Welsh construction goes Green
1st April 2009
The Welsh construction industry creates the built environment that meets the economic and sociological demands of Wales, but it must do so in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. Reducing carbon, developing new ways of harnessing energy, minimising waste and improving recycling are core targets for the industry. CE in Wales is totally committed to the environment agenda and is working in partnership with BRE Wales, Zero/Low carbon Hub and the Sustainable Development commission to meet the Welsh Assembly Government targets on carbon emissions and waste minimisation. That’s why we have signed up to support the Go Green campaign launched in April by Media Wales. Go Green is a twelve month programme to inform, educate and challenge the readers of its newspapers and website to engage in green initiatives.
The first Go Green supplement focuses on climate change. Whether you agree with the debate about climate change, one thing that must happen is that the buildings we live and work in have to adapt to a low carbon society. Right now the buildings we use generate more than 40% of total carbon emissions.
As part of the work to address climate change, Wales is aiming to achieve zero carbon new homes by 2011, five years ahead of England. At the same time, we have to reduce carbon emissions in all of our buildings – that means the entire public stock, commercial property as well as existing homes. It is an enormous undertaking but the UK Government has set a legally binding target of reducing CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050. So, if we’re going to do it we have to work together and make sure everyone understands why it is important.
One method of reducing the carbon footprint is improving the energy efficiency of buildings. There are two options. One, construct a building with little or no energy considerations but then use renewable energy to meet the energy demand or; two, create a building that is airtight and insulated; requiring less energy and supplemented with renewable energy. The latter is clearly the best, as we should minimise energy demand first then supplement with renewable energy.
We will be updating our sustainability pages regularly with news and debate geared towards helping the construction industry become more sustainable and reduce the Welsh carbon footprint. Meanwhile, why not take a look at the Go Green web site, contact the BRE or visit the sustainable building portal for some ideas about how you can help improve the Welsh environment.