Wales events puts focus on buildings

Key challenges around decarbonising buildings and reaching net zero was on the agenda at a conference in Wales this week.

The event, called Education Buildings Wales 2023, was attended by a Salix team keen to learn more about how the higher education sector can reach ambitious carbon reduction targets in Wales.

As well as focusing on funding, design, build, maintenance and management of schools, colleges and universities, the event featured workshops alongside the multi-stream conference.

To meet net zero virtually all heat in buildings in the UK will need to be decarbonised.

Overall, it is estimated that buildings are currently responsible for 39% of global energy related carbon emissions: 28% from operational emissions, from energy needed to heat, cool and power them, and the remaining 11% from materials and construction.

Sofia Ali, Salix Programme Co-ordinator said: “As well as time for networking, the conference gave us an opportunity to discuss how Salix can further support clients with the associated financial challenge of decarbonisation.

“It was also an opportunity to hear a range of inspiring talks which championed projects that are paving the way for more sustainable buildings.”

Attendees heard about how the key to the challenge will be in improving the efficiency and flexibility of buildings, and developing the UK supply chains and technology options needed to save carbon and meet the net zero targets.

Speakers at the event included climate and environment experts from Flintshire, Merthyr Tydfil and Cardiff Councils. They talked about their recent school improvement projects.

Alex Anderson, Head of Estates Development and Facilities, produced an inspiring case study on retrofitting existing buildings for Coleg Gwent’s net zero campus.

Sofia added: “It was a great opportunity for knowledge sharing amongst schools, colleges and universities – from discussing what a truly net zero carbon campus can look like, the advantages of using a whole life carbon approach and ways different technologies can work alongside the decarbonisation of the grid.

“We look forward to working alongside both familiar and new clients in supporting future projects using the Wales Funding Programme.”

The event was in partnership with the Welsh Government and was held on June 22 at Cardiff University.