Sustainable building – where manufacturers come in

Bill Price, Marketing Communications Manager at Tarmac’s Cement business

Green buildings are no longer a thing of the future, but they still throw up a series of challenges to builders and developers. Tougher environmental targets and the changing expectations of the end users themselves mean today’s builders need to be ahead of the game on sustainability.

Efficient projects

Manufacturers should be listening to builders and developers and supporting them in the most efficient use of the most sustainable products. Inefficiencies can lead to large amounts of waste with products, such as cement, being left unused or spoiled after a project is completed. Not only is that a cost in itself, but that waste then needs to be disposed of in landfill – a further cost to the builder and a wider cost to the environment.

As external concreting jobs get going in the summer months, the need to avoid wasted cement in particular is paramount. Recent years have seen a strong demand for bagged products, which offer greater efficiency and flexibility. But there’s still the issue of keeping that product adequately protected from the elements during use. Tarmac Cement business’s plastic packed products and plastic tubs allow builders to use just enough cement for a given task and to store the rest safely – outside if necessary – without it becoming damp and spoiled.

Sustainable products

As well as the need to run a more efficient site, the changing demands of their customers – in particular when it comes to the sustainability of the products themselves – are a growing consideration. Are products responsibly sourced? Can they be re-used or recycled? What’s their carbon footprint?

With customers asking all these questions more frequently, builders need to pay attention to the origin of the materials they’re using. A sure-fire way is to stick to accredited products such as those supplied under the BES 6001 sustainable sourcing framework. These products’ supply chains have been independently assessed, and offer extra credits to meet sustainability targets to the developers who use them. The growing popularity of CEMII cement, which has a lower carbon footprint and enables builders to build sustainability into a project from the start, is one example.

Tarmac has long championed sustainability in the supply chain, and was the first UK cement manufacturer to be awarded the Responsible Sourcing Certificate – demonstrating compliance and commitment across organisational management, supply chain management and environmental and social issues.

Demand for green products is only going to keep growing. For us to move towards a truly sustainable future, we all need to work together to address these shared issues. It’s up to manufacturers to keep raising awareness of the latest products and what they offer, and to keep informing the industry on what the future holds.