Whether it’s our homes, offices, hospitals or schools, our buildings serve many important purposes in our lives.
They are also the source of some of our biggest challenges.
Climate change, energy security, raw material consumption and waste, environmental pollution, and negative health impacts; the building sector and the materials we choose to build with have a significant impact on all of them.
Climate change and energy security
Take the first two really big ones, climate change and energy security. In both cases, the role of buildings is huge. They consume nearly 40 percent of the world’s energy and account for roughly a third of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions.
Why? Because too many of them are inefficient. In the European Union, for example, 75 percent of buildings are energy inefficient and most are expected to still be standing in 2050 – the year the EU plans to meet its goal of climate neutrality. Therefore, deep energy renovation – along with high energy efficiency standards for newbuilds – is vital to the region’s long-term energy security and climate goals. It will also help lift increasing numbers of people out of energy poverty by reducing their energy bills, resulting in healthier families and greater social equality.
70 percent reduction in energy use
Properly installed, our stone wool insulation products alone can reduce buildings’ heating needs by 70 percent. When used in renovation programmes that include other upgrades like heat pumps and solar panels on roofs, the efficiency gains are even greater.
But the opportunity with buildings is much more than just energy efficiency. Many of those other challenges like resource consumption, waste, pollution, health impacts also become opportunities – if we choose the right building materials.
If you’re choosing materials, consider these questions
Will this material last for decades with no loss in performance? Is it natural? Is it practical to reuse or recycle? Is it free of harmful flame retardants or plastic that can end up in our bodies or the environment?
As you probably guessed, the answer to all these questions for our stone wool products is yes. Sure, we’re biased. But given what we know about the magnitude of challenges we face and the potential for buildings to be a positive force for change, what kind of materials would you choose?