The huge boom in e-commerce that we have seen in recent years has also triggered a boom in logistics and demand for warehouses.
When building a new, or reconstructing an original, industrial or storage hall in compliance with ESG goals, the lowest possible negative impact on the environment and environmental sustainability are now becoming a key aspect. This includes first and foremost reducing these structures’ carbon footprint.
It is the reduction of the carbon footprint that significantly contributes to climate protection and also reduces the burden on the planet caused by greenhouse gas emissions. It is not just carbon dioxide, but also other greenhouse gases (such as methane, nitrous oxide or water vapor) that are generally referred to as carbon dioxide equivalents, or CO2e. "Both during the construction and reconstruction of storage and industrial halls, the most monitored emissions are CO2e emissions which are generated from their operations; especially, from heating or cooling and electricity consumption. However, European and Czech legislation will probably also include the calculation of emissions from the Scope 3 category in this or the next decade; construction will mainly involve Embodied emissions," explains Josefína Kurfürstová, an analyst at Colliers. These include emissions from mining, production, processing of resources and materials for construction, their transport, and methods used for the construction and demolition of buildings. It is estimated that in storage and industrial halls these emissions are the source of about 50% of these structures' carbon footprint over their entire life cycle. It is therefore important to start focusing on building solutions that will help reduce these emissions.
Possibilities include recycled materials, light colours and green roofs
Construction should use as many recycled or environmentally friendly materials as possible, and we should also be interested in where these materials come from. Buildings should be as energy efficient as possible by using insulation and energy efficient equipment. At the same time, there should be no energy losses during operations due to unnecessary lighting or heating in areas where it is not needed. Light materials should also be used to cover or panel the building. Builders should also consider using green roofs and walls near halls built near residential areas or the establishment of retention tanks, which will enable ecological rainwater management. Today, more modern halls are being built to reduce carbon footprints. This is not only because of emissions measurements, but also because of energy savings, thermal and air comfort for employees, or existing lighting regulations. "For these halls, which are relatively standardized construction-wise and are less complex than other commercial buildings, the implementation of such a solution to reduce their carbon footprint is much easier," adds Josefína Kurfürstová.
Solutions also exist for older buildings
Carbon footprints can also be reduced in older halls and buildings. This should begin with an energy audit. Such audits make it possible to start planning for the acquisition of more efficient equipment: such as proper lighting, efficient heating, quality thermal insulation or floor replacements. Only then is it possible to think about setting up one’s own renewable electricity sources such as photovoltaic panels. However, these modifications often represent a really large investment. Therefore, depending on the building’s condition, it may be worthwhile to build a new hall; but with partial use of recycled materials from the original building. "Carbon footprint reduction projects are likely to gain access to preferential financing, especially if they take into account European taxonomy or building agendas and guidelines when planning," adds Josefína Kurfürstová.