Making the housing sector greener

The UK is leading the way in tackling climate change, setting out ambitious targets to significantly reduce carbon emissions and make the UK a greener place for future generations to come.

Following recommendations made by the Committee on Climate Change, the UK Government has taken an unprecedented step and committed to achieving net-zero for UK carbon emissions by 2050.

This will mean a significant ramping up and strengthening of existing emissions reduction policies, like:

  • new and existing buildings should be more energy-efficient and fitted with low carbon heating;
  • electric vehicles to be the only option available on the market by 2035 or earlier,
  • reducing emissions produced through farming;
  • increasing tree planting;
  • a greater shift towards the supply of low-carbon electricity;

What does this mean for construction?

According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), the transport sector, particularly road transport, was responsible for 27 per cent (125.9 MtCO2e) of UK greenhouse gas emissions in 2017. This has remained at around the same level during the last decade.

Pollution busting measures, like clean air zones in cities where vehicle pollution is at its highest, are being introduced. With any change to legislation, somewhere along the supply chain, a cost rise is incurred: on this occasion, it’s with the hauliers.

The BMF has previously raised concerns that any potential rise in transport costs could be to the detriment of building project starts. This at a time when the UK government is aiming to ramp up housebuilding to 300,000 houses per annum.

So, what is the solution?

At Bellway Homes’ Hanwell View, a housing development which will provide 512 new homes for the Banbury area, we devised a ground modelling strategy that prevented 20,000m3 of non-hazardous materials from going to a landfill. By retaining the material on-site, we were able to reduce our client’s disposal costs, along with the number of HGV movements required to transport materials off-site.

Other schemes where we have developed similar ground modelling strategies for our clients include Mallard Walk in Stafford, where we used 4,500m 3 of non-hazardous materials to raise the public open space (POS) by 1.2m, and Foxhill in Brackley, a solution that used 4,500m 3 of non-hazardous materials to raise the POS area by 700mm. On both occasions, reusing the materials on-site saved our client’s money and reduced the number of lorry movements going off-site to a landfill.

So, by applying an alternative approach to your construction project, additional cost pressures from the UK government’s net-zero for UK carbon emissions target need not be an issue.

If you’d like to work with a forward-thinking civil engineering and groundworks specialist, call us on 0121 554 2108 to talk with one of our experts.