Wharton Construction has welcomed a report by MPs calling for a reduction in the number of buildings being knocked down and rebuilt.
Director Matthew Wharton said that a fresh approach is needed to ensure more buildings are converted and repurposed – a practice that will reduce harmful climate change emissions.
The production of materials such as cement, steel, bricks, glass, and plastic, are carbon intensive and the demolition and rebuilding process effectively doubles emissions by requiring two lots of construction materials.
He said: “A great deal of research is underway to decarbonise and recycle construction materials. There is a strong environmental and business case for extending the life of a building as it significantly reduces the carbon footprint and requires less construction materials, saving on costs.
“This is especially relevant as the cost of some building materials soar due to post pandemic supply chain issues and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, both of which are leading steel suppliers.”
The Commons Environmental Audit Committee said that emissions involved in building construction must be reduced if the UK is to meet its 2050 Net Zero commitment.
Its chair Philip Dunne MP, said: “Our buildings have a significant amount of locked-in carbon, which is wasted each time they get knocked down to be rebuilt, a process which produces yet more emissions.”
Darlington-headquartered Wharton Construction, which specialises in commercial and public sector projects across the North East and North Yorkshire, has already been involved in some significant refurbishment projects – most notably the ongoing work to transform the town’s landmark indoor market, which has included the installation of an eco-friendly biomass boiler.
Matthew added: “There will always be a need for new-build while some current structures may have deteriorated to such a point that they are beyond saving or are completely unsuitable for conversion.
“There is huge scope to breathe new life into buildings while at the same time retrofitting them to improve their performance by reducing heat demand and improving lighting and ventilation to new building standards.
“In addition, extra storeys can be added to existing buildings or elements can be retained, including facades and foundations, which can significantly reduce carbon impacts.”