FutureBuild 2020

“The responsibility for tackling the climate emergency lies in all of our hands, and we must collaborate in order to find solutions to secure our future.” (FutureBuild)

Couldn’t have said it better myself!

Construction is one of the busiest sectors in the world. As the global population continues to grow, the constant need for residential housing and commercial buildings continues to be a challenge. So, when we consider our environment and the immediate need to address sustainable construction methods, this busy sector simply has to innovate.

FutureBuild is an annual exhibition that brings together the leading minds in the construction and property sectors, and this year’s theme was clear – ‘Responding to the Emergency’. The key conversations being had surrounded how this sector, steeped in tradition, can learn to innovate and consider environmentally friendly building techniques, and honour the net-zero carbon promises of the government.

With the growing need for more housing showing no signs of slowing down, FutureBuild was all about making a positive impact on the world they’re taking a key role in crafting. There are sustainable materials to use, sustainable techniques to try, innovative technologies to experiment with, and more than anything – key data showing changes need to be made - NOW. And from what we saw at the week-long event, there is an inspiring hunger to make positive changes for the good of everyone.

Supporting the Space4Climate group, our PufferTouch2+ was on stand throughout the event showcasing complex global data surrounding four key topics: ocean, land, atmosphere and cryosphere. Forming part of the Arena which hosted talks about the environment, our custom globe application formed a strong backdrop to discussions we were proud to witness.

From ‘What does net-zero carbon mean?’ to ‘How do we engage young people’, to ‘Working productively for climate change’ and ‘Living and working green: What behavioural changes are required to bring about a net-zero world’.

Bringing together the likes of BBC Environmental Analyst - Roger Harrabin, Director of Partnerships and Engagement (COP26) - Matt Toombs, Peers for the Planet’s - Baroness Rosie Boycott, even the Extinction Rebellion crew, the Arena stage saw some of the most reputable minds in the environmental conversation come together and discuss, debate and question how construction can change.

The point across all talks was clear - enough talking, let’s act!

With our custom Space4Climate application showcasing complex data about the environment, our solution engaged visitors to the Arena, conference attendees, and even the FutureBuild TV crew, and continued their discussions on the environment. With data sets like global methane emissions, the UN’s Sustainable Goals, greenhouse gas emissions and many more, visitors were able to hear discussions on the human impact on the planet and then engage with those very data sets on our technology.

The impact of our storytelling was clear – people have heard many stories about sustainability and the environment, but when they saw it on the PT2+ and were able to engage with the data, the tactile nature of their exploration meant the information was retained. We were able to curate powerful, tactile, awe-inspiring and highly memorable experiences for visitors, and when they saw the visual context of key environmental topics – it was no longer about just conversation. It was about action, and ensuring this information gets no more shocking.

Some notable mentions of exhibitors at the event that are staying true to corporate sustainable responsibility within the sector were as follows:

1. Concept Foundry, Living Walls

Not just an eye-catching addition to both internal and external walls, but the latest partnership for printing experts Concept Foundry is an air cleaning, emission reducing living walls solution. And any wall that can aid in improving health and wellbeing processes has my vote!

Benefits include:

  • Reduces VOCs in the workplace

  • Suitable for biophilic designs where air cleaning is required

  • Reduces PMs associated with respiratory problems

  • Can improve air quality in the local atmosphere

  • Helps to maintain a pleasant relative humidity which improves concentration, alertness and performance

2. STEICO, Wood Fibre Insulation

With a strap line like ‘Saving Energy. Saving the Planet’, they had my attention. But then to learn about STEICO’s constant commitment to ‘healthy’ buildings and environmentally friendly timber materials, and also their commitment to the health and wellbeing of a building’s occupants, they definitely deserve some attention.

Benefits include:

  • Reduces the carbon footprint of a construction project

  • STEICO only uses wood from sustainably managed forests

  • Negative global warming potential: Trees absorb CO2 during photosynthesis, significantly less than is stories within the product

3. CCS, Considerate Constructors Scheme

CCS is a not-for-profit, independent organisation founded in 1997 to raise standards in the construction industry. When construction sites, companies and suppliers voluntarily register with the Scheme, they agree to abide by the Code of Considerate Practice, designed to encourage best practice beyond statutory requirements.

The Scheme is concerned about any area of construction activity that may have a direct or indirect impact on the image of the industry as a whole. With the main areas of concern falling into three categories: the general public, the workforce and the environment.

This was less about our environment, and more about the working environments of its people. But still something that we whole heartedly support!

4. CEMEX, Net Zero Concrete

Having announced in February a detailed Climate Action strategy, which outlined the ‘company’s vision to advance towards a carbon-neutral economy and to address society’s increasing demands more efficiently’, CEMEX made a real impact at the event. Even having their own cement truck on site!

Their plan? Net zero concrete. “At CEMEX, we believe that climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time and support the urgency of collective action. As a result of our efforts to date, we have reduced our net specific CO2 emissions by more than 22% compared to our 1990 baseline. But we acknowledge that this is not enough. This is why we have defined a more ambitious target of a 35% reduction of net specific CO2 emissions by 2030.” Need we say more?

Overall, FutureBuild showed an inspiring desire to make sustainable decisions, to make positive changes, and to ensure the construction industry stays true to their net-zero commitments. It was about action, about encouraging everyone to get on board, and about not sitting back and waiting for these environmental topics to die down.

With the industry being as busy as it is, we look forward to seeing how these professionals make their mark on history – and not just in the architecture or infrastructure shaping our way of life, but the materials being used and the techniques being used.

As they build our world, it’s only right that they do so with honour, and I for one look forward to seeing them push innovation and environmental standards to the next, green level.

For more information on the Space4Climate group – see their website here.

For more information on FutureBuild – see their website here.

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