Director of ESG, Tassos Kougionis, provides insight into the role construction must play to meet the 2050 net zero target.
The 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26, 31 Oct - 12 Nov 2021 Glasgow) marked a new era for the world. It progresses the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to well below 2oC, preferably to 1.5oC, compared to pre-industrial levels.
Nations will soon be finalising the rules needed to implement the Paris Agreement, called the ‘Paris Rulebook’ and setting their nationally determined contributions (NDCs).
Construction has a key role to play in such a transition. The built environment is a major consumer of energy and resources - both during construction and during operation - and contributes some 40% of the UK’s carbon emissions(1).
If the UK is to meet the 2050 net zero target, we need to optimise and change the way we design, deliver and certify the actual performance of projects.
Reducing our carbon emissions, the use of natural resources and enabling a ‘circular economy’ model offers major societal and economical co-benefits.
The UK government expects 1.7 million new ‘green’ jobs to be created by 2030 while the turnover in the UK low carbon and renewable energy economy (LCREE) was estimated to be £42.6 billion in 2019(2).
Process optimisation, the use of new materials and new and diversified supply chains offer additional cost savings for both public and private construction stakeholders.
The concept of embodied and whole life carbon shifts the attention to local products, energy efficient and green manufacturing processes providing a huge opportunity for UK business growth and the generation of exportable knowledge.
New technologies can deliver products that achieve better efficiencies, while diagnostic and post-construction monitoring tools and controls re-assure us of the performances achieved. They also enable lenders, owners and occupiers to set targets, metrics and project financing programmes and initiatives based on actual data.
New national policies including the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) Regulations, the new Part L of the Building Regulations (England and Wales), the Future Homes Standard and changes within Local Authority plans require the sector to upskill and deliver government minimum requirements as soon as possible.
Our understanding of the important role we play, as construction sector stakeholders, has never been greater. We must utilise and develop tools to evaluate our impact as a sector, such as BIM, net zero champions, lifecycle/ whole life carbon and cost analysis, risk analysis and others.
We – the construction sector - are developers, enablers and innovators, we produce and export knowledge and we take pride in the projects we deliver. So let’s do what we do best and offer a better future for the generations to come.
From protecting vulnerable groups, reducing fuel poverty, providing greener spaces, upgrading existing buildings and structures, creating net zero hospitals to unlocking social benefits for users and communities, we are part and drivers of this change.
Finally and as per the UN Sustainable Development Goal No.17 ‘Partnerships for the Goals’, ‘’A successful development agenda requires inclusive partnerships built upon principles and values, and upon a shared vision and shared goals placing people and the planet at the centre’’.
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McBains launches dedicated ESG business unit with appointment of ESG-specialist Tassos Kougionis
Tassos Kougionis has been appointed by McBains to drive the firm’s environmental and social value agenda. Tassos joined McBains as Director of ESG on November 29, 2021 to head up a new, dedicated business unit focused exclusively on environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG).