Reducing the carbon footprint of Europe's construction
Sustainable construction is vital in the fight against climate change. Europe’s construction sector needs to reduce its carbon footprint in order to contribute to the fight against climate change. This requires a process of continuous innovation in the efficient use of resources that make up construction products, efficient use of energy in the production process, and improving the thermal properties of building envelopes.
AAC is a material of choice for sustainable construction. Strong but lightweight and easy-to-use, for outdoor and indoor purposes. It is made from naturally occurring materials that can be found in abundance, such as lime, fine sand, other siliceous materials, water and a small amount of aluminium powder (manufactured from a by-product of aluminium), and cement.
Thanks to continuous efficiency improvements, production of AAC demands relatively small amounts of raw materials per m3 of product, and up to a fifth as much as other construction products. There is no waste of raw materials in the production process and all production offcuts are fed back into the production circuit. The small amount of surplus material left over after curing is ground and recovered for other uses. Industrial-quality water is used and neither water nor steam are released into the environment.
Response to the European Green Deal
Reducing the carbon footprint of Europe’s building stock in order to achieve the overarching goals of the Green Deal requires a holistic approach with differentiated implementation to ensure maximum impact.
·1. The proposal for an EU Climate Law includes a net-zero emissions target by 2050. For the construction sector, this implies a move from the nearly zero to a net zero emissions target for Europe’s building stock. Buildings still account for the biggest share (40%) of total EU energy consumption and produce about 35% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Achieving this target can only be envisioned when complementarity of energy performance measures is promoted, and through a focus on net-zero energy districts and integration of on-site renewable energy units.
2. The Renovation Wave Initiative will play an important role in delivering on the energy efficiency targets for buildings. The key objective for the European Commission is to at least double or even triple the renovation rate of buildings, which currently stands at around 1.3%. However, we cannot depend on renovation alone, considering this low annual renovation rate and the quality of Europe’s post-war building stock. We should also set incentives to renew buildings through a complementary investment plan for more long term building replacement. Demolition and new build can ensure a state-of-the-art energy performance which is not always possible when upgrading old building stock, as well as allow for building design to be tailored to the needs of inhabitants.
3. Further efforts of decarbonisation will be made through the smart sector integration strategy. We need to incorporate the construction and building sector as the way energy is spent and saved can be strongly influenced by intelligent measures such as smart metering.