Sustainability within UK Construction, Sustainability within UK Construction

Sustainability within UK Construction

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Posted on 26th June 2023

The UK construction industry is responsible for a significant portion of the country’s carbon emissions, resource consumption, and waste generation. As a result, it has become increasingly important for the industry to adopt sustainable practices and reduce its environmental impact.

One of the key areas where the industry can have a significant impact on sustainability is in the design and construction of buildings. Efficiently designed buildings can reduce energy consumption, lower waste generation, and decrease overall carbon emissions. This is especially important given that buildings are responsible for approximately 40% of global energy consumption and 33% of greenhouse gas emissions.

Sustainable practices can also be applied to the construction process itself. This includes the responsible sourcing of materials, minimising waste and pollution, and reducing the impact of construction on local ecosystems. By implementing sustainable practices, the industry can reduce its impact on the environment and the surrounding communities.

Several initiatives have been launched in within the past couple of decades to promote sustainability in the UK construction industry. In the UK there are 3 common sustainability benchmark tools – BREEAM, LEED and the SKA rating. The aim of these tools is to improve the environmental performance of a project, and they can be used to assess the construction/fit out and/or refurbishment of a residential or commercial property by judging a number of factors, including health and wellbeing and energy and waste. In certain

cases there may be a planning condition requiring a BREEAM rating to be achieved but is other cases it can be a voluntary to achieve a rating.

BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) is a voluntary assessment scheme that aims to quantify and reduce the environmental burdens of buildings by rewarding those designs that take positive steps to minimize their environmental impacts. BREEAM is an assessment tool owned by the BRE.

The assessment works by giving a building a score based on its performance against 8 sections; energy and water use, the health and well-being of inhabitants, pollution, transportation issues, materials, waste and ecology and management processes, and compares them to established benchmarks. There are minimum standards which are credits that have to be achieved in order to secure a specific rating. To support innovation, BREEAM offers additional ‘innovation credits’ for the recognition of sustainability related benefits or performance levels which are currently not recognised by standard BREEAM assessment issues and criteria.

Similar to BREEAM, LEED certification is available for 5 project types; Building Design and Construction, Interior Design and Construction, Buildings Operations and Maintenance, Neighbourhood Development and Homes. LEED is a point based system where building projects earn LEED points for satisfying specific green building criteria. The certification process offers four categories based on the number of points accrued, the highest rating is Platinum, followed by Gold, Silver and Certified.

The SKA rating system is also a voluntary assessment tool which began as a research project commissioned in 2005 by Skansen Ltd, together with RICS and AECOM, to establish whether it was possible to measure the environmental impact of an office fit out. It was formally launched in November 2009 and since then the SKA retail fit out assessment has been created. The SKA rating only assesses the fit out of an office or a retail project.

Beyond building design and construction, the industry can also make strides in sustainability through more efficient waste management, recycling, and energy usage in existing buildings. Retrofitting existing buildings with energy-efficient upgrades can dramatically decrease energy consumption and reduce carbon emissions.

Here at Lanview we believe in building a sustainable future and ensure our projects contribute positively to the environment. Our aim is to operate effectively whilst also benefiting the community, with the intention to make economic, environmental and social considerations when making decisions.

Sustainability is vital in the construction industry in the UK and must be a priority as we work to reduce our environmental impact. Key practices such as efficient building design, responsible sourcing of materials, and waste reduction must be implemented to create a greener, more sustainable industry that benefits both the environment and the economy.

 

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