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COP26: A roofer’s perspective

 

COP26, delayed for one year because of COVID19, was the 26th year that governments, NGOs, trade unions, businesses, and everyone else with any interest in climate change, met to review and negotiate global action to desperately try and accelerate action towards the COP21 Paris Agreement.

Whatever your views on the outcome of COP26, parties certainly have committed to doing more to manage climate change, and we can only hope this provides a platform to continue positive change.

The built environment and construction contributes nearly 40% of all global carbon emissions, so as a sector we have one of the biggest parts to play in reducing emissions to achieve the 1.5 degrees target by 2030.

Being at the forefront of positive change is an opportunity we all need to grasp, not shy away from. And we can learn from David Brailsford and his success with British Cycling by adopting a strategy of marginal gains. Lots of small changes are easier to find and adopt than major upheaval.

In recent years, the sector has made significant improvements and has decreased its carbon footprint despite the urban environment and population growing consistently since 1990. Such declines attributed to the decarbonisation of grid electricity nationally, as well as the increased insulation requirements over the last 50 years.

Building Regulations U-Value minimum standards 1970 – present*

*New Build Regulations Part L1A 

Almost every green roof installed is because of a planning requirement. How many are installed on refurbishment projects?  Since 2006 it has become a requirement to insulate roofs when they are recovered.

Why can’t building regulations be extended to encourage the adoption of green roofs, PV arrays and other environmentally beneficial improvements when existing buildings are refurbished?

This could be done by offering incentives like a generous ‘feed in tariff’ or rate reductions.

But what has become increasingly apparent and has been further emphasised at COP26 is that much more needs to be done, and it needs to be done more quickly.

Too much “Blah, blah, blah”. A recent poll showed that only 17% of Britons believe the government will deliver on their environmental targets and so unfortunately, a reliance on government policy alone won’t be enough, and at all levels society and industry needs to take responsibility. Including you!

As one of the UK’s leading roofing refurbishment contractors, specialising in undertaking projects to existing, occupied buildings, our pledge is simple.

During 2022 and concluding by 2023, we will be introducing a new initiative, not only offering advice to clients on how to reduce the carbon impact of their projects but also providing the opportunity to mitigate the environmental impact, by offsetting emissions.

In the meantime, we will continue to offer free advice to our clients on the best value solution to renew their roof coverings.

Contrary to what you think, for those who are able and prepared to think long term, environmentally favorable choices are usually also the best value. That situation is only likely to improve over time. Indeed, for heavy users of electricity, even now solar PV can give very fast returns.

As always, if you’re considering how to go green, or go greener whilst planning roof refurbishment works, our team are always on hand to discuss.