Circular Biobased Construction in the North East and Yorkshire

The North East and Yorkshire region is well positioned to lead the UK development of biobased manufacturing and construction. The built environment is responsible for almost 40% of global energy-related carbon emissions. If we intend to halt the progress of the climate and ecological breakdown, we must find new ways to design and to build.

Until recently, little attention has been paid to the carbon impacts of the construction and refurbishing of buildings, with the majority of focus on their operational performance. Yet our buildings are constructed using materials, components, and products.

These materials have to be extracted from the ground or grown, transported to a facility for processing, transported again to be transformed into a product, and Finally transported to a construction site. All of these processes result in greenhouse gas emissions.

This associated embodied carbon makes a significant contribution (30-70%) to a typical building’s total lifecycle emissions. Substituting carbon intensive technical materials with regenerative resources and materials from the biosphere, which absorb and store natural carbon – has become a key approach to decarbonizing our built environment. The techniques and technologies for biobased manufacturing and construction are well established, but the infrastructure and frameworks are not established in scale to support them.

The North East and Yorkshire region is well positioned to lead the UK in this shift. Not only could this reduce the overall carbon impact of construction within the region, but it could also produce tangible positive outcomes, including improvements in biodiversity, indoor air quality and the safety, security and desirability of jobs in construction.

It could also lead to a range of wider bene fits, including the re-shoring of jobs in the supply chain and the creation of opportunities for regional investment.

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