New programme launched by CLC aims to drive carbon out of construction

A new cross-industry programme that aims to drive carbon emissions out of all parts of the construction sector, from manufacturing and design to build and operation, has been launched.

The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) is calling on businesses from across the industry to play their part in securing net zero carbon construction 2050. In this year of the UK hosting COP 26, it is imperative that the construction sector steps up to the challenge and supports the Race to Zero.

C02nstruct Zero is a cross-industry change programme to drive carbon out of all parts of the construction sector, from manufacturing and design to construction and operation of assets.

It is intended to promote the high-level priorities that the industry must work on to reduce carbon, thereby playing a part in achieving the UK Government's objective of net zero for the whole economy by 2050.

CO2nstruct Zero builds upon the way that the industry united last year as a single force to tackle COVID-19, ensuring a consistent approach is taken by the whole sector while avoiding duplication of work.

CO2nstruct Zero's priorities are:

Transport
- Accelerating the shift of the construction workforce to zero emission vehicles and onsite plant
- Maximising use of Modern Methods of Construction and improved onsite logistics, reducing waste and transport to sites
- Championing developments and infrastructure investments that both enable connectivity with low carbon modes of transport and design to incorporate readiness for zero emission vehicles

Buildings
- Work with Government to deliver retrofitting to improve energy efficiency of the existing housing stock
- Scale up industry capability to deliver low carbon heat solutions in buildings, supporting heat pump development, trials of hydrogen heating systems and heat networks
- Enhancing the energy performance of new and existing buildings through higher operational energy efficiency standards and better building energy performance monitoring

Construction activity
- Implementing carbon measurement, to support construction projects in making quantifiable decisions to remove carbon
- Become world leaders in designing out carbon, developing the capability of designers and construction professionals to develop designs in line with circular economy – reducing embedded and operational carbon, shifting commercial models to incentivise and reward measurable carbon reductions.
- Support development of innovative low carbon materials (prioritising concrete and steel) as well as advancing low carbon solutions for manufacturing production processes and distribution

The CLC is now inviting companies and organisations from across industry to link up with CO2nstruct Zero, getting involved with its delivery. The aim of CO2nstruct Zero is not to develop new solutions or new pathways – the CLC believes it has a critical role to play in bringing people together to consolidate collective actions and plans for the sector.

An action plan is being prepared, aligned to the nine priorities, co-ordinating the extensive and exciting work already happening right across the industry. Organisations can volunteer to help with the development of the action plan by bringing their initiatives to join up, while individual businesses are encouraged to become Business Champions sharing their approach to delivering on the nine priorities and contributing to the Race for Zero.

The action plan will also consider changing skills needs and how these can be addressed to provide a workforce that can achieve net zero.

CLC chair, Andy Mitchell CBE said: "There is no bigger challenge that our industry faces than the need to decarbonise. We need to pull the whole industry together, letting everyone know what they can do to reduce carbon, while unlocking strategic changes that will set the sector on a new course towards net zero."

The Construction Leadership Council will be identifying measurable targets to show how the industry is making progress towards Net Zero. CO2nstruct Zero will act as the focal point of engagement for the industry with Government in preparation for November’s COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow.

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