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 Five-point plan to integrate recreational fishers into fisheries and nature conservation policy
20.03.2019 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

nachricht Rain is important for how carbon dioxide affects grasslands
06.03.2019 | University of Gothenburg

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: The taming of the light screw

DESY and MPSD scientists create high-order harmonics from solids with controlled polarization states, taking advantage of both crystal symmetry and attosecond electronic dynamics. The newly demonstrated technique might find intriguing applications in petahertz electronics and for spectroscopic studies of novel quantum materials.

The nonlinear process of high-order harmonic generation (HHG) in gases is one of the cornerstones of attosecond science (an attosecond is a billionth of a...

Im Focus: Magnetic micro-boats

Nano- and microtechnology are promising candidates not only for medical applications such as drug delivery but also for the creation of little robots or flexible integrated sensors. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) have created magnetic microparticles, with a newly developed method, that could pave the way for building micro-motors or guiding drugs in the human body to a target, like a tumor. The preparation of such structures as well as their remote-control can be regulated using magnetic fields and therefore can find application in an array of domains.

The magnetic properties of a material control how this material responds to the presence of a magnetic field. Iron oxide is the main component of rust but also...

Im Focus: Self-healing coating made of corn starch makes small scratches disappear through heat

Due to the special arrangement of its molecules, a new coating made of corn starch is able to repair small scratches by itself through heat: The cross-linking via ring-shaped molecules makes the material mobile, so that it compensates for the scratches and these disappear again.

Superficial micro-scratches on the car body or on other high-gloss surfaces are harmless, but annoying. Especially in the luxury segment such surfaces are...

Im Focus: Stellar cartography

The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.

A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...

Im Focus: Heading towards a tsunami of light

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have proposed a way to create a completely new source of radiation. Ultra-intense light pulses consist of the motion of a single wave and can be described as a tsunami of light. The strong wave can be used to study interactions between matter and light in a unique way. Their research is now published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

"This source of radiation lets us look at reality through a new angle - it is like twisting a mirror and discovering something completely different," says...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Modelica Conference with 330 visitors from 21 countries at OTH Regensburg

11.03.2019 | Event News

Selection Completed: 580 Young Scientists from 88 Countries at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

01.03.2019 | Event News

LightMAT 2019 – 3rd International Conference on Light Materials – Science and Technology

28.02.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Solving the efficiency of Gram-negative bacteria

22.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Bacteria bide their time when antibiotics attack

22.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Open source software helps researchers extract key insights from huge sensor datasets

22.03.2019 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>