How green building is impacting construction value

Candidate move Ellis Fox

A renewed focus on sustainability is being fueled by the need to reach net-zero targets in all industry sectors in the UK. The construction industry has traditionally been one of the largest contributors to carbon emissions, through both new build and ongoing building maintenance. But there is a secondary factor that is accelerating innovation in construction. It is fueling an increasing adoption of modern methods of construction (MMC) and the use of alternate materials. With ongoing supply chain volatility and materials shortages it’s becoming increasingly obvious that green building offers a better path to economic sustainability too.

In a recent survey conducted at COP26, 83% of construction executives affirmed that sustainable business practices were providing a competitive advantage in terms of being able to deliver more construction value to clients and better bottom line results. The question is how to expand this within the industry?

A more collaborative approach

In addition to innovation, there is a trend towards greater collaboration across industry sectors. Here’s an example: Previously waste management companies focused solely on the role of removing rubble and waste materials from site and taking it to landfill. But increased landfill costs have made this an expensive exercise. In an effort to reduce costs and create new revenue streams waste management has become more about recycling and repurposing materials than simply dumping them.

Building on existing cross-industry relationships, recycling companies are now circling back and becoming part of the supply chain, selling different types of aggregates and other recycled materials back to the construction industry. This symbiotic relationship benefits both parties and helps them move closer to net-zero targets. By understanding what materials the construction industry needs, and what waste resources are being made available it’s channeling innovation for mutual benefit and delivering more value in the process. More significantly, it’s reducing reliance on a volatile supply chain.

Materials and construction methods are not the only factors influencing value. A building’s energy use is another important sustainability factor. Integration of renewable energy sources such as solar power and improving energy efficiency through the use of technologies such as heat pumps and improving insulation is another factor. Once again recycling innovations are making an impact by repurposing waste resources into insulation and soundproofing materials for construction.

All of these efforts can go a long way to reducing carbon emissions and have the dual benefit of a more sustainable economic business model for construction.