UKCW Birmingham: 1-3 October 2024 | NEC
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Transforming Construction with the new Active Building Centre | Construction Buzz #214

25 Apr 2019
We need to change the way our buildings are made to contribute to a more sustainable future. Currently, we’re still using outdated construction methods that haven’t been changed for 40 years! This causes a number of issues. One of the main ones is energy inefficiency.

So, change needs to happen – sooner rather than later.

However, steps are being taken in the right direction. Here’s a closer look at transforming construction with the New Active Building Centre.

What is the Centre?

The New Active Building centre aims to research and develop best practices for construction and sustainable living. This innovative technology will be implemented in 300 other buildings in the UK. It has been funded to explore the generation of green technologies and ways to cut energy bills.

Why does construction need a facelift?

Most of our buildings were constructed in the 1980s, using now-outdated methods and techniques.

Problems with energy

Traditional building standards did not account for climate change. This means our homes are now energy inefficient and extremely expensive to run. They fail to retain heat in the colder months, which means bills can be sky-high. Combined, these issues have been described as the ‘second housing crisis’ – as many families have found themselves in fuel poverty.

The UK is obligated to cut its carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 under the 2008 Climate Change Act. Currently, our buildings account for 40% of these emissions. So, the connection is clear!

We need to move towards a more sustainable future – with construction leading the way.

Lack of Productivity

Construction is a labour intensive industry that relies on the mobilisation of a skilled workforce, therefore it can lag behind other sectors in the economy. However, there are other reasons. One of the main ones is that the way we construct our homes and buildings hasn’t been updated in around 40 years!

Currently, the system has a number of issues, such as:

  • Lack of strategic planning
  • Inefficiency
  • Failure to utilise technologies
  • Failure to look at the bigger picture e.g. how people will experience their built environment
  • Lack of sustainable planning
  • Inconsistent techniques

There are a number of solutions to these issues, such as collaboration in the construction industry. But, change is happening slowly.

Failure to meet today’s needs

1980s construction methods didn’t take today’s needs into account – meaning our buildings no longer keep up with demands. We need to get the most out of our built environment.

How can it transform construction methods?

Clearly – change needs happen. Does the New Active Building Centre provide the answer?

It has a number of exciting features that are set to transform the way we design and use our buildings, including:

Generating power

The building is a powerhouse all on its own. It generates its own heating and electricity from the sun, paving the way from others to follow in its footsteps. It’s a demonstration of how buildings can use solar power to its full potential. Used in this way, green technology can lower energy bills, reduce carbon emissions and create better buildings to live and work in.

Contributing to a greener world

The building generates more power than it uses, meaning the surplus can then be reused rather than wasted. This means it can contribute to both electric vehicle utilisation and decarbonisation.

Source: UK Construction Online

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