The government’s Green Construction Board concludes massive falls needed to meet carbon targets

Mike Putnam

The UK’s built environment industry needs to reduce its carbon emissions by 77% by 2050 if it is to meet its emissions targets, the government’s Green Construction Board has concluded.

The board, which is chaired by construction minister Michael Fallon and Mike Putnam, chief executive of contractor Skanska UK, was set up last October to help take forward the government’s Low Carbon Construction Action Plan.

In the board’s first annual report it said that as part of its ongoing work to put together a low carbon roadmap for construction it had calculated the industry produced 230m tonnes of carbon emissions in 1990.

It found this had fallen to 200m in 2010 and would need to fall to 46m in 2050.

The report said the most significant source of opperational carbon emissions in the built environment was domestic heating. It found there were two ways of addressing this: decarbonising the electricity grid while increasing the use of electric heating or improving to the fabric of buildings to reduce heat demand.

It added: “The potential to reduce emissions in the built environment is highly dependent on the pace of decarbonisation of the grid.”

It said the infrastructure sector was likely to continue its current levels of operational emissions but would probably see an increase in construction emissions as the government pushed forward plans to improve the UK’s infrastructure. It said that therefore infrastructure was a good place to look to develop innovative products to reduce emissions from construction.

The board also said that it had completed 84 of its 162 actions.