The energy transition is a major challenge for the building industry. It involves transforming the way buildings are designed, constructed and operated in order to reduce their environmental impact while increasing their energy efficiency.
This issue is even more crucial today, when we know that the construction sector contributes 23 % of air pollution, 40 % of drinking water pollution and 50 % of landfill waste, according to Willmott Dixon.
In order to reduce this impact, the building industry has the opportunity to turn to an energy transition. Find out in this article why and how to make a success of this sustainable approach in the building sector.
Why make an energy transition?
Reducing the energy consumption of buildings
According to the World Green Building Council, the construction sector is responsible for approximately 40% of the world’s primary energy consumption. By taking energy efficiency into account, this environmental impact can be significantly reduced. Indeed, sustainable buildings can potentially reduce energy consumption by 50% by 2050. In the same vein, sustainable architecture aims to reduce up to 84 gigatonnes of CO2 emissions by 2025.
Lower operating costs
A possible obstacle for building stakeholders in achieving an energy transition is the idea that it is an expensive process. However, McGraw Hill Construction reports show that the expected savings from sustainable buildings will range from 10% to 52% between 2021 and 2026. So it is possible to combine sustainability and cost reduction!
Sustainable buildings: an asset for landlords
Owning sustainable buildings is a real asset for owners and developers. Indeed, Mckinsey reports that sustainable or green buildings can increase asset value by 7% more than non-green buildings.
Benefits for workers in ‘green’ spaces
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, working in a green office environment improves cognitive performance by 61%. With green offices, which allow for more green space, better ventilation and energy efficiency, the impact on workers is significant. If your customers are businesses, co-working companies, or even teleworkers who want to work more healthily, then your sustainable buildings and products will bring you real added value.
How to stand out from the competition
The construction industry has a card to play to differentiate itself from its competitors. They can now offer personalised, tailor-made solutions that will meet the specific needs of the client. They can thus guarantee energy-efficient buildings.
Construction professionals will also be able to rely much more on the quality and innovation of their products and services. This innovation is important to differentiate oneself from the competition when one is an architect or engineer. Those who keep an eye on this subject and on new construction practices will always be one step ahead of the others.
To meet the growing demand for green buildings, the energy transition represents a real opportunity to differentiate oneself by offering sustainable solutions. While this can be a challenge to adapt to new technologies and methodologies, overall, investment in energy transition is seen as a long-term investment. This is true both in terms of sustainability and competitiveness in the future.
How to make the energy transition a success?
Now that we know the benefits of the digital transition, how do we go about it as a construction professional?
Achieving the energy transition in the construction sector requires a global and strategic approach. At BIM&CO, we recommend the following steps to achieve this:
Raising awareness and training your teams
Whether you are a design office, an architectural firm or a manufacturing company, it is important for you to understand the challenges of the energy transition and the techniques for addressing them.
Assess current practices and set clear objectives
It is essential to understand the current challenges and opportunities for improvement. Not only in the energy consumption of the company, but also in the products it offers. Secondly, energy efficiency targets must be clearly defined and implemented. In this way, the efforts made by the teams to achieve them will be consistent.
Collaborate with stakeholders
Working collaboratively with stakeholders, such as clients, suppliers and partners, is essential to establishing sustainable standards and practices. Solutions such as BIM&CO‘s Onfly, the Open BIM library, allow your teams to manage BIM content and project data in a collaborative manner. And this in any design software (ArchiCAD, Revit, Rhino…).
Adopt sustainable and environmentally friendly technologies
As building professionals, it is important to adopt environmentally friendly and sustainable technologies. For example, solar panels and efficient ventilation systems. Using a ventilated facade for cladding creates a ventilating air space between the facade and the outside of the building, protecting it.
Optimising materials and resources
To reduce the energy consumption of buildings, construction professionals can improve the insulation of buildings. They can also optimise heating and cooling systems, as well as integrate energy-saving equipment. Good value for money will also reduce costs for heating, electricity and artificial lighting. Optimal insulation and ventilation, good use of natural light, and rainwater harvesting keep the energy bill reasonable.
Reducing indoor pollution for better comfort
To ensure healthy spaces for people in buildings, it is important to use materials that do not emit dust or toxic gases. With good sound and heat insulation, people are also protected from seasonal temperature changes. For example, bio-based materials such as wood can be used for the superstructure of buildings. According to Maison Responsable, wood is 15 times more insulating than concrete. Plant fibres such as hemp and flax are also alternatives for insulating buildings sustainably and avoiding toxic components.
Encourage green spaces
Adding green spaces to buildings will improve their aesthetics. Adding value for the owners! But also reduce stress and improve the cognitive performance of the occupants. According to La Pause Jardin, plants improve air quality, reduce noise and promote creativity. Dracanea and Chlorophytum are two examples of depolluting plants.
By adopting these steps, the construction industry can advance its energy transition. And thus contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future.
Questions about the energy transition in the building industry? Or about the implementation of new digital solutions within your company? BIM&CO can answer your questions and help you in your transition to digital. Contact us for more information!