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Navigating the Carbon Footprint in Construction

Introduction

The construction industry faces a significant challenge in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Buildings account for 38% of global CO2 emissions, with both operational and embodied carbon contributing to this figure.

 By addressing both operational and embodied carbon, it sets a benchmark for sustainable responsibility, balancing the need for efficiency with environmental impact.

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Operational Carbon Reduction

Energy efficiency improvements, as highlighted by the International Energy Agency, can lead to a 30% reduction in building sector emissions by 2030. This emphasises the need for energy-efficient designs and renewable energy sources, such as photovoltaic (PV) systems.

Embodied Carbon and Sustainable Construction

The World Green Building Council stresses the rising importance of embodied carbon, which will account for almost half of new construction emissions by 2050. Utilising low-carbon materials and construction methods is key.

Whole Life Cycle Carbon Assessment (WLCA):

This comprehensive evaluation quantifies a building's total carbon emissions throughout its lifecycle. For Silbury House, the WLCA identified significant CO2 emission potential savings, with a focus on reducing carbon from materials like raised access floor panels and carpet tiles.

Operational vs. Embodied Carbon

The operational energy emissions account for a significant portion of CO2 emissions, while embodied carbon from new materials also contributes notably.

Efficiency and Future Targets

Silbury House's predicted Energy Use Intensity (EUI) will be well below industry benchmarks, yet future refurbishments aim to achieve even lower EUIs, aligning with the LETI (Low Energy Transformation Initiative) 2050 target.

PV Panels and Carbon Savings

Integrating PV panels can substantially reduce carbon emissions, as part of the building's ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability.

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Conclusion

Silbury House's approach to carbon management exemplifies the construction industry's shift towards sustainability. By addressing both operational and embodied carbon, it sets a benchmark for sustainable responsibility, balancing the need for efficiency with environmental impact. This positive initiative not only contributes to climate change mitigation but also underscores the vital role of sustainable practices in modern construction.

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