe PDF File)

Skills and resources

Danna Walker, Construction Industry Council
Pat Bowen, CITB-ConstructionSkills
Aled Williams, Centre for Education in the Built Environment

This briefing explores the opportunities, challenges and current developments in low carbon skills provision in the built environment sector. Its purpose is to encourage dialogue in the industry and act as a catalyst for action in the delivery of a low carbon industry.

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Skills and resources
(Adobe PDF File)

Opportunities for the construction industry in the low-carbon economy

Gavin Bollan, Atkins

A step-change reduction in UK carbon emissions is the fundament of the Climate Change Act – to reduce emissions to 20% of 1990 rates by 2050.This goes way beyond the target of 80% of 1990 rates by 2020 agreed by the rest of the European Union.

Many are frustrated with the international community’s prevarication and the lost ground in terms of global average air and sea temperature (Box 1). However UK’s commitments in terms of policy and regulation are driving practices forward. This briefing will therefore identify areas of opportunity which exist in spite of the gloomy international outlook, as a result of regional and domestic low carbon initiatives and drivers.

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Interested in getting involved?
Contact Owen Jenkins for more information.

Project sponsors:

        

CIRIA and BIS would like to thank these individuals for their
time and expertise in reviewing the briefings