The transition to sustainable construction

The transition to sustainable construction

WORLD FINANCE in this article by Angelica Krystle Donati, CEO, Donati Immobiliare Group. It is on an idea of the transition to sustainable construction.

The image above is of Modular wooden houses made out of renewable resources 

Many aspects of life as we knew it changed irrevocably when the global pandemic hit, and even though the path to a circular and greener economy was well underway before then, the rebound from COVID-19 should be a catalyst for change in the construction sector

After many years of stagnation, the construction industry is finally expected to grow significantly in the next decade according to the Future of Construction, a report published by Marsh & Guy Carpenter. The report envisages a solid rebound from the COVID-19 outbreak this year, with worldwide construction production increasing by 6.6 percent. Construction spending contributed to 13 percent of global GDP in 2020 and this is expected to rise steadily over the next few years. By 2030, global construction output is expected to increase by 35 percent from today’s levels.

Thanks to governmental measures aimed both at reaching environmental targets and kick starting the economy, construction, which has always lagged behind other sectors from a growth perspective due to critically low margins and consequentially low R&D spending, is seeing a renaissance. Italy, for example, has a commitment to reduce CO2 emissions by 55 percent by 2030, and to zero by 2050 within the European ‘green new deal.’ The construction sector will be pivotal in achieving this goal, as the built environment must be upgraded to be more sustainable.

Meanwhile, the European Union’s ‘next generation EU’ fund will help support recovery of construction in Western Europe with growth forecasts suggesting the sector will expand by 7.9 percent in 2021. Italy will benefit from over €196bn, and 48 percent of this will be spent on construction projects. For example, €68.9bn is destined for ecological transition and 40 percent of this sum (€29.3bn), is intended for energy efficiency and the upgrade of existing buildings.

On the other side of the pond, the US have established the ‘build back better’ programme, which is a projected $7trn COVID-19 relief and stimulus package designed to accelerate economic recovery and for investment in large infrastructure projects proposed by President Joe Biden. It is projected to create 10 million clean-energy jobs.

Sustainability and the circular economy
Climate change and the race to net zero are arguably the greatest challenges that the construction industry is facing. The building and construction industry as a whole is responsible for 40 percent of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions and produces 30 percent of Europe’s waste.

The industry is finally waking up to the importance of proactively addressing climate change concerns and embracing responsibility for its direct and indirect carbon emissions. The major contributors to these emissions are the materials used, as well as the heating, cooling and lighting of buildings and infrastructure. Sustainability is not just a matter of corporate responsibility, but it is good for business – and many companies are investing heavily in sustainable practices not just to be good global citizens, but also because it makes great financial sense.

As construction entrepreneurs, we have a responsibility to lead our industry’s evolution towards the practice of maximum respect for the environment, both in terms of construction methods and the life cycle of the built environment. To achieve this goal, the sector must focus on innovation, sustainability, and the circular economy.

The impact of sustainable objectives
To meet sustainability objectives, it is important to positively impact the life cycle of each project as well as improving building methods. There are many construction techniques available that are less damaging to the environment, and technology and materials choices that make long-term management of an asset more sustainable. The circular economy, for example, is creating added value in the construction industry. According to data from the Italian ‘national association of building constructors,’ the transition to the circular economy system is increasingly becoming a fundamental value for construction companies, with 81 percent of respondents to a recent poll stating that it is key to their future goals.

In Italy, the 110 percent super-bonus is giving a positive boost to the industry as it encourages the private sector to invest in energy efficiency by funding upgrades to existing buildings at no actual cost to their owners. In addition, the use of eco-friendly materials as a standard practice is hugely beneficial in the long term as they do not have an adverse impact on the environment when used and can easily be recycled.

Finally, the use of technology is essential for reducing emissions and preserving the ecosystem. The sector has responded to the COVID-19 outbreak by focusing more heavily on innovation as it is fundamental to respond to the evolving needs of the construction market to ensure the industry’s transformation. The sector will have to adapt to a changing environment and create resilience to the serious effects of climate change. For its part, the construction industry has all the credentials to meet this challenge, enhance its evolution to a green economy and contribute substantially to the revitalisation of the global economy.

Turkish construction firm goes carbon-neutral for sustainable future

Turkish construction firm goes carbon-neutral for sustainable future

Daily Sabah via ANADOLU AGENCY, came up with this assertion that a Turkish construction firm goes carbon-neutral for a sustainable future. Let us see.

The above image is for illustration and is of Daily Sabah.

A project by Dorçe Prefabrik. (AA Photo)

 ISTANBUL JAN 11, 2022: The Turkish construction company Dorçe Prefabrik continues to conduct business based on environmental awareness and fair socioeconomic development by using natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations.

The construction sector is one of the sectors where natural resources are used the most. In addition to high energy consumption, heavy machinery and equipment also use fossil fuels.

For a sustainable world, Dorçe continues to work toward becoming carbon neutral by protecting environmental conditions, using recyclable and renewable materials and minimizing energy consumption and waste generation.

With the United Nations’ global principles and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the EU’s Green Deal carbon-neutral policy, the effect of the circular economy and technological developments via digitalization, the construction industry in developed countries is evolving into steel prefabricated modular structures.

Dorçe embodies the transformation with the “ISO 14064 Carbon Footprint Declaration Certificate.”

On July 14 last year, the EU approved the Carbon Border implementation, which was prepared with the aim of becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral continent in 2050.

Participating last year in the 26th U.N. Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), which was held as a follow-up to the Paris Climate Agreement and the U.N. Climate Change Framework Agreement, the company once again demonstrated the importance and determination it attaches to this transformation.

The firm considers the concept of sustainability from every angle, continuing its activities with a structure that adopts the U.N. principles and the EU Green Deal targets.

Using Building Information Modeling (BIM) in design, the firm targets reducing its environmental footprint, a zero-waste policy, a fully recyclable production structure, an employee-centered organizational structure, sensitivity to social problems, added value supporting social development in Turkey and other countries where it is active, and developing modular structure projects by benefiting from developing technology, digitalization, and research and development activities.

Sustainable steel structure

The “Workers Accommodation Camps” project, which started as an integrated worker accommodation facility for 4,000 people, was converted into a quarantine hospital by adapting to coronavirus pandemic conditions.

The Umm Slal COVID-19 Quarantine Hospital, which currently has a bed capacity of 4,000, can be increased to an 8,000-bed capacity if needed.

As part of the emergency and preventive measures taken by the Qatari government against the pandemic, the four-story hospital buildings were completed in a short time with the method of recyclable prefabricated light steel structures.

After the 2003 earthquake in Bam, Iran, the company met the emergency accommodation needs of the earthquake victims with prefabricated modular solutions in a very short time.

The modular housing units, which can be dismantled, reinstalled and easily transported, continue to serve as student dormitories throughout Iran.

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Qatar 2022 accelerates environmental rating practices

Qatar 2022 accelerates environmental rating practices

With only a few weeks to go, Qatar 2022 carries on accelerating its environmental rating practices.  It envisages the after the event.

Qatar 2022 accelerates environmental rating practices

Qatar 2022 accelerates environmental rating practices

Doha: From the moment Qatar won the rights to host the FIFA World Cup 2022, the country has prioritised sustainability in the construction of all its infrastructure projects, including eight state-of-the-art stadiums.

In order to meet stringent environmental standards in line with FIFA’s requirements, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) worked closely with the Gulf Organisation for Research & Development (GORD) to have all Qatar 2022 infrastructure projects rated under the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS).

Launched in 2007 as the Qatar Sustainability Assessment System, GORD rebranded it to GSAS to include projects across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in 2012. It is the region’s first integrated and performance-based system that assesses and rates buildings and infrastructure for their sustainability impacts. GSAS is aimed at improving the design, construction and operations of buildings, while also identifying sustainability challenges specific to the MENA region’s building environment. In 2014, FIFA approved GSAS as the sustainability rating system to assess all infrastructure built for this year’s World Cup.

Since then, all eight Qatar 2022 stadiums have achieved a minimum four-star GSAS rating for Design & Build, starting with the redeveloped Khalifa International Stadium and concluding recently with both Lusail Stadium and Stadium 974.

Five World Cup venues earned a top GSAS rating of five stars for Design & Build, while six stadiums earned a Class A* rating for Construction Management.

The venues were also certified for their operations and energy centre efficiency.

“The GSAS system is now used to assess new buildings across Qatar – it’s an example of World Cup legacy in action,” said Dr. Yousef Alhorr, Founding Chairman, GORD.

“In the past 10 years, the system has been applied on over 1,500 building projects, including the metro, stadiums and even new cities, such as Lusail. The ratings range from two to five stars, depending on the project. The process of evaluation is extensive and separated into desk review and site audit.”

The use of GSAS certification has been invaluable in measuring the country’s sustainability goals, which were first laid out in Qatar National Vision 2030, with the World Cup providing the perfect milestone to expedite and catalyse sustainable development and major sustainability-oriented projects in the country.

It has also been invaluable in helping both Qatar and FIFA remain on course to fulfilling the objectives set out by both entities in the FIFA World Cup 2022 Sustainability Strategy, with Qatar 2022 set to change the way future World Cup competitions and other sporting mega events are organised around the world.

“From the very beginning, sustainability has been at the heart of all of our projects for Qatar 2022,” said Eng. Bodour Al Meer, the SC’s Sustainability Executive Director.

“We are thankful to GORD for helping us to reach our sustainability targets by auditing each of our World Cup stadium sites 11 times. The projects we have delivered showcase the impact of hosting the first FIFA World Cup in the region and are helping to push the sustainability message further than ever before.”

In addition to eight exemplary green stadiums, Qatar 2022 has also provided training to hundreds of professionals in green building practices, enhanced supply chains for sustainable products and materials, and new innovative engineering solutions. These contributions will lead to the successful delivery of more green buildings in the future.

 

Read on The Peninsula

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is digital trust the key to sustainable planning?

Is digital trust the key to sustainable planning?

Is digital trust the key to sustainable planning? wondered Nicole Bennetts, Senior Urban and Regional Planner in an ARUP blog.  The answer follows.

Is digital trust the key to sustainable planning?

Our growth challenges in cities globally are becoming more complex. Now more than ever, we need new solutions and creativity to help us shape more resilient and sustainable cities in the future.

For the first time in history, we have access to dynamic urban data to understand people’s collective behaviours in real time. If used, this expansive evidence base can help planners, designers, and decision-makers make more informed decisions about the future of our cities.

However, the timing dilemma is an obstacle in harnessing this data. While urban environments typically develop every 50 years, technology moves more rapidly, significantly improving every five years, creating a disparity between urban planning and urban living.

So how does the planning industry keep pace with digital technology to create sustainable outcomes? One way is to improve our relationship with the digital world and put trust and confidence in digital tools and innovative solutions.

Is digital trust the key to sustainable planning?

While urban environments typically develop every 50 years, technology moves more rapidly, significantly improving every five years, creating a disparity between urban planning and urban living.

While urban environments typically develop every 50 years, technology moves more rapidly, significantly improving every five years, creating a disparity between urban planning and urban living.

Why should planners trust data and digital?

Our cities are where urban planning and living come together. They are a super ‘neural network’ of interrelated systems. To create intelligent, responsive cities, urban development must embrace new possibilities using data and the internet of things (IoT).

Technology and data have never been more available. As a result, urban planning has a massive opportunity to unleash its full potential by investing more time and resources into harnessing data and digital planning.

Tools like the ‘digital twin’ are likely to become an indispensable part of future ‘urban infrastructure’, enabling the seamless integration of the ‘physical’ and ‘digital’ worlds and redefining how we plan.

Similarly, digital master planning is a framework to test thousands of options based on various variables and parameters to test failure, resilience, adaptative pathways, optimal living conditions, human health and welling, energy efficiency and more.

The planning industry must adapt to this changing paradigm, by matching the efforts and confidence invested in building the cloud system and IoT coverage, or risk being left behind.

How Arup planners are using the power of digital

Projects worldwide show the value and credibility of digital tools to create growth and provide sustainable outcomes.

Cities urban tree canopy is a critical component of green infrastructure providing comfortable environments and reducing heat. Arup’s leading Urban tree canopy analysis used is a study for the City of Gold Coast, which uses a computer algorithm to determine the percentage of vegetation cover over different time intervals to show canopy changes.

Terrain is Arup’s bespoke artificial intelligence and land use analysis tool. It harnesses the power of data analytics, machine learning and automation to accurately digest large quantities of data and satellite imagery. Using this tool, we calculated seven cities’ sponginess by measuring the green and blue infrastructure areas to understand how cities can better use this infrastructure to face increasing threats from climate change – including heavy rainfall and extreme heat events.

Another Arup tool is the City Algorithm Tool (CAT) which tests hundreds of growth scenarios using different development and community value parameters to determine optimal outcomes for urban living. For example, Smakkelaarsveld in the Netherlands used algorithms to optimise the scheme design against multiple KPIs, including sustainability and environmental objectives.

Similarly, digital master planning can test site and precinct options based on various variables and parameters to test failure, resilience, adaptative pathways and optimal living conditions.

The last example, solar analysis helps test hundreds of layouts and orientations to achieve optimal living conditions and thermal comfort. For example, for Mahindra World City Jaipur, we used solar assessment tools to determine the optimal orientation for the plots and streets to provide thermal comfort in a hot climate.

Small risks, great rewards

Trust in the planning process is the foundation for our cities to take the best path to sustainable growth. Taking small, calculated risks in improving our digital capabilities now can lead to great rewards for our cities.

Is digital trust the key to sustainable planning?

Taking small, calculated risks in improving our digital capabilities now can lead to great rewards for our cities.

  • Speed and efficiency, automating tedious and repetitive tasks and allowing more design and collaboration time.
  • Test 3D scenarios, assessing hundreds or thousands of options during the planning process against agreed parameters or criteria.
  • Facilitate approval process, comparing design scenarios with consented planning schemes and existing site conditions for faster agreement on key issues.
  • Identify client priorities; testing many possibilities can help identify what is most important.
  • Improve participatory design; with more data, we can understand community needs and improve community engagement.

Read more on ARUP post.

The art of designing energy efficiency

The art of designing energy efficiency

The art of designing energy efficiency

Nareg Oughourlian, managing Director of Commercial at Alpin Limited, with a background in Mechanical Engineering.

Energy efficiency: Rome was not built in a day, or so the saying goes. In November 2021, the UAE pledged to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and, in doing so, became the first Gulf state to commit to a timeline to decarbonise its economy and fully reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Not that this happened out of the blue; the UAE has been heavily financing clean energy projects such as Masdar, Sustainable City, and the Barakah nuclear plant for over 15 years, inexorably pushing the sustainability envelope in the region and worldwide.

Internationally recognised guidelines require most companies to decarbonise 90-95% of CO2.

The country has always been known for its sky-high ambitions and impressive success rate, of that there is little doubt. However, the net-zero target marks a real turning point in the way things are done in the UAE and, more importantly, sets up a challenging and exciting target. It requires an exact drive for the future, challenged only by the limitations of sustainable development.

The previously held reliance on oil is changing, and the region is shifting towards alternative options. Shifting towards an ecological mindset remains at the core of any decisions that need to be made moving forward. The UAE is proudly leading the way in the region alongside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Following the pledge to reduce emissions at the 2015 Paris agreement, many countries fell through on the promise to achieve short-term goals, but structurally altering the policies of a nation takes time, and changes are slowly and surely being made across the globe. In the UAE, winning the bid to host the COP28 global climate talks in 2023 further cements the seriousness and gravity of the 2050 target and, amongst other things, the future of green buildings and the built environment in the region.

The art of designing energy efficiency

Energy efficiencies and net-zero goals

Net-zero emissions are essentially focused on maintaining a balance between the greenhouse gases created and the amount that are taken out. In addition to reducing carbon emissions, there is also reliance on carbon offsetting or carbon removal.

Internationally recognised guidelines require most companies to decarbonise 90-95% of all CO2 emissions through internal abatement options to reach net-zero. For the remaining 5-10% of emissions, qualifying neutralisation activities can be used. Those neutralisation activities are not referred to as offsets, but instead include only activities that directly pull carbon out of the atmosphere, which can be done through Direct Air Capture, bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, improved soil and forest management, and land restoration. This is a contrast to the term ‘zero carbon,’ which concentrates on reducing existing carbon emissions to zero.

It is a well-known fact that the construction industry is a leading cause of C02 emissions, with 39% of global CO2 emissions attributed to building and construction. This means that any small changes within the industry can enormously impact the environment and climate change.

So, how can buildings reduce their impact on the environment? The immediate answer to these questions lies within the innovation of Low and net-zero Energy and Carbon Strategies. A net-zero building produces as much energy as it consumes on an annual basis. This energy balance is propped up by maintaining energy efficiency by the effective design of building operations.

 

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