How Can Construction Become a Better Friend to the Environment?
Is the construction industry a friend of the environment? Look at the facts and it’s difficult to make a case that we are. While the environmental record may be improving there are some inherent problems that will be hard to overcome unless we change the ways in which we build.
Reducing Construction Waste with Offsite
According to WRAP, the UK construction sector sends 25m tonnes of waste to landfill every year. That’s a colossal amount. Meanwhile, Innovaré is able to operate a zero to landfill policy on our offsite construction processes. Why the difference?
It all starts with the design phase. Working in a CAD environment it’s possible to plan the optimum size and configuration of the panels to minimise offcuts. In many cases, offcuts are incorporated into the construction. Any offcuts that cannot be reused never leave the factory – we keep them in a controlled environment so they can be stored securely ready for recycling.
The panels are delivered to the site as they are needed and any protective wrapping is taken away for recycling. With traditional construction, materials are often over ordered and mis-ordered. They are stored on site where they easily get damaged, either by impacts or because protective wrapping is removed too soon or disturbed. The damaged or surplus materials and the packaging frequently add to the landfill burden.
It’s no surprise that WRAP advocates the greater use of offsite construction among its most important recommendations for the industry.
Energy and Emissions
Manufacturing cement and bricks is energy intensive. The global cement industry is believed to be the third highest contributor to man-made carbon dioxide emissions. Building with mortar and concrete also consumes vasts amounts of water. Eliminating cement use isn’t a viable option but adopting methods that are less reliant on traditional building materials has the potential to make a major impact on energy and water use.
To make a significant and lasting impact on carbon emissions the government has identified the need to halve the energy used by new buildings by 2030. The good news is that we already know how to achieve this goal in practice (rather than on the drawing board).
Innovaré has completed multiple projects that achieve energy efficiency targets up to Code Level 5 and Passivhaus. The required thermal insulation is designed into the panels, which then fit together precisely to minimise air permeability. Thermal bridging losses are also minimised by the construction methodology.
Environmental responsibility is a major driver for our business. We have PEFC and FSC Chain of Custody certification for sourcing and handling of all timber elements used in our projects. We work hard to minimise our environmental impact across all aspects of our operations.
If we want to make a significant difference to construction waste and energy efficiency, without compromising on building design, there is a strong case for the greater use of panelised offsite construction.
To utilise panelised offsite construction for your next building project, contact us today on 0845 674 0020.