Five steps: how the construction sector can support the UK’s zero emissions target

3 min read

The recent announcement that the UK Government has committed to net zero greenhouse emissions by 2050 serves as a strong and welcome statement to the rest of the world. 

Having previously set a target to reduce emissions by 80%, the new, much tougher, goal means that the construction industry will have to make some radical changes. 

The construction, operation and maintenance of the UK built environment accounts for 45% of our carbon emissions. So, as a significant contributor to the carbon challenge the sector will need to respond in dramatic fashion to make revolutionary change happen. We all have a part to play.

1. Support research and development projects

Fundamental change requires innovation. As a major contributor of greenhouse emissions and as an industry that historically hasn’t had a good record of adopting new innovations, the construction sector needs to put low carbon research at the heart of its future.

2. Buy green energy

It’s not expensive, it’s not difficult. Do it. Be bold and sign up to RE100 and commit to sourcing all of your energy from renewable sources.

3. Pilot clean technology solutions and make them your new ‘business as usual’

There are so many new efficient and innovative technologies to trial – be ambitious and recognise the opportunities they present. Mace has piloted more than 20 diesel-alternatives and energy-saving digital solutions, and guess what? They all worked out just great; saving us money and reducing our emissions!

4. Understand your supply chain carbon footprint

We know the supplier community is ready and willing to be part of the change. They have progressive ideas and many subcontractors are already exploring how to adapt their business models to be more efficient and less carbon intense. 

5. Off-set emissions by creating green infrastructure

Invest in new woodland or other green infrastructure to sort out those emissions which are hard to engineer out of your business. One of our easy contributions to this space is a small woodland grove in Scotland, sponsored by Mace Interiors, who cannot always connect to zero carbon power when they use client power supplies. With so many solutions available, there really should be no excuses for not tackling the challenge.

Construction needs to change. It needs to be at the front-end of clean technology and pollution control. This isn’t just an environmental issue – it’s good business as well. Increasingly our clients are expecting us to show that we’re leading the way on this issue; and it is a hugely important focus for staff attraction and retention as well. 

At Mace it is our ambition to change the status quo and re-position the industry as one that develops solutions rather than creates problems but we can’t do it alone. If you’ve got a great idea or product to share, then please talk to us, we want to hear about it!

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