It’s an attention-grabbing statistic that buildings are responsible for around 30 per cent of global carbon emissions.
If we continue to build and consume the way we are today, average global temperatures are set to rise above 2 degrees Celsius – the goal scientists agree that would safely limit climate change. Beyond this, the effects would severely impact living conditions, especially among more vulnerable households such as low-income families, the elderly and people living with illnesses. Our existing buildings are simply not designed to withstand this extreme change in external environment, and it would affect quality of life including health, cost of living, and levels of comfort.
But as our CEO Jens Birgersson acknowledges, the potential for carbon savings in our buildings is “immense”. If we are to reach the ambitious targets of the Paris Agreement, we must increase the energy efficiency of our homes, offices and public spaces – and set out to achieve net zero targets in both new build and renovation. And that’s why ROCKWOOL is a proud partner of WorldGBC’s Advancing Net Zero project, an initiative which is accelerating momentum in this space.
At ROCKWOOL, we are committed to driving a more decarbonised society. Fully supporting the Paris Agreement, we believe in continued public pressure on governments to live up to its higher ambition to limit global temperature increases to less than 2 degrees Celsius. An unwavering focus on building energy efficiency would go a long way towards achieving this goal.
Buildings represent one of the largest potentials for cost-effective energy savings in the short, medium and long-term. Take Europe for example. There are approximately 210 million buildings in the EU alone – 70-90 per cent of them with poor energy efficiency performance, and 35 per cent being more than 50 years old.
With nine out of 10 existing buildings still expected to be occupied in 2050, renovation is absolutely critical, especially when the potential for energy savings is currently 50-90 per cent in new and existing buildings globally.
Doing our part to realise the net zero agenda, ROCKWOOL regularly engages with players in the global building industry to drive innovation initiatives. One example is our involvement in the “Better Home” initiative in Denmark (www.betterhome.today), a collaborative project of major businesses which focuses on energy renovations of private homes. By using the expertise of these businesses, and fostering partnerships among advisors, craftsmen, financial institutions and energy companies, this innovative initiative is geared toward boosting energy efficient retrofits of homes across Denmark and other countries in the long-term.
Another example of how ROCKWOOL is striving to meet the challenges of modern living and the increasing demands for energy efficiency, is through innovation in technology. Having worked with construction industry partners to take low-energy buildings from design phase to the job site, we have developed a new innovative wall system that we call Rockzero. Still in the pre-commercial phase, Rockzero integrates non-combustible stone wool insulation into the structural elements themselves, and in this way reduces the home’s energy consumption and helps to create a comfortable, healthy, and fire-safe home environment. Rockzero has the potential to build on classic stone wool benefits, including superior insulation performance, fire resilience, durability, and recyclability.
This World Green Building Week, we’re behind the message that in the fight against climate change, our hero is zero.
Anthony Abbotts is Director Group Sustainability at ROCKWOOL
ROCKWOOL is a sponsor of WorldGBC’s Advancing Net Zero project