Future environmental goals necessitate the construction of low-carbon buildings

More and more operators want to build responsible, low-carbon buildings. Companies’ environmental systems already require the minimisation of carbon emissions throughout the supply chain. If a subcontractor’s production facilities do not meet the requirements, there is a risk of being left behind. Many are also preparing for the forthcoming legislation that will limit carbon emissions from buildings.

In recent years, responsible companies committed to carbon neutrality objectives have been paying more attention to the environmental responsibility of their subcontracting chain and partners.

‘Many want to know the energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions of their partners’ process and production facilities. Sometimes very precise calculations of the environmental impact of operations are required, and an agreement can only be concluded if the partner can demonstrate that they stay below the limit values,’ says Best-Hall’s Quality Manager Petri Maunula.

The requirements stem from the companies’ own environmental efficiency goals and environmental and safety systems, which require the entire production chain to operate in accordance with the standards.

Building regulations to include low-carbon requirements in the coming years

Best-Hall has developed a calculation model that enables it to provide its customers with a detailed report on a building’s lifecycle carbon footprint.

‘The calculation includes such things as how much carbon dioxide the building emits at different stages of its lifecycle. For the owner of a Best-Hall building, the calculation serves as a document about the emissions produced by the building and its possible low-carbon merits,’ Maunula explains.

Calculating carbon emissions will become mandatory in all construction in the coming years. According to the Roadmap for low carbon construction published by the Ministry of the Environment, the low-carbon lifecycle of buildings will become part of building regulations by the mid-2020s. In the first phase, a low-carbon lifecycle will be required from new construction, but it will later apply to all buildings.

‘Reducing the carbon footprint of the built environment is a common goal for the entire construction industry. As pioneers in building construction, we want to assist our customers in anticipating the future and actively contribute to achieving the common goals of carbon neutrality.’

The calculation helps operators choose low-carbon options

Carbon footprint calculation has been available for buildings built by Best-Hall since the spring of 2020.

The carbon footprint is affected by the manufacture, transport and recycling of building materials, as well as the energy efficiency of the building. The first calculations have shown that in particular the form of energy chosen affects the carbon footprint of the Best-Hall building. To make best use of the calculation, it should be carried out at the planning stage.

‘The calculation helps the builder choose the lowest-carbon option between different materials and forms of energy. The costs can also be included in the calculation, so it has been easy to see from the figures how an energy-efficient heating system returns the investment many times over during the building’s lifecycle,’ Maunula points out.

Responsibility is increasingly influential in the purchase decision

As part of determining the environmental impact of its buildings, Best-Hall has also calculated the carbon footprint of its own process. The company has long developed the manufacture of its buildings from the perspective of reducing carbon dioxide emissions: the choice of steel and cladding materials used, the surface treatment of the frames and transport – all choices are made with the minimisation of the environmental impact in mind.

‘We, too, are increasingly being asked for reports on the factory’s energy consumption and emissions, as well as responsibility related to the well-being and occupational safety of our staff. We have done years of development work on these topics. Now it is easy to provide our customers with this information with ready-made calculations upon request.’

Best-Hall has standardised its entire production process and the company has the ISO certifications for quality systems, occupational health and safety as well as environmental responsibility.

‘Many international projects and buildings for Finnish forerunner companies would never have been realised if our responsibility matters had not been at the same level required by environmental and occupational safety systems as theirs,’ Petri Maunula states, summing up the importance of responsibility.