The requirements for a low-carbon future were the focus of discussion as industry experts gave speeches to an audience of more than 300 at this year’s BSRIA Briefing, held at London’s The Brewery.
The opening presentation was delivered by the government’s chief construction advisor Paul Morrell, who posed the question of whether the construction industry is fit to deliver a low-carbon future.
One major problem cited was the lack of data in many areas, making it virtually impossible to effectively measure and assess the situation the industry is in, a difficulty that has further implications for the future.
A major concern is how to encourage more involvement in carbon reduction in anticipation of the 2020 deadline for achieving the government’s low-carbon targets, a situation described as “hugely worrying”.
Industry needs to change how it interacts throughout the supply chain, said Mr Morrell, with more focus on whole-life value of systems and buildings.
A major problem at present is that of specifying the most effective solution for each project, due to lack of understanding of the various technological solutions on offer.
Mr Morrell mentioned renewable options, including photovoltaic and biomass, arguing that combined heat and power “makes sense” and is currently receiving “a lot of interest”.
“The whole of society needs to change its behaviour,” he said, adding that the construction sector is at the core of the debate.
AEA Group consultant and programme director of CHPQA Mahmoud Abu-Ebid spoke of the potential benefits of district heating, which accounted for less than two per cent of UK requirements compared with Denmark’s 60 per cent.
The provision of heating networks could reduce waste and provide a flexible, low-carbon solution for houses and businesses, he suggested.
The district heating subject was further explored by BSRIA’s Gambi Chiang, who also analysed the use of CHP in the context of her presentation on energy supply contracting.
A practical example of district heating and cooling was then provided by Buro Happold’s Ian Guest, who described the energy centres of the Olympic Park, including the technology employed and how this had been designed to react to future developments.
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