As we grapple with how we can play our part in reducing carbon emissions, it is important to note that the construction industry has a huge role to play. On 30 November at the Scottish Parliament's Cross-Party Group on construction, the focus was on the net-zero challenge and the construction industry's opportunity to address climate change. 

Now, this is an important topic. While members are juggling labour and material shortages and the pre-Christmas rush, the likes of net-zero and embodied carbon can seem overwhelming. However, Will Arnold, Head of Climate Action at the Institution of Strucutral Engineers, gave an excellent presentation on 'embodied carbon', which is a measure of the total CO2 that is emitted during the production of materials. Will called this the 'order of magnitude difference'. In short, construction can be the quickest way to reduce embodied carbon emissions through designing and building smarter. 

Repairing and retrofitting our existing buildings will also be vital in cutting carbon emissions. Here, Dr Faye Wade, Chancellor's Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, talked through the FMB report published in July called 'Building on our Strengths'. It was good for MSPs to learn that energy retrofit works (be they fabric and other measures) must be adopted into the everyday practices of builders working in the repair, maintenance and improvement (RMI) market. The RMI market is the biggest marketplace for most FMB members. The elephant in the room is the lack of demand from consumers for energy retrofit upgrades as part of a home refurbishment or renovation project. 

If you would like to receive a copy of the presentations or discuss the issues further, please email FMB Scotland Director Gordon Nelson.

Got a question?

Contact Gordon Nelson, Scotland Director on 07769 687 232 or email.

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Gordon Nelson

Gordon Nelson

FMB Scotland Hub Director, Federation of Master Builders

Gordon has nearly twenty years’ experience of working in membership organisations in Scotland and joined the FMB in 2014, previously working for the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) and Unilever. Gordon has a degree in Politics and a Master’s degree in Marketing. At the FMB Gordon's responsibilities cover public affairs, media relations, governance and representing member’s interests to Scottish policy makers and stakeholders within the Scottish construction industry. Gordon is the Secretary of the Cross-Party Group on Construction in the Scottish Parliament and is actively involved in Scotland’s Construction Industry Coronavirus Forum. Gordon is also a member of Site Safe Scotland, the principal committee for construction health and safety in Scotland.