Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Climate change needed in the European Building Industry

07.10.2003


The building industry could significantly reduce materials-related CO2 emissions, through greater innovation within the industry itself together with action by governments to further stimulate existing processes towards environmentally friendly construction. This is the main thrust of Tessa Goverse’s dissertation, entitled "Building a Climate for Change – Reducing CO2 emissions through materials innovation in the European building industry", which she will defend on Thursday 9 October at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.



Almost 30 percent of all CO2 emissions in Western Europe are related to the built environment. Measures such as the optimization of materials use, the use of new materials and materials substitution could contribute significantly to a reduction in greenhouse gases. The European building industry is therefore an important arena in which to combat climate change. Sadly, direct government involvement does not always produce results. Linking up with existing processes in the building industry and providing them with additional stimulation would seem to be a more effective approach. Compared to other sectors, however, the construction industry is slow to embrace technological change, and does so only to a limited extent.

Goverse’s studies of innovation systems in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Spain and Finland, have shown that technological development in the building sector has its own national character. This results from the dynamics of the building industry, its historical traditions, as well as the development of knowledge and industry structures. Other factors are natural conditions, such as climate, the availability of resources, waterways and other geophysical factors. Finland, for example, has developed expertise in building quickly in a cold climate. The country also has a rich tradition of building in wood. In Spain, where the innovation climate is particularly suitable for concrete development, there is virtually no infrastructure for construction using wood. The river-rich delta area in which the Netherlands is situated, is mainly characterized by stony building materials. Huge demand during the period of reconstruction which followed the Second World War further stimulated the use of concrete in industrial building. In the United Kingdom, however, it was the steep increase in demand for office space in the 1980s which mainly encouraged steel construction.


Over the years, patterns in the use of building materials have become institutionalized in the educational and regulatory systems, for example. Accordingly, technology development in the building industry adheres strongly to specific innovation pathways. The prime requirement, if CO2 emissions are to be reduced, is for innovation within the building sector. Therefore, the building sector as a whole needs to become more innovative. In addition, each individual must view the options for potential reductions in CO2 emissions against the course of technology development in the local building sector. Provided that these options fit within the existing innovation systems and prevailing technology pathways, then industry will be able to take effective steps to reduce CO2 emissions without the need for a strongly interventionist policy.

The government has a role to fulfil in identifying measures that can contribute significantly to CO2 emission reduction, and which should therefore be adopted by the building industry. Because of national differences, however, the situation will vary from country to country. In Finland, for example, the popularity of wood is increasing as a result of joint efforts by the government and the timber industry to enhance innovation, improve the image of wood, and remove regulatory constraints. One of the most significant CO2 emissions reduction options is switching from concrete to wood frame building. Yet this is unlikely to be implemented successfully in Spain, for example, which lacks appropriate experience, a good knowledge infrastructure, and a strong tradition in wood frame building. Instead, standardization and current trends in materials use continue to encourage the use of cement and concrete, thereby enhancing rather than reducing materials-related CO2 emissions.

Rianne Lindhout | alfa
Further information:
http://www.vu.nl

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Understanding animal social networks can aid wildlife conservation
23.06.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

nachricht Making Oceans Plastic Free - Project tackles the problem of plastic pollution in the oceans
31.05.2017 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenforschung (ZMT)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

Im Focus: Optoelectronic Inline Measurement – Accurate to the Nanometer

Germany counts high-precision manufacturing processes among its advantages as a location. It’s not just the aerospace and automotive industries that require almost waste-free, high-precision manufacturing to provide an efficient way of testing the shape and orientation tolerances of products. Since current inline measurement technology not yet provides the required accuracy, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is collaborating with four renowned industry partners in the INSPIRE project to develop inline sensors with a new accuracy class. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the project is scheduled to run until the end of 2019.

New Manufacturing Technologies for New Products

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation

22.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Plant inspiration could lead to flexible electronics

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

A rhodium-based catalyst for making organosilicon using less precious metal

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>