Published On: Mon, Sep 30th, 2019

The future is ‘now’ for sustainability

The increasing focus on our environment and how we protect it for future generations is imbedded in so many aspects of our lives. The problem is that many people just don’t believe the ‘end is nigh’ for our planet, and that the future is just too far away to warrant any urgent attention. However, younger generations disagree, and these are the customers of the future. That urgency was put into context recently with news of the first-ever loss to climate change of an Icelandic glacier. When discussing the prospect of all glaciers disappearing within 200 years, a regional expert said this may sound like an event in the distant future but it is important to realise that it is your children’s children who will be directly affected by this event. This will make the climate change issue become that much nearer for those children and their children. It is an issue we can’t shy away from and one that is even more important when you consider that buildings and construction are responsible for 39% of all carbon emissions in the world. The World Green Building Council has a bold vision for how buildings and infrastructure can achieve 100% net zero emissions by 2050. My concern is that we are often too consumed with the events of today and are not really focused on the future.

At the recent Glazing Summit conference, issues surrounding energy efficiency and more importantly sustainability were discussed. But as with smart technology, we often see them associated with the distant future. I believe we are starting to see the future now and we need to accelerate our thinking and actions around sustainability and smart technology. Sustainability has been discussed in and around the industry for years and we are now seeing an increased emphasis on close-loop recycling. Plastic is often seen as the villain of the piece in environmental circles, but it is important that it is not tarnished with the same brush as single-use plastic items. Younger generations need to be kept informed of the positive sustainability messages regarding PVC-U windows (while also championing the case for aluminium and timber). Eurocell have been at the forefront of this issue and constantly reinforce messages such as ‘the average PVC-U window could be recycled up to ten times with a life cycle of up to 350 years’ and ‘PVC-U windows can be up to 6% stronger when recycled for the first time’ plus the fact that 95% of A+ registered windows that make a positive net contribution to the energy performance of an average house are in fact PVC-U. As an industry we need to ramp up these credentials and make sure the potential customers of the future are aware of all the sustainability characteristics of our windows and doors that make them fit for purpose for the future….

John Cowie Editor