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‘Act Now’ To Meet 2050 Zero Carbon Target

The construction industry and the government alike have been called upon by the leading trade body representing builders to act now if they want to have any chance of meeting the 2050 zero carbon target.

The National Federation of Builders’ (NFB’s) Major Contractors Group published its latest report earlier this month (November 8th), warning that unless the sector isn’t transformed within a generation, it will have failed the country and the government will not meet its zero carbon ambitions.

Chair of the group Mark Wakeford explained that while it might sound as though 2050 is a long way off, it’s not a huge amount of time to drive radical change across the industry and, as such, action must be taken now.

“Anyone still operating the same way as they are today in 20 years’ time will be lucky to still be in business. There are no excuses: government, contractors, the supply chain, manufacturers, designers and the trades must all embrace the challenge now, as highlighted in our recommendations,” he went on to say.

Mr Wakeford further explained that domestic housing requires a spend of £15 billion a year, while infrastructure, commercial and industrial property need up to £10 billion annually, the power sector £20 billion a year and flood defences £1 billion.

But it’s not just about money and the transformation required in the sector is multifaceted, so it’s essential that the government and the industry collaborate to bring together developments in design, products, skills, materials, transport and more.

Nick Sangwin, chairman of the NFB itself, spoke at the launch of the report, saying that it has been designed to spur the sector into action, helping it to see what opportunities lie ahead and to help pave the way towards a zero carbon future. He added that it’s vital those in the industry now step forward and implement a real step change in how they operate and do business.

Earlier this year (September), the World Green Building Council set out how buildings and infrastructure on a global scale can achieve 40 per cent less embodied carbon emissions by 2030, as well as achieving 100 per cent net zero emissions buildings come 2050.

Building and construction make up 39 per cent of all global carbon emissions, while operational emissions (energy used to cool, heat and light buildings) account for 28 per cent. And 11 per cent comes from upfront carbon (also known as embodied carbon) linked to materials and construction processes across the building’s entire lifecycle.

Addressing the issue of upfront carbon is vital to help tackle the climate crisis and keep global temperatures rises at 1.5 degrees C, given that new construction is predicted to double the building stock around the world by 2060 – which will see an increase in the emissions taking place right now.

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