New programme aims to drive carbon out of construction

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A new cross-industry programme that aims to drive carbon emissions out of all parts of the construction sector, from manufacturing and design to build and operation, has been launched.

The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) is championing the initiative, called CO2nstruct Zero, and has called on construction firms to play their part in securing net zero carbon construction by 2050.

The call comes ahead of the UK hosting the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow in November.

The CLC said CO2nstruct Zero would build upon the construction industry’s united response to tackle covid-19 last year.

The programme’s nine priorities are:

  • Accelerating the shift of the construction workforce and on-site plant to zero emission vehicles
  • Maximising use of modern methods of construction and improved onsite logistics, reducing waste and transport to sites
  • Championing developments and infrastructure investments that both enable connectivity with low carbon modes of transport and are designed to incorporate readiness for zero emission vehicles
  • Work with government to deliver retrofitting to improve energy efficiency of the existing housing stock
  • Scale up industry capability to deliver low carbon heat solutions in buildings, supporting heat pump deployment, trials of hydrogen heating systems and heat networks
  • Enhancing the energy performance of new and existing buildings through higher operational energy efficiency standards and better building energy performance monitoring
Construction Activity
  • Implementing carbon measurement, to support construction projects in making quantifiable decisions to remove carbon
  • Become world leaders in designing out carbon, developing the capability of designers and construction professionals to develop designs in line with a circular economy – reducing embedded and operational carbon, shifting commercial models to incentivise and reward measurable carbon reductions.
  • Support development of innovative low carbon materials (prioritising concrete and steel), as well as advancing low carbon solutions for manufacturing production processes and distribution

The CLC said it will now invite companies and organisations from across the industry to link up with CO2nstruct Zero, getting involved with its delivery.

It added that CO2nstruct Zero’s purpose is not to develop new solutions or new pathways but to bring people together to consolidate collective actions and plans for the sector.

An action plan aligned to the nine priorities is being prepared, co-ordinating the work already happening across the industry (including within the CLC through the Green Construction Board and the Infrastructure Client Group) to develop the solutions and guiding companies on the actions and role that they can play.

The action plan will also consider changing skills needs and how these can be addressed to provide a workforce that can achieve net zero.

Construction Leadership Council chair Andy Mitchell said: “There is no bigger challenge that our industry faces than the need to decarbonise. We need to pull the whole industry together, letting everyone know what they can do to reduce carbon, while unlocking strategic changes that will set the sector on a new course towards net zero”

Construction minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “The UK was the first major economy to set our commitment to eliminate our country’s contribution to climate change into law. But we can only do that by working with industry to make practical changes to secure a better low-carbon future.

“I am delighted that, through CO2nstruct Zero, the construction sector is showing the unity and leadership to make this happen and ensure we build back greener.”

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