Towards the Decarbonisation of the UK’s Construction Industry

Construction Industry in UKThrough the energy-environmental policies of the European Union, the UK is transitioning towards a low-carbon economy, particularly through the construction industry. The Green Economy has three goals: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to use energy and resources efficiently, and to achieve a 27% quota on energy production from renewable sources.

In line with the 2050 Energy Roadmap of the International Energy Agency, the UK promises to support the growth, competitiveness, and employment in the construction sector. In turn, it will grow in synergy with the objectives of the Green Economy, implemented through a local strategic framework to encourage community participation.

Goals of the Green Economy

The construction sector represents 40% of energy consumption and generates more than one-third of greenhouse gas emissions. This is because the UK has been building carelessly for centuries, using outdated heating systems and insufficient insulation.

With this, the government has set a goal to increase the energy efficiency of old and new buildings. The plan includes upgrading central government buildings and retrofitting surfaces to meet energy performance requirements.

The target is to reduce national greenhouse gas emissions by 80pc by 2050. To achieve this target, the government has proposed an industry-wide collaboration to help the sector rebuild the UK’s energy future.

The government’s role is to set out and implement energy performance requirements and supply sustainable energy solutions to businesses. Energy solutions, such as carbon-reduction technologies and smart metres, will become available to the sector to make it easier to decarbonise the UK’s building stock.

In addition to the energy performance of buildings, the government also aims to boost the production and supply of goods and services for efficiency and eco-innovation. Apart from the building stock, there are other aspects of construction that are not energy-efficient.

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Challenges

The key challenges of the Green Economy initiative rest on companies in the construction sector and the end consumer. From a business standpoint, companies are reluctant to spend big on energy efficiency since most existing buildings are outdated.

Retrofitting to improve sustainability will be very costly while future buildings have the risk of becoming outdated in a few years. Companies also worry that the scale of the transition is too big, to the extent that each home in the UK will require some development. But many SMEs, such as M&E Maintenance Solutions Ltd, are jumping on board and have committed to investing in training for the renewable markets.

The potential of this transition lies in the people who are becoming more aware of the environmental agenda and are growing a mind for sustainability. Homeowners and SMEs will be the ones creating demand for more energy-efficient buildings and technologies.