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The importance of sustainability in construction

Climate issues are at the forefront of almost all businesses in 2022 and beyond, construction companies now more than ever cannot ignore their own climate responsibility.

With the UK aiming for carbon neutrality by 2050, we are likely to see fines and a negative impact on the reputation of companies that are not actively reducing their carbon output. With buildings in the UK contributing to 30 percent of the countries carbon emissions, construction companies should be making the reduction of carbon a priority.

This ties in with pressures from both customers and legislators also expecting low-emission new build properties. With a shift in preference moving towards buildings that are carbon reducing and a reasonable cost, developers will need to rethink existing designs to meet these needs.

In fact, a survey carried out here at FJP Investment highlighted that homebuyers are prioritising environmental and aesthetics. With 63% saying they were devoid of character and a similar number (60%) stating the finish was poor and lacked environmental focus, developers need to change.

Ultimately, this is only going to be possible with some major redesigning, a new wave of smart buildings that have a focus on placing digital technologies and data at their core will pave the way for sustainability in construction.

Smarter building is required

Construction companies are now required to not only measure but limit the carbon impact of their projects. This means that this applies to the full lifecycle of the project, not just the finished product.

To make this possible, construction companies will need to carry out lifecycle carbon assessments of the process from start to finish to identify any areas that can realise carbon reduction. Smart technologies allow modern construction companies to identify key areas of wasted energy with greater ease than ever before.

Sustainability in construction - cranes

It is recommended that this is carried out in stages, the first of which is focussed on the concept design, or at the very least before the technical design work gets under way. It will be easier to work from the start and then focus on the subsequent stages than try and backtrack.

This will also require consideration of the buildings operational phase. By this, consideration will need to be placed on enhanced digitally connected systems. This is not present in most traditional buildings, so it is currently difficult to track key information when it comes to carbon output. Real time continuous data needs to be implemented into modern new builds.

Implementing better systems

As a priority, smart buildings will need a layer of internet enabled devices and sensors that accurately read key points of the energy infrastructure. Smart circuit breakers and energy sensors are good examples of tracking a buildings heating, ventilation and air conditioning output. Without going into too much detail, this system needs to connect to an IP and data backbone to provide real time usage.

With this increased visibility, organisations will be able to focus on key areas of waste and eliminate them going forwards to improve sustainability in construction. This will be more evident over the course of several months, the worst carbon offenders will become obvious in the medium to long term. This will be far, far less time consuming when compared to undertaking carbon reduction programmes individually across the company to isolate high consuming protocols individually.

The benefits are clear of sustainability in construction

Not only will the digitised buildings be useful, but attractive to buyers also. Energy and utility costs in buildings are well known to increase costs for the consumer, this technology will decrease waste and spend for the consumer whilst lowering carbon output for the property.

To remain competitive, construction firms will need to introduce such measures whilst fulfilling customer needs to realise advantage in the market. Carbon reduction will have to be evident throughout the building lifecycle with structures built from the ground up using a digital mindset. This will help all parties in contributing to a better future.


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