UK construction industry must do more to reduce carbon emissions


The Carbon Free Group will challenge visitors to The Build Show at UK Construction Week to think differently and do more to accelerate the decarbonisation of the built environment, and, specifically, housing.

The Carbon Free Group does not expect visitors to work alone. Instead, it is encouraging them to get involved in collaborative projects, product and process development and policy review to fast track and de-risk change.

To see how a Carbon Free Group collaboration works, visitors should visit stand B750 at The Build Show. Here, visitors will see one of the most exciting innovations of this year’s event: the Tufeco Modular Home.

The home has been constructed from Tufeco’s composite panels, which are being launched at the show. These are 3D printed, manufactured offsite and made from recycled glass. Two key benefits of the panels are that they significantly reduce on-site construction times and labour needs; a typical house structure is erected and made airtight in around three days, ready to accept second fix installations. They also require just three semi-skilled installers to complete.

However, Tufeco’s modular panels are just one decarbonising element featured on the stand. To bring this product to market, Tufeco has joined forces with global architects Grimshaw, SAM Architects and The Carbon Free Group. Together, they provide a much wider range of decarbonising expertise and experience to identify and deploy a more extensive set of decarbonising solutions.

The resulting collaboration, which is being used as a blueprint for a housing scheme in Cromer on the Norfolk coast, has resulted in a low carbon development which:

  • is set in beautiful man-made woodland clusters that focus on native planting and enhanced biodiversity
  • incorporates renewable energy generation, storage, monitoring and trading opportunities
  • incorporates air purifying paints, recycled floor coverings, green roofs and walls.

All of these aspects are evidenced on the stand at Construction Week, with Carbon Free Group bringing together a range of organisations to develop a housing proposition. This collaboration creates a synergy which generates results that far exceed those that could have been achieved if the parties had just worked individually.

By exhibiting at Construction Week, The Carbon Free Group hopes to attract more innovators to join the movement. Co-founder, Anthony Morgan, also hopes that many housebuilders will use the platform to develop collaborations and test innovations, developing unique collaborations to address specific situations, bringing them to market faster and at less cost and risk than has been experienced before.

Explaining the proposition, Anthony Morgan said:

“Many UK businesses are falling behind in the race to develop the building systems of the future. The ideas are out there, but all too often our existing culture snuffs out innovation either before it begins or before it can be effectively deployed. Why? Because they are seen as being too expensive; too high risk; too difficult to adopt and the returns are too slow.

“Quick to implement, simple solutions get the go-ahead, while more complex, often higher value programmes are side-lined. The Carbon Free Group has been set up to reverse this situation.

“Our collaborative approach reduces risk by making investment tax deductible and innovation collaborative. This reduces cost and increases member access to new and exciting ideas and expertise.

“We’re keen to talk to Build Show visitors about potential projects, product opportunities, policy developments. We have a number of interesting initiatives coming online, and the more organisations involved, the more impact we’ll achieve.

“This is real-world, applied innovation,” he said.

About The Carbon Free Group
The Carbon Free Group provides a platform for collaboration and connected innovation to accelerate decarbonisation and through which industry will deliver more sustainable, higher performance, lower cost solutions at a deferred risk.

The group brings together corporations, SMEs, industry experts, communities and local people to:

  • Solve persistent industry problems
  • Facilitate collaborative working
  • Develop commercially viable solutions
  • Deploy solutions to the market
  • Create circular economy models and
  • Establish funds to support research and development.

In pursuing these outcomes, the Carbon Free Group analyses each step of the Technology Readiness Level process to identify and mitigate against risk. This is critical, as risk is a major barrier to innovation, decarbonisation and sustainability.

The Build Show
The Carbon Free Group will be exhibiting with Tufeco, Grimshaw, and SAM Architects on stand B750 at The Build Show which is part of Construction Week at the NEC Birmingham from 10 – 12 October 2017.

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