Climate change, the scarcity of resources, and urbanisation are hot topics in the building and construction industry. In this context, the importance of sustainability cannot be overemphasised: almost 40% of global CO2 emissions and 36% of global energy usage is associated with building and construction. These figures clearly illustrate the increasing need for more sustainable solutions in the industry.
Companies that play an active role in the building industry have a responsibility to pave the way toward a more sustainable future. This is why partners like Uponor, one of the leading international providers of solutions that move water for buildings and infrastructure, strive to help customers in Europe to choose the perfect solutions for greener building designs.
There are various ways to increase the sustainability of buildings. One approach is to find ways in which to optimize raw material usage. Another typical approach involves implementing measures for reducing energy consumption. Finding the right levers to implement these measures means finding the right partner who can offer architects the most resource-conserving and energy-efficient solutions tailored to their projects' needs.
Uponor offers an array of products and solutions to achieve a more sustainable building practice. Bio-based PEX pipes, for instance, promise the same quality and trustworthiness as Uponor’s conventional PEX pipes, but with a reduced carbon footprint of up to 90%. This new product line forms part of the brand's overall commitment towards renewable, raw materials and methods that facilitate the transformation of construction projects into ecological viability.
Another example is Ecoflex VIP: a pre-insulated pipe for local and district heating networks. Ecoflex VIP combines flexibility with heat-loss performance for one of the highest-standard flexible foam insulation pipes on the market today. By adopting this ground-breaking Vacuum Insulated Panel (VIP) technology, heat loss can be reduced by as much as 60%.
Energy-efficient underfloor heating and cooling is another of Uponor’s core sustainable solutions. Comparable to that renewable energy resources, radiant heating solutions employ a lower temperature for heating in comparison with radiators. In fact, utilizing wide surfaces for heat transmission can result in a 40% decrease in primary energy use versus fan coils. A further 15% reduction in energy consumption can be achieved in family homes via smart controls and auto-balancing.
The Greenspace PCTG in Asturias, Spain
A true masterpiece of sustainable construction is Greenspace PCTG in Asturias, one of the few net-zero office buildings in Spain. This building adheres to the rules of the circular economy, while at its core can be found a healthy, energy-efficiency architecture based on low-emission materials. The building boasts a positive energy balance and actually generates more energy than it uses, thanks in large part to Uponor’s ‘Thermally Active Building Systems’ (TABS), which plays a unique role in minimizing the building’s energy usage and creating net-zero heating and cooling.
The energy concepts of this building also include a bioclimatic design and 134 solar panels, together with a lift that runs on the energy produced by these solar panels; not to mention being illuminated by low-energy LED bulbs that are controlled by intelligent sensors. The overall result? An innovative working environment that fosters creative thinking and sustainable productivity.
The impressive combination of energy-efficiency and ecological measures employed by the Greenspace building – including its use of renewable energy, healthy architecture and low-emission materials – has earned it a gold certification from LEED, a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement for resource-conscious buildings. The gold certification places Greenspace among the most sustainable buildings in the world.
The bottom line
Not every construction today can aspire to the ecological greatness of Greenspace. But as a case study, it highlights some of the numerous possibilities for integrating more sustainability in today’s buildings. Greenspace also underscores the importance of being able to rely on a partner who can integrate these green technologies within the one holistic approach. Uponor's strong sustainability agenda is a reflection of how the leading companies in the construction industry today are positioning themselves for the future. Its wide range of sustainability products and services, which are inspired by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, are constantly evolving and being reevaluated for even better solutions for the future, all of which is published transparently. Read more about Uponor’s contribution to a sustainable future here.