Sustainability is definitely the main topic on everybody's lips this year and the construction industry is certainly playing its part in reducing carbon emissions and helping to create a cleaner, greener environment for all to enjoy.
We have recently discussed the ways in which modern methods of construction can reduce carbon emissions during the build phase of projects, while retrofitting existing infrastructure with more efficient insulation and making the best use of renewable energy is delivering significant carbon savings.
Now, going a step further, one of our clients, Balfour Beatty, is making headlines by joining Fuel Change's  'net zero mentors' programme. Alongside BAM Nuttall and a variety of other organisations from the construction industry, they are embarking on an exciting 16 week challenge period during which time a team of youngsters within their organisation will explore real-time issues that are facing the industry and attempt to identify solutions that will deliver implementable carbon reduction solutions.
The programme, developed by Fuel Change, brings businesses, schools, apprentices and graduates together and is multi-pronged in purpose. Not only could the scheme identify innovative new approaches to carbon reduction that could help to satisfy the government's Net Zero by 2050 targets, but it will help businesses to identify future talent from within their existing workforce and provide the individuals selected to participate with opportunities for personal and career development.
The programme has already delivered visible benefits in terms of generating energy from farm waste, reducing the carbon generated from the timber industry and proposals are being reviewed to determine methods of making the textile industry more sustainable.
Here at Build Space, we think that this is a very valuable programme and would urge any businesses with a passion for sustainability to consider becoming net zero mentors to benefit not only the participants but also to support the achievement of their own carbon reduction strategy.
Low Carbon Concrete
Another sustainability in construction project making the news this week is that of Laing O'Rourke, which has mandated that all of its UK projects will use low carbon concrete with effect from the 1st April 2023.
Laing O'Rourke is well known for its work on major infrastructure projects such as Hinkley Point C, where they are already using low carbon concrete rather than the traditional Portland concrete. The company has developed alternative products in collaboration with Innovate UK, the University of Cambridge and Sheffield University's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre. They estimate that by deploying these alternatives on a like-for-like basis instead of traditional Portland concrete previously used for builds of this scale, they will reduce their carbon usage by 28% this year.
The company intends to go further, however, and is currently researching the potential for deploying cement-free options in their builds, which would certainly accelerate their progress towards becoming a net-zero by 2050 company.
Why The Construction Industry Must Play Its Part
With increasing pressure from government and lobby groups to achieve the UK's challenging target of net zero by 2050, it is clear that the construction industry will be best served by identifying implementable sustainability measures and forging a clear path of its own, rather than waiting for carbon reduction strategies to be mandated, as is likely to be the case over the coming years if progress is not forthcoming.
The construction industry has long been recognised as a major contributor to global warming, with 45%  of the UK's total carbon emissions emanating from built construction, whilst poor waste management practices contribute significantly to landfill waste.
Schemes such as the net zero mentors programme offer a practical solution for businesses that are keen to make changes to their ways of working in order to deliver greater environmental benefit, to nurture and develop their employees and to improve their business reputation. We predict that consumers and customers will continue to become increasingly interested in the sustainability practices of the businesses that they choose, so it is well worth taking stock now and developing a plan for reducing the carbon emissions associated with your business.
For help identifying and implementing appropriate carbon reduction solutions for your business, please contact Build Space today. We have access to a range of experienced professionals who are available on permanent or temporary contracts to support your business to thrive in the modern world.