2nd year BSc Building Surveying student studying at Kingston UniversityStudent
The UK is not on track to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 or to achieve an 80% reduction by 2050; 47% of UK carbon emissions are generated by, or influenced by, the construction industry, and 80% of those emissions are from buildings in use.
Existing buildings is an area of the construction and property industry that cannot be ignored; emissions from existing building count to 80% in the construction industry. Smart and greener technologies need to be introduced into exiting buildings and tighter regulations on domestic and commercial emissions need to be implemented in order to regulate energy use.
New materials for insulating homes; smart technologies for regulating energy use within the home; and the implementation of BIM for existing buildings are just a few ways that could help to reduce carbon emissions and help the UK meet their goals.
Using reclaimed materials (brick, metal, timer), recycled materials (paper, polymers, fabric), new materials (hempcrete) or existing materials (straw bales) are a few options for insulating existing buildings to improve their thermal efficiency, carbon emissions and improve energy use.
Tighter regulations also need to be enforced on homes that do not meet a certain standard; regulations such as EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) is a good place to start but rather than it applying to properties being bought or rented out, it should apply to all properties regardless of their status (bought or rented).
Smart systems and green technologies should be introduced to existing buildings to regulate energy usage; light sensors, MVHR systems, ground source heat pumps, living walls are just some of the options for smart systems in the home.
BIM can also be applied to existing buildings to help monitor energy usage whilst the building is in use; BIM cannot only apply to new construction.
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