All construction work emits CO2 in various ways. It is released when transporting materials, using equipment, and disposing of waste. Even after construction the building will continue to emit CO2, due to the day to day upkeep and maintenance it requires. It is estimated that the construction, operation and maintenance of the built environment accounts for 45% of total UK carbon emissions.
With climate change being such a big issue today, it is more important than ever to reduce the carbon footprint of a building, during construction, and afterwards.
When looking for ways to cut down on CO2 during construction it is best to focus on materials used to create the building. What we buy, where it comes from, and how we transport it has an enormous effect on the final carbon footprint of the project.
Using recycled materials can be an excellent way of cutting down on CO2, particularly for smaller scale projects, such as extensions or summerhouses and can save you money in the process. Various materials such as wood, plastic, and glass can be taken from an existing structure where it is no longer needed and used in a new construction project. In this case, not only are you saving usable materials from landfill, but often these can be found locally and for a better price.
While sourcing recycled materials is most suitable for smaller scale projects due to the inconsistent quantities available, larger scale projects can reduce their carbon footprint with recycling as well. Anyone who has worked on a construction site will be able to tell you about the amount of materials that get wasted simply because they are not needed. Often, these would go to landfill.
However, in recent years there has been a shift towards being more eco friendly and more conscious of how to dispose of waste. If you have a fair amount of leftover building materials – why not consider selling or donating them online? Enviromate is an online marketplace to buy and sell recycled building materials, perfect for any project – big or small.
The continuing carbon emissions from a building depends greatly on the design of the build and the quality of materials used. An architect will consider various factors that affect the carbon footprint of the property, including heating, lighting and general upkeep. The carbon footprint of a building can be lowered by making sure the building is as energy efficient as possible.
Insulation plays a big role in how much energy is wasted from a property. Proper wall and roof insulation, including double or triple glazed windows, helps prevent heat loss to the surroundings. The less heat is lost, the less energy is wasted, and the fewer carbon emissions are released. The same principle applies to lighting. An architect will generally allow as much natural light into a space as possible, lowering the need for artificial light and reducing the carbon footprint.
There are many small changes you can make to an existing building in order to reduce its annual carbon emissions, such as swapping hard flooring for carpets. Check out this exhaustive list of 100 ways to save energy and see what changes you can make to reduce the carbon emissions produced by your home or business.
Alternatively, you can contact a member of the team at KJ architects to discuss a potential new eco-friendly property or to see what structural changes can be made to reduce your current property’s carbon footprint.