Sustainability In The Construction Sector

Governments around the World have committed their countries to achieve the goal of net zero by 2050, this means that their territory will no longer produce more carbon dioxide than they remove from the atmosphere. They have set out various ways they will do this, for example the UK government have announced a ban on the sale of cars powered by internal combustion engines by 2030 and hybrid cars by 2035.

The International Energy Agency estimates that in 2021 10% of Global CO2 emissions came from the Construction sector. The question is how can the sector reduce this and maintain standard of quality and competitiveness?

Materials are the key to these solutions. Many of the key elements in construction materials have very high levels of embedded CO2 from their production processes. Researchgate estimate that around 10bn tons of concrete are produced each year. This represents a huge 5% of Global CO2 emissions overall. Steel which is another critical element of vertical construction is also extremely energy intense to produce. The energy used to produce these two elements is where the CO2 comes from. Kilns and Furnaces used to produce heat in the production process use huge amounts of fossil fuels to power them.

How can this change?

One answer is to switch to cleaner fuels, green hydrogen (hydrogen produced using renewable energy) is a clear option. It burns as hot and as well as fossil fuels but produces no CO2 emissions. Another alternative are sustainable synthetic fuels which are currently under development. Increasing alternative materials or in the case of concrete alternative mixes using far less cement are being developed including elements of recycled materials.

Conscious management of these elements is also increasingly important. Major contractors and construction management organisations are employing specialist professionals to make sure they are delivering the most sustainable project possible. They select the materials, where they are produced as transportation is a major factor. Increasingly important to success these individuals are in demand Worldwide and if your organisation wants to be recognised as helping with this Global problem then you should be considering hiring a sustainability lead.

As it’s a relatively new field, qualified candidates can be hard to find which means it may be better to utilise a specialised agency who know the demands of the role and the experience and qualifications necessary for success and have a network of candidates ready.

For any further information or if you have staffing needs in this or other construction related positions please feel free to contact me –

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