A new calling: climate change
Climate change is an unprecedented problem with potentially catastrophic social implications, and is almost certainly the greatest threat humanity has ever faced. According to more than 97% of climate scientists throughout the world, climate change is happening, and it is driven by human activities.
We are experiencing an unusual increase in extreme weather events, and major climate change is now inevitable, according to the UN. In Italy, we are already living with the consequences of global warming daily, from hydrogeological disruption to record summer temperatures. According to a study by the European Commission, one fifth of the Italian national territory is at risk of desertification.
The COVID-19 pandemic increased the focus on climate-related issues, including the need to find cleaner and more sustainable ways of building. With the built and construction industry being responsible for 40% of CO2 emissions globally, and producing 30% of waste in Europe, anybody involved in this industry will by now be aware of the importance of sustainability. According to ANCE data, sustainability is becoming more and more a core value for construction companies, as 81% of respondents to a recent survey stated that it is central to their plans for the future. Most importantly, we have the responsibility to recognise that what we build today should meet our present needs without compromising those of future generations.
The rise of green construction technology
While the construction industry is one of the main contributors to climate change, it also has an opportunity to engender positive change. The sector has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by focusing more heavily on innovation and by understanding that sustainability must be treated as a core part of every construction project. In this regard, sustainable construction and green innovation are fundamental to respond to the evolving needs of the construction market and to ensure the industry’s transformation.
Builders and developers are increasingly aware of the considerable benefits from the application of innovative construction methods that are cleaner, greener, and help reduce waste.,: Buildings are more energy-efficient and sustainable, so they have a lower carbon footprint and a reduced impact on the environment.
To give a more practical example of green construction techniques, the use of biodegradable materials, is an eco-friendly way of making construction sustainable as they reduce the negative impact on the environment by not releasing toxins and greenhouse gases. In contrast most traditional construction methods lead to the accumulation of waste products and toxic chemicals, the majority of which take hundreds of years to degrade.
Another example is water. Millions of gallons of water are wasted during construction and here is where green construction has a major impact on water conservation. There are several water efficient technologies currently being employed which encompass re-use and application of efficient water supply systems that ensure that water is adequately managed and recycled.
Building a better future
The EU’S National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) will also be a powerful tool to help us tackle climate change. Of the roughly €196bn Italy will receive, €68.9bn (40%), of which €59.3bn from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan and €9.3bn from the Supplementary Fund, are destined for the green revolution and ecological transition.
Part of this mission includes interventions for sustainable agriculture and for the improvement of waste management capacity, as well as investment research programs for renewable energy sources, ecological transition and sustainable mobility. The goal is also to enable actions for the efficiency of public and private real estate assets, and initiatives to fight hydro-geological instability. Finally, the mission acts towards the safeguarding and promotion of biodiversity and ensures the security of sustainable supply and efficient management of water resources.
These funds will enable us to make an important step forward in the country’s transition towards a circular economy, and it will guide all of society towards a more sustainable future.