The urban landscape is forever changing and buildings are demolished or refurbished before the useful life of the space has been reached. Much of the focus to date has been on the reduction of he operational impact of buildings, but the net zero approach puts more emphasis on the measurement of whole life carbon, which includes embodied carbon.
Building are responsible for 40% CO2 emissions; they produce a vast amount of waste and consume large volumes of resources. While the recycling rates of construction and demolition waste is around 90%, most of the waste generated is used as fill or low value application (known as downcycling).
Current working practices are very linear (extract, manufacture, use, demolish and dispose) and the industry needs to move towards more efficient approaches. More questions should be asked at the start of a project: Is the project planned is necessary? Can the space required be found in existing buildings? Should the building be demolished or could it be renovated/refurbished?