The Challenge of Climate Change for the Construction Industry

Ellena Tangi

September 12, 2017

The construction industry is a notorious user of resources. Previously, the energy used in constructing and operating buildings in the UK was responsible for half of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. More recently, various buildings and developments have been built with the main focus on reducing greenhouse emissions and helping businesses reduce their carbon footprint to help towards an environmentally friendly industry. The EU has set targets and the UK government approved the Climate Change Act, so what exactly does the threat of climate change mean for the construction industry?

Much has to be taken into consideration now when planning and building a project, such as the location. Extreme weather conditions are a leading challenge of climate change. Increased frequency and intensity of storm surges can lead to flooding and drainage problems.  This also means that the materials used need to adhere to the changes in our climate.  With the potential for higher temperatures in the summer months, and storms and flooding in the cooler, the materials used need to act effectively, for example, not promoting mould, damp or condensation. Improving drainage systems, reinforcing walls, using more efficient windows, using solar panels and enlarging pipework are examples of ways we can improve our contribution to climate change.

Modern day buildings have to be designed and built in an environmentally friendly manner, this includes the location, materials used and how it will run when completed. The industry works closely with government legislation to improve the effect construction can have on the environment and its surroundings.

Additionally, architects now must design buildings that are environmentally sustainable, use raw materials and are low on pollution. Minimizing a project’s ecological footprint and maximizing the positive impact it will have on the environment make for a more sustainable industry and a more environmentally friendly one.

Although a challenge for the trade, trying to combat climate change cannot be avoided. In all areas of the industry, the target must be to build and deliver sustainable projects that will work to deal with climate change.

Monday, September 25th is World Green Building Week which brings together Green Building Councils from around the world to create a conversation about the role buildings play in our sustainable future, to find out more or attend the event, click here