You probably have heard about green building before. Because of coronavirus pandemic, it might become one of the main trends shaping the industry in the nearest decade. Why? What is the role of the government, and how is this change going to be supported? Learn more in this article!
A year ago on our blog, you could read about new emerging trends that will probably shape 2020 and coming years. Although we did not predict the coronavirus outbreak, trends that we listed are pretty valid nowadays. Construction Management Software is becoming more and more popular due to the reality of remote work and managing teams online. The modular construction is also gaining popularity as it is a cheaper, faster and safer way of building. Although the coronavirus outbreak changed the industry's reality, stopping many investments and ideas, it also became a catalyst to the changes that were about to happen. One of them is a shift towards green building.
Green building is a way of design, construction and operation allowing us to reduce or eliminate negative impacts, creating positive effects for the climate and natural environment. The goal is to maximize the employees' safety while decreasing the number of used materials.
At first, it may seem a lengthy process requiring radical changes in the way the company is functioning. However, it does not have to be that! The shift towards green building can be done by the method of small steps. Instead of changing everything at once (risking the company's financial stability), you can start with, for example: using renewable sources of energy. After some time, you can introduce another change like the elimination of toxic and non-ethical materials.
Let's start on the other side. The construction industry has a significant impact on the economy in many countries. In the UK in 2018, it was responsible for contributing £117 billion and creating over two million jobs. However, after the coronavirus outbreak, many companies need external help to get out of the crisis. At the same time, the industry is responsible for 40% of all energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. The climate is changing, so strong actions are required to prevent further changes. Here is where both paths meet. Supporting the construction companies overcoming the crisis, is an excellent chance to shift towards greener construction.
In June 2019 the UK became one of the first countries that legislated a net-zero target for carbon emissions by 2050. This means that the greenhouse gases put into the atmosphere must be equal to those taken out. To achieve this goal, governments need to take decisive steps. It can be done by shaping the new law regulations and creating support programs for construction industries.
The idea of modernizing the industry after a crisis is not a new one. After the financial crisis in 2008, many governments decided to support green building programs. As an example, Germany in their energy-efficient program, created preferential loans for new construction projects. The government spent around 2 billion euros, but the program supported investments worth 45 billion euros and started new energy efficiency standards. Also, about 1,730 HWh energy was saved and 619 000 tons of GHG emissions. There are more examples of such programs in different countries: The Republic of Korea with financial support dependent on energy efficiency improvement, the US with 11 billion USD for building upgrade programs or the French-German PEEB program.
According to the Energy White Paper, the 2020s must be a decade of action to put the country on the path to net-zero emissions by 2050. The whole program of changes is not ready yet, but we can find the firsts plans and declarations in the document:
In November 2020, the Prime Minister announced £1 billion of funding to continue supporting buildings' decarbonization through improved energy efficiency. This sum will be allocated among already existing government schemes like the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme, the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme and Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund.
A roadmap to the Future of Homes Standard will be published in the nearest future. According to the plans, new-build homes will be required to be fitted with low-carbon heating and high energy efficiency levels. Thanks to that, carbon emissions will be up to 80% lower compared to previous standards.
The Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which was launched in September 2020, will be extended with £1 billion funding. The government goal is to cut emissions by up to 1.3MtCO2e by 2032. To put it more clearly, it is around 45,000 cars off the road. Here, the benefits are double, lower gas emissions but also support for the supply chain, providing clean energy jobs in communities throughout the UK.
The 2020s will be for sure a decade of significant changes. Many countries saw in the recovery process, from the coronavirus pandemic, an excellent opportunity to support green building. Even though many policies and programs are still in the preparation stage, it is worth keeping an eye on them from every beginning. We can already start moving towards the future of construction and implement one of the sustainable technologies. In this case, the profit is double: for our company and for our planet.
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