Thought-provoking webinar run by the NLA this morning on the subject of sustainable materials in buildings, and achieving net carbon. I hadn't appreciated how hugely building facades end up contributing to consumer scrap, and the resulting impact on the environment. The sparkly shiny building facades are in fact (along with some other construction materials) causing huge issues for the environment and carbon emissions.
It was encouraging to hear from environmental design engineers, Elementa, about the changes to building materials and layout that are already underway. I learnt today that aluminium is almost infinitely recyclable and companies such as Hydro Building Systems UK are recycling aluminium, which often results from scrapped facades, into window frames, door frames, curtain railing, or even back into new building facades.
Whilst these materials can take longer to procure and sometimes require more thought being given to the building layout, it is clear that better building design, and use of recyclable and recycled materials, is crucial towards achieving net zero carbon.
Construction and building materials are a heavy source of carbon emissions. Tackling embodied carbon in the built environment sector has proved to be one of the biggest challenge, as also outlined in the NLA Report Zero Carbon London. So what are the most sustainable materials that can be adopted in our buildings to lower carbon emissions? How can we make sure we used more recycled, natural and low-carbon materials in our buildings? What are the barriers and challenges?