Keeping Carbon Captured By Cutting Demolition

Men in high visibility vests installing windows

Carbon emissions can be cut by upgrading older buildings instead of knocking them down says one window profile supplier recently recognised as one of the top 50 Sustainability & Climate Leaders.

According to that window profile supplier, Rehau, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) estimates that a sizeable proportion of a building’s lifecycle carbon is emitted during construction – 35% and 51% for office and residential properties respectively. These findings have prompted campaigns for developers to prioritise the restoration of older properties over demolishing and replacing them at high carbon costs.

Rehau also says retrofit window solutions will be vital to ensuring the viability of this upgrade-centric approach and aiding the construction sector’s fight against climate change.


 “The government committing the country to net zero emissions by 2050 has made improving sustainability a key concern across all sectors, including construction. With that in mind, these RICS figures show just how damaging it can be to opt for new-builds over renovating older properties.”

– Russell Hand 

Head of Marketing and Technical, Rehau Windows


Improving the efficiency

“While window solution suppliers should incorporate retrofit capabilities into their product designs as standard, it is now clearer than ever that this consideration should become a necessity," continues Rehau Windows' Hand. "These solutions will be vital to improving the efficiency of older buildings in line with modern standards, while negating the carbon costs associated with creating the materials required to build a new property in their place.

“The carbon costs associated with their construction means new buildings may not pay back their carbon debt for decades. As such, retrofitting should become a priority for specifiers and developers looking to improve the sustainability of their operations, especially as lowering carbon emissions grows in importance in the run-up to 2050.

“Opting for efficient and sustainable window solutions that can be adapted to suit existing properties is therefore crucial to reducing carbon emissions. With the support of suppliers such as Rehau, developers and specifiers are well-placed to adapt to these changing priorities and the challenges posed in upgrading these older buildings.”


Rehau is one of 50 Sustainability & Climate Leaders worldwide

Rehau has joined the '50 Sustainability & Climate Leaders', an initiative by media production agency TBD Media Group in conjunction with the United Nations.

The aim of the '50 Sustainability & Climate Leaders' campaign is to draw attention to issues and provide companies with a platform on which to showcase their commitment before an international audience.


 “Rehau adopts a long-term approach to its responsibility towards future generations. To be one of the ‘50 Sustainability & Climate Leaders’ is a real incentive for our 20,000 employees to continue striving for greater sustainability and climate protection. In a nutshell, we want to lead the way when it comes to circular economies.”

– William Christensen 

CEO, Rehau Group


Picture: By 2025, Rehau plans to increase its recycling rate across the group to well over 15% while reducing CO2 emissions by at least 30%.



Article written by Cathryn Ellis
01st October 2020


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