What’s net zero and how can construction play its part?

What’s net zero and how can construction play its part?

Striving towards a significant reduction in carbon emissions is something every industry needs to do. As we see more and more evidence of the unfolding climate crisis every day, it’s clear that the time to act is now. Construction in particular has a special responsibility to adopt greener practices, as right now, estimates suggest that 38% of all energy-related CO2 emissions come from the construction industry.

One of the most ambitious projects for the drive towards a sustainable future is “net zero”. Conceived as part of the Paris Agreement on climate change, the concept plays a key role in keeping the global temperature down. Here, we’ll briefly outline what this means and how the construction industry can contribute to this urgent project.

What is net zero?

In simple terms, net zero means that we won’t add any new emissions to the atmosphere. Although some emissions will continue, they will be balanced by absorbing the equivalent quantity. According to the Paris Agreement on climate change, countries should work together to achieve this by 2050.

Taking this goal seriously is vitally important. If emissions continue at their current rate, temperatures will continue to rise above 1.5°C over pre-industrial levels. This is a level that could threaten the lives and livelihoods of people all over the world, which is why a growing number of countries are committing to “net zero” emissions or carbon neutrality. Efforts to reach net-zero must be complemented with action from industry, not just states.

What can the construction industry do?

The construction industry is a big polluter. Therefore, we play an integral role in the journey towards achieving net zero before it’s too late. It’s also not just the industry itself that needs to reduce emissions; it’s also the built environment itself. By creating buildings that are cleaner, greener, and more sustainable, we can achieve ambitious action on climate change.

Carbon saving technologies are a key tool. Carbon saving and zero carbon technologies are installations that emit low or no net CO2. However, it’s not just the installation of heat pumps, solar panels, or low energy lighting, that will solve the problem. The incorporation of these technologies is more effective within buildings that have an energy-efficient fabric– so sustainability needs to be incorporated into the entire design process.

Monitoring and verifying these strategies are also key to holding colleagues to account. For example, initiatives like BREEAM are crucial. Via third-party certification of a development’s environmental, social and economic sustainability performance, BREEAM promotes more sustainable buildings that protect natural resources. Meanwhile, the certification system makes investments more attractive, incentivising the wider real estate industry to push for the adoption of these practices.

DJHC’s commitment to sustainability

MEP is an integral part of making a development more sustainable. With extensive experience harnessing the newest innovations to save carbon, plus participation in initiatives like BREEAM, DJHC is committed to playing our part in striving for net zero. With carbon-saving technologies and meaningful sustainability consultation, we can collaborate to cut carbon, make construction more sustainable, and create the built environment of the future.



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