Climate change

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The National Housing Federation estimates that the sector consumes 40% of the planet’s total resources and contributes to 38% of global greenhouse gases, a failing that all of us in the housebuilding industry have the responsibility to reverse.

Everyone involved in the process, from builders to architects, should be accepting more sustainable practices as standard. After all, it should be our role to build the foundations for a ‘greener’ society.

This is easier said than done. With demand for affordable housing at an all-time high, housebuilders are under pressure to deliver homes – and fast.

But there is no reason that we cannot build sustainability into the construction process to improve carbon efficiency across the industry. From the initial stages of a housebuilding project, architects can use new technologies including AI and virtual reality tools to reduce material waste and optimise the visualisation and quality of designs.

New construction methods such as modular can deliver projects at scale with reduced costs and resources, while ensuring consistency and quality control is maintained. This has big implications for a project’s timeline and its environmental impact.

Homes can be built with sustainable materials that improve insulation and durability, allowing for a new ‘green’ standard of living. Homes can also be improved through innovative solutions such as embedded PV panels, sensor technology and living walls that use plants to improve insulation and absorb pollutants.

All these innovations require the right backing at every level of the industry, but I look forward to seeing what comes next, as all of us in the sector start to take the initiative to improve our impact on the environment.

Richard Hyams, director, astudio