On Thursday 25th May, G4C Yorkshire & Humber Chair, Dylan Stoppard, hosted a Net Zero event which was facilitated by Constructing Excellence. This event took place at the BRE Science Park and gave attendees the opportunity to explore Net Zero opportunities and challenges, as well as take a tour of the innovative buildings onsite.
Net Zero Within Construction
Dylan kicked off the event with a presentation about Net Zero; what it is, why it’s important and what we’re working towards within construction.
He also gave an overview of the work his organisation, Genuit Group, have been undertaking to move towards Net Zero, such as:
- using HVO biodiesel in their HGV fleet
- using recycled materials in their products
- EV and PEV company car scheme
- procurement of renewable energy certificates via wind power, onsite renewables, low carbon moulding, etc.
Next the attendees were taken on a tour of the Science Park to see the sustainable buildings and explore the Net Zero possibilities. The tour provided an opportunity to see some of the sustainable tools and features in a real world setting and deliberate how these advancements will inform the future of construction.
We were also fortunate to be joined by Joe Forde, BRE, who gave an overview of the organisation and what they do:
- applying science to improve construction
- testing and certifying products and materials to ensure they’re safe to use, through assurance teams
- offering standards, tools and training to support organisations to reach ESG goals. These opportunities for support include:
Roundtable Discussions About the Opportunities and Challenges Within Net Zero
Groups were given the task to identify where they recognise opportunities and challenges within Net Zero.
- making a switch from concrete to steel will allow for greater reusability and lower carbon.
- using standardised metrics would reduce waste and save money by not buying more materials than necessary.
- more testing/certification around recycled/reused materials.
- assessment/consideration of the whole life of a product.
- Integrating at the design phase to ensure materials and facilities, etc. are considered early to use lower cardon options.
- Diversifying of the construction industry- bringing in professionals from outside of construction to support sustainability.
- quality of work- overcoming poor quality e.g., in retrofit
- overcoming reluctance to change. A shift in mindset/culture is needed.
- overcoming risk
- cost- the initial cost of more sustainable products can be high.
Collaboration is essential to achieving a net-zero future in the built environment. Success in this field cannot be achieved in isolation. As the future leaders of the UK construction industry, Generation 4 Change (G4C) members have a vital role to play in understanding the opportunities and challenges of a net-zero future and working together to make progress.
The recent G4C event was all about bringing net-zero to life for our industry. We saw how it is being achieved by the industry and the BRE Science Park, and we learned about what is possible and what is already being done. Attendance and engagement at the event were fantastic, and it showed clear progress in the right direction.
If you would like to get involved in future G4C events, please search for the organization and contact your local chairpersons.
Dylan Stoppard, G4C Yorkshire & Humber Chair