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30th May 2023

Building Tomorrow: How Construction is Decarbonising  

Morgan Ellam

Historically, the construction industry has not been a champion of sustainability initiatives. In fact, a 2022 study found that CO2 emissions from buildings and construction hit a new high, leaving the sector off track to decarbonise by 2050. Across the value chain, the construction ecosystem accounts for 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions. However, the industry is emerging with a significant transformation with buildings being created with carbon neutrality in mind. Thanks to the assistance of GreenTech propelling the industry in its green transition, we could see a momentous change. GreenTech is an important part of our future to protect the planet for generations to come.

Why is Decarbonising Construction Important?

As part of The Paris Agreement, signed by countries worldwide, businesses across the world must reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to achieve net zero by 2050. Incorporating emerging GreenTech into the construction industry is crucial for reducing CO2 emissions, mitigating climate change, preserving the environment, complying with regulations, and meeting the evolving demands of the market. It represents a situation that is advantageous for the entire construction industry, the environment, and society. 

Green Technologies Transforming Construction 

From renewable energy integration to improved waste management practices and everything else in between, GreenTech is transforming construction. Here are a couple of our favourite advancements that are revolutionising the construction industry.  

1 – Advanced Sustainable Materials 

After water, concrete is the most widely used substance on Earth. Its durability has made it many businesses’ favourite material to use. Unfortunately, concrete is said to be responsible for 4-8% of the world’s CO2 by generating 2.8 billion tonnes every year. Materials like steel processing aren’t much further behind in carbon emissions. These concerning statistics have led to advancements in revolutionising sustainable materials to create carbon neutrality. These materials could involve recycled resources, responsibly sourced timber, and low-carbon alternatives.   

Popular alternatives to high-carbon materials include bamboo and engineered wood. An emerging GreenTech solution to concrete is Hempcrete. To create Hempcrete, the hemp plant is mixed with a lime binder. During its production, Hempcrete has the potential to reduce carbon emissions at each stage owing to its ability to ‘lock up’ carbon and reabsorb it over its lifetime. The material has been proven to work well in both new builds, repairs and retrofits. It has been found that one cubic meter of Hempcrete will remove 100kg of carbon from the atmosphere.

2 – Energy-Efficient Building Designs 

This visionary integration of renewable energy technologies in building homes is driving a shift, ushering in a new era of sustainable and energy-efficient buildings. GreenTech is supporting energy-efficient designs, like solar design principles so that buildings can achieve energy efficiency, optimise natural resources and create a sustainable environment. This reduces the demand for fossil-fuel-based energy generation, resulting in lowering greenhouse gas emissions.   

A stand-out example is Solar Photovoltaic (PV) where buildings become active energy producers, harnessing the power of the sun to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Solar systems combined with GreenTech storage systems allow for a continuous supply of energy for buildings to prepare for seasonal fluctuations with periods of low sunlight. The combination of passive solar designs with other energy-efficient strategies can further enhance the overall energy performance of a building. Lithium-Ion Batteries and Iron-Air Batteries are popular choices to be paired with solar power for a high-performance energy storage system aiding the construction industry.  

Energy efficiency is also making a remarkable difference as builders are also incorporating renewable energy technologies like solar panels, wind turbines, and geothermal systems to generate clean energy onsite, reducing dependence on fossil fuels and decreasing carbon emissions. 

The Future of Decarbonising Construction

The urgency of addressing climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions has propelled the sector into a transformative phase. Decarbonisation and green transitions in the construction industry are unavoidable as they are logical and cost-effective. Fortunately, the integration of GreenTech into construction practices is providing a catalyst for the industry’s green transition. Although construction has an indisputably damaging environmental past, the future is exciting with the pioneering help of GreenTech. 

To explore further the GreenTech era we’re entering, download our whitepaper here.