We hear people talking about ‘Sustainability’ but what does it really mean to construction businesses in today’s market?
Generally people know what sustainability means but what they don’t appreciate is how it affects their everyday business life. Many think it is something they may have to address in the future, when in fact it has a significant impact on businesses today.
To provide a practical insight into what sustainability means, both today and in the future for businesses in the construction industry, the Council for Aluminium in Building (CAB) recently held its 6th Annual Technical Conference in Stratford, entitled “Achieving a Sustainable Business Future”. The event provided guidance on how companies can establish and maintain sustainability, not only in terms of the products, materials and services, but also ‘business sustainability’.
The conference focused on the responsible sourcing of aluminium products, the need to design products to last as long as possible, refurbishment where possible for extended life and finally the need to recycle at the highest recovery rates - currently in excess of 95%.
Given the existing harsh business environment it was acknowledged that every opportunity for potential future business has to be explored, whether in the form of incentives being offered to stimulate the market or in terms of niche market opportunities.
An incentive scheme introduced to delegates was one currently being developed by the Government in co-operation with businesses, the ‘Green Deal’. A scheme designed to provide funding to stimulate business for energy efficient products, such as replacement windows, with a view to improving the energy efficiency of the UK’s existing building stock.
A niche market opportunity highlighted at the conference was the exciting development of transparent photovoltaics which received a very positive reaction. Current indications suggest that the forthcoming changes to the energy performance of buildings, necessitated by the changes to the 2013 and 2016 UK Building Regulations, will involve the incorporation of renewable energy sources such as photovoltaics.
Recognising that government cut-backs have led to a shift away from new build, towards refurbishment the conference concluded with one of the UK’s refurbishment contractors providing an insight into the current business opportunities in that sector.
The five presentations during the Conference were:
- ‘Taking responsibility for sustainability in the construction materials supply chain’ by Dr Jacqueline Glass - Senior Lecturer in Architecture & Sustainable Construction Loughborough University
- ‘Development of responsible sourcing schemes for the Construction Industry’ by Monika Green - Committee Manager - Sustainability Bsi
- Diego Cuevas - Business Development USA - Onyx Solar Energy
- ‘The Green Deal, the UK Government initiative for improving the energy efficiency of existing building stock’ by Giles Wilson - Director for Technical Affairs - GGF
- ‘Achieving sustainability through refurbishment’ by Colin Grace - Director Commercial Windows & Doors (CWD)
For guidance on aluminium and its use and more information about joining CAB, its current membership, further activities and upcoming events, please contact Julie Harley at the CAB office on 01453 828851, by email at email@example.com