Can Site Hoarding be Sustainable?
“So, when you are thinking about Net-Zero and moving towards a true green building project; remember that it starts at the boundary of the project and works its way inwards.”
As the UK construction market moves towards a Net Zero Carbon Building future the need for sustainable building materials such as Site Hoarding and practices is at a high. According to the Net Zero Carbon Building: A framework definition; in the UK, the operation of buildings accounts for around 30 per cent of emissions, mainly from heating, cooling and electricity use. While for new buildings, the embodied emissions from construction can account for up to half of the carbon impacts associated with the building over its lifecycle.
The definition of Net Zero is “When the amount of carbon emissions associated with a building’s product and construction stages up to practical completion is zero or negative, through the use of offsets or the net export of on-site renewable energy.”
According to the Green Building Council, the construction sector uses more than 400 million tons of material a year, many of which has an adverse impact on the environment including an impact on the surrounding environment, due to the “extraction of raw materials”.
So, what can the construction industry do about this and what does it have to do with site hoarding?
Well Site Hoarding can be one of the forgotten areas when it comes to sustainability. Whilst the majority of site hoarding is constructed from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified plywood to promote a corporate image it is then often painted.
Once this has happened it greatly reduces the ability to recycle the wood at the end of the project. The main uses for recycled wood are composting and garden amendments like mulch. Many people who claim to recycle wood actually burn it for heat or energy. The chemicals in wood treatments make it a poor candidate for all those things. This leads to an increased carbon footprint as the used wood needs to be transported to specialised waste to energy plants most often in Europe.
In recent years the push to Net Zero has led to an adoption of other materials in the construction chain. One of these is recycled composite. Primarily made up from recycled plastic that is mixed with a raw or manufactured filler and bonding agents.
Richard Oldfield, chief executive of the NCC (National Composites Centre), said: “Composites offer huge benefits to construction, not least in their ability to be built using modern methods, as well as the cost-effective nature of their construction and installation.
“They are a more sustainable solution, which will contribute to net-zero targets across the industry, and are an intrinsically safer and more aesthetically pleasing option.”
Offering a modern, robust and sustainable material is why, when FenceSafe Hire and the CLD Group of Companies; were looking at designing a new site hoarding system they turned to composites. With the construction industry moving towards the goals of Construction 2025; the need for green building isn’t just a want but a must.
To launch a new site hoarding system into the marketplace that employed old materials was not an option that could be considered environmentally viable. Further the transportation costs of a new system to reduce the carbon footprint required looking at a modular approach.
Thanks to this the FenceSafe Site Hoarding systems has become the most sustainable site hoarding fence in the marketplace. With a fully recycled composite core that slots together via a tongue and groove click system allows individual boards to form panels, rather than the need for whole panels which are difficult to transport due to the size of them.
Likewise, using recycled British and European steel for the posts and manufactured fixings, means that the BREEAM rating can be A across all steel works. With the ability to dig in also reducing the carbon footprint as it removes concrete from the installation process.
But the most sustainable part of the system is the reusability. With reducing end of project waste and landfill; the FenceSafe site hoarding system can be returned to the FenceSafe Hire depot to be cleaned and then sent out to the next project.
So, when you are thinking about Net-Zero and moving towards a true green building project; remember that it starts at the boundary of the project and works its way inwards.