With the country gripped in a worldwide pandemic for the last 12 months, green construction and the need to build in a more sustainable way slipped off the agenda somewhat.

But with a working vaccine being rolled out, and light at the end of the tunnel, the focus will soon be back on the UK ending its contribution to global warming.

And losing site of hitting those net zero targets by 2050 is not an option, according to Chris Williams, MD of Green Life Buildings (GLB).

With the Future Homes Standard requiring new build homes to be future-proofed with low carbon heating and world-leading levels of energy efficiency by 2025, with an expectation that homes built to that standard will have 75%-80% less carbon emissions than homes built to current standards, the industry must act fast.

“Finding the right balance between construction and the sustainable environment is essential to create more energy-efficient and healthier homes using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle,” said Chris.

“A zero-carbon economy will require energy-efficient manufacturing of building materials and energy-efficient structures, and the construction sector has opportunities over the short and long term to reduce carbon emissions through the choice of materials with a low environmental impact.

“It’s a daunting task, but one that is attainable if we get our act together now.”

A sustainable solution

From its Corby-based factory, GLB is manufacturing SIP panels and supplying its advanced eco modular building system to developers, housing associations and local authorities as a sustainable solution that also saves time and money.

In line with Government guidance on Modern Methods of Construction (MMC), the system consists of an exceptionally durable, lightweight, and adaptable sandwich eco SIP panel comprising of two galvanised welded steel wire meshes joined by connectors enclosing an expanded polystyrene sheet shaped as required. This is then assembled and sprayed with shotcrete on-site to complete the structure.

The versatile SIP panel allows for many different design options, from curves to geometric shapes and balconies to rooftop expansions, and can be used for external walls, any internal loadbearing walls, flooring and landing, roofing, and staircases – meaning a whole house can be constructed using the same building system.

Chris explained: “The panel is more than 90% air, providing the best carbon footprint per U value, while just 80mm of GLB’s low carbon concrete provides a structural wall with a carbon footprint of only 33kg/m2.

“Each home built using the system can reduce energy expenditure and carbon emissions by at least 65% compared to traditional builds when built to passive house U values but you notice the difference even with standard building regulation compliance.”

A lighter footprint

The build programme with GLB’s building system dramatically also reduces the impact on the environment.

The panels provide less waste in design and production, and as just a single truck is needed to distribute the material for one house, transporting is more economical and deliveries to site are reduced, lessening the impact on global resources.

The eco SIP panels create a tight building envelope, immediately reducing the amount of heat and cold that transfers through the walls and saving energy.

Chris said: “Our system’s whole-life carbon emissions, from its creation, maintenance and use, is much lower, and by balancing products which are low-maintenance, energy-efficient, and cost-effective with our construction needs, we will use the world’s resources more efficiently.”

Time to get moving

While current use of MMC is still relatively low, forward thinking companies are increasingly incorporating them into their building projects as they can help support a more sustainable approach.

“The huge benefit of using MMC is that if you do it right then you can do everything better and safer than traditional methods, including building quicker and cheaper,” added Chris. “But they also offer a more sustainable way to build, which is good for people and good for the planet.

“With carbon emissions targets to hit, designers and specifiers to understand what is already capable – because buildings should not be costing the earth.”

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Make a difference and change the way you build today

We know you are under pressure to reduce construction costs and build time, while also building in a more sustainable way. Our building system will provide you with greater speed of construction, a lower carbon footprint and better value than traditional bricks and mortar, steel, or timber frames. So, why not change the way you build today?

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