Confronting the Realities of Global Warming

11 October 2018 Kingspan Group
Although the worst possible effects of climate change have been signalled for some time, the special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5ºC, issued by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on Monday, stressed the urgency with which these possibilities need to be confronted.

In the report, the world’s leading climate scientists warned that it is possible that only 12 years remain in which the increase in temperatures due to global warming can be kept at 1.5ºC.  Beyond that level, an increase of even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people. We have just 12 years to make massive changes to global energy infrastructure to limit global warming to moderate levels.

Keeping to the preferred cap of a 1.5ºC temperature increase above pre-industrial levels will mean "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society", not just in terms of energy, but changes to how transportation, buildings and industries operate. The report acts as a reminder of the harsh challenges we face in terms of preventing the worst impacts of climate change, the need for engagement and action from all stakeholders, and the importance of the Paris Agreement as a backbone for driving change.
World Economic Forum research has found that buildings are responsible for 25-40% of the global total of energy consumption, contributing significantly to the release of carbon dioxide into the earth’s atmosphere. In fact, 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to buildings.

The importance of viewing buildings as holistic entities, where both the quality of construction and the quality of materials are considered carefully is obvious. The increasing need for buildings to be as efficient as possible, in terms of their energy use, is an area where Kingspan can deliver solutions, as the manufacturer of high-performance insulation that stands the test of time and the most thermally efficient insulation products commonly used. Kingspan products combined with intelligent and thoughtful optimised envelope design, such as natural lighting, energy generation and water conservation solutions can significantly lower the energy footprint of the building, minimising the global warming impact of a building’s construction.

Mark Harris, Building Technology Director explains:

As building system professionals, our focus is on optimising the energy efficiency performance and minimising the environmental footprint of our products, so that we can help lower, as much as possible, dependency on fossil fuels to power the projects we work on. This means investment in research to ensure that we create insulation that achieves the best possible thermal performance in the industry, with the guarantee that we can ensure an optimum level of high-performance for the lifetime of the project. This is of course complimented by our lighting, water and energy solutions.
Kingspan’s insulation solutions are designed to perform at the optimum thermal performance level for the design lifetime of the building. For example, our market leading Quadcore insulated panel products are guaranteed to maintain thermal performance for 40 years, and are c. 11% more thermally efficient than industry standard PIR, and up to twice as thermally efficient as mineral fibre at equivalent thickness.
Kingspan understands its impact on the environment, both in terms of the role its products can play in optimising energy efficiency, and the responsibility the company has, with a global footprint of over 100 locations and over 13,000 employees, to operate as sustainably as possible throughout its supply chain.
Kingspan Group has joined some of the world’s leading global companies in a commitment to the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 10%. In addition, in 2017, 69% of the total energy used by Kingspan’s operations came from renewable sources, and the Group is on target to achieve its goal of Net Zero Energy (NZE) status by 2020. As part of its journey to achieve NZE status, Kingspan Group has seen a 77% reduction in carbon intensity across its operations, and is benefitting from 34.5 GWh of energy generated on its own sites.
Kingspan’s journey to operate as sustainably as possible is ongoing and evolving, but ‘Global Warming of 1.5ºC is a reminder of just how crucial it is that the journey always be viewed as a business priority.

Talk to us about Sustainable Building Design

Bianca Wong Headshot 2017
Contact Bianca Wong 
Divisional Sustainability Manager
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