The COP26 summit will see parties from across the globe joining together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The summit is a defining moment in the struggle to keep the planet from climate catastrophe, and at B&K Structures we acknowledge that the construction and built environment will be key in achieving Net Zero by 2050.

The results of the IPCC report in August, detailing the impacts of global warming, concluded with a ‘code red for humanity’. The report shows, with ever more data and certainty, that human influence has warmed the planet and is already contributing to weather and climate extremes. The world has gone past a 1 degree increase since 1850, and we need to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst effects on people and the rest of the planet’s ecosystem. As political leaders from across the world gather for COP26, it is integral that the built and construction environment – which is responsible for approximately 40% of global carbon emissions – works together, through knowledge sharing and research, to lobby policy makers and shine a light on the benefits of sustainable construction materials.

At B&K Structures we have seen client priorities change in recent years and sustainability has moved closer to the top of the agenda, whilst engineered timber and hybrid structures have been established as a feasible option for large, structurally challenging projects. Now - more so than ever - we are seeing a desire from clients and developers to explore timber and hybrid alternatives, and this will only increase in light of COP26. Trees have the remarkable ability to sequester carbon. Therefore, timber structures ultimately act as a carbon store; the lighter weight of timber structures also makes them well suited to vertical extension of existing buildings, likely to be key for low-carbon building in the future. Using ever more efficiently produced engineered timber, and by understanding the lifecycle of our buildings, building with timber can have a positive impact on the environment.

BKS are working with our clients to build greener with engineered timber and hybrid solutions, and we are passionate about sharing this knowledge. We run a number of CPDs available to anyone who would like to find out more – including our popular CLT & Hybrid Structures CPD – and would invite anyone with an interest in exploring more sustainable construction methods to contact us. Additionally, as the profile of construction’s carbon impact inevitably rises, we are actively interrogating our own research and data to ensure that we can give partners the most accurate and detailed understand of their projects’ carbon impact. The BKS in-house Sustainability Group is dedicated to improving our own company emissions, and the research and development undertaken by our design team is at the forefront of conversations surrounding fire, moisture, acoustics and durability. As a business we are working closely with our supply chain, project partners and other industry bodies to improve industry guidance and ensure knowledge is shared and available industrywide to promote the use of timber and hybrid structures in response to global policy and needs.

Key to these industry-wide changes, the Timber Trade federation, alongside CEI-Bois recently released their international Wood Manifesto in the countdown to COP26, setting out the future roadmap for timber and wood use in construction - ‘Growing our low-carbon future: time for timber’. Launched at the RIBA Built Environment Summit prior to COP26, the manifesto is a collaboration of work led by the global wood industry’s COP26 International Partners Advisory Body as well as the European Confederation of Woodworking Industries and the European Organisation of the Sawmill Industry, as well as other international partners such as one of our product partners Stora Enso.

The manifesto writes that “The construction and built environment sector is responsible for approximately 40% of global energy related CO2 emissions. A significant percentage of this comes from the extraction, processing and energy-intensive manufacturing of building products. To achieve net zero CO2 emissions by 2050, construction must rapidly decarbonise whilst still meeting the needs of a growing urban population, the increasing demand for new buildings and the urgent requirement to renovate existing buildings. Wood is the only sustainable structural material that grows worldwide which can enable a substantial decarbonisation of the built environment based on existing business models and proven technology; providing vast carbon sinks in our rural areas and carbon stores in our cities.”

B&K Structures supports the key messages of the manifesto, and we hope that the launch – alongside the World of Wood Festival and COP26 – will help to highlight the responsibility of the construction and built environment to growing our low-carbon future and encourage the use of sustainable products such as engineered timber. B&K Structures are dedicated to working with clients and developers to find greener solutions and support the policy recommendations detailed in the manifesto.

Find out more and speak to one of our team today: 01773 853 400 / [email protected]

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