The construction industry is a huge contributor to climate change, accounting for around 40% of UK carbon emissions. This has to change if the UK is to meet its net zero target by 2050, and we at CWC have declared our commitment to being part in this journey. We are committed to moving our designs towards carbon neutral solutions wherever possible, and involving our clients, collaborators and supply chains in this conversation.
Improving Existing Buildings
80% of the buildings of 2050 have already been built, so decarbonising these buildings will play a vital role in the UK’s journey to net zero carbon. There is no one size fits all approach, but with the range of technologies available today, solutions are there to be found. The first step is to survey the building. We can then advise on options to reduce carbon emissions and review the economic and efficient lifetime of plant and equipment. We can also advise on funding streams such as the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which is now taking applications for its third round of funding. We also work with strategic partners to provide BREEAM and WELL standard assessments which provide a more holistic assessment including wellbeing, water consumption and acoustics, improving the building’s value as well as longevity.
Designing Greener Buildings
One of our core principles is to design low carbon schemes wherever possible, working with clients to find the most suitable solution which fits the budget and end user needs. We provide a full energy modelling service, interrogating the efficiency of the design, improving the building fabric towards Passive Haus Standard and incorporating renewables and energy efficient M&E systems. Smart technology also has a role to play. Combined with battery storage, smart systems can manage the mismatch in supply and demand often associated with renewable energy generation. The RED WoLF pilot scheme is trialling an AI driven system to combine PVs, battery and storage heaters to optimise usage and generation based on occupancy usage, data from the grid, weather and real-time energy cost data. We have provided technical advice to a UK trial of this scheme, fitting the system in 20 new build council houses in Oldham.
In the Future
As buildings are increasingly built to outlive their original purpose, we need to incorporate adaptability into our designs to promote true future sustainability. We always aim to reduce embodied energy in our designs, considering the cradle to grave lifecycle of components and specifying recyclable and easily removed elements where practical. The next technological development is just around the corner, so staying informed and sharing knowledge is the most important thing we can do. Being up to date on current guidance, legislation and technological developments means our clients always have access to the latest thinking and innovation. We are continuously exploring new ways of designing and thinking, as we work to bring the world closer to net zero carbon.