“Green construction is quite simply better construction”- Paul King (Green Building Council)
In the UK, the Government has committed to a 26% to 32% by 2020 and a 60% reduction of CO₂ by 2050. The former Department of Trade and Industry (Now replaced by the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform) has stated that approximately 50% of the UK’s total carbon dioxide emissions come from buildings.
Many academics and governments are now calling for a third industrial revolution: the ‘Green Revolution’. There can be little doubt that construction, as one of the world’s largest industries (worth around £1.6tn worldwide, employing 111m people and accounting for 10-15% of GDP), will be looked upon to lead the way in a ‘green revolution.’ The industry also has a great multiplier effect on the economy, with one job in construction generating two more jobs elsewhere- thus 20% of all employment may be linked to construction activities in some way. In the UK, construction is the largest industry consisting of over 250, 000 firms, employing 2.1 million people accounting for eight% of GDP. It is estimated that construction accounts for approximately 40% of all resource consumption and produces about 40% of all waste.
The UK represents 1% of the world’s population and yet produces 2.3% of the world’s CO₂ and worldwide the fourth report from the IPCC has shown that energy use in buildings generate 33% of manmade greenhouse gas emissions.
To achieve the Government set target to cut carbon emissions by at least 26% by 2020 and 60% by 2050 a number of targets have been set. To achieve these targets the construction industry must play a key role, since buildings offer the largest single potential for energy efficiency. With new extensive plans to reduce carbon in new builds and through the refurbishment of existing buildings there is a demand on the construction industry to show that these changes to homes and buildings are not only better for the environment but can actually have financial benefits as well. The Government has also announced plans for three million new homes by 2020 with the aim that all new homes be carbon zero by 2016.