Green Construction Board (GCB) chair Mike Putnam has challenged the construction sector to embrace the circular economy and set itself targets to accelerate towards a lower carbon future.
Launching the GCB’s new “Top Tips for Embedding Circular Economy Principles in the Construction Industry” guide today, he said industry had to show greater leadership with a new approach to the use of materials and performance on waste and carbon.
“My challenge to you is to ask what are your personal and company targets for embracing the circular economy and your commitments for the year ahead?” said Putnam at the launch event which was held alongside the launch by the London Waste And Recycling Board (LWARB) of London’s Circular Economy Route Map.
“I would like all of you to embrace these tips and this agenda,” he added, pointing out that the expected increased investment in infrastructure across the UK provided a substantial opportunity. “It is important that we all embrace the challenge and show some leadership,” he said. “I think that this industry has a bright future but let’s make it a bright low carbon future.”
The new Top Tips web based guide includes specific guidance for the whole construction supply chain - including clients, designers, product and component manufacturers, contractors and demolition contractors - to engage with the circular economy and so make better use of materials and resources across the entire life of assets.
The guide has been produced by the GCB Circular Economy working group, chaired by Robert Pearce of Haskoll Architects and Secretariat by Jane Thornback of Construction Products Association.
One of the contributors to Top Tips, BRE principle consultant and Loughborough University researcher Katherine Adams, explained that while there was no magic bullet to help the UK construction industry to transforms its performance on waste and resource use, the circular economy was a key tool.
“Circular economy looks at performance from the raw material right through to the end user,” Adams explained. “While the construction industry has been improving its performance over the last few years, we still see that 60% of all waste material generated in the UK is from this sector - and the waste that is recycled is often of a very low value.” Adams explained that the benefits from embracing a circular economy approach are multiple.
However, industry buy-in, she added, was crucial if the sector was to maximise these benefits. And while incremental change was usually easier to achieve than a wholesale transformation in approach, it was important for the sector to aim high and drive performance with measurement.
“Top Tips for Embedding Circular Economy Principles in the Construction Industry” is available free of charge at: http://cetoptips.com/