Holcim seeks to foster a more sustainable built environment

Thursday, 19 June 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Holcim Switzerland Head of Sustainable Construction Michael Scharpf speaks to local architects and structural engineers on sustainable construction
Sustainability is the basis on which tomorrow’s businesses are being built. Whether it is a corporation or an edifice, aspects of sustainability cannot be ignored if the entity has to last and add value to the ecosystem. Holcim Switzerland Head of Sustainable Construction Michael Scharpf recently visited Sri Lanka to speak about sustainable construction and its importance. The first session which was held at the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects (SLIA) on 19 May saw some of the most renowned and emerging architects participate the function, while the second event organised by the Society of Structural Engineers Sri Lanka (SSESL) held on 20 May saw over 200 participants at Cinnamon Grand, Colombo eager to learn international standards and techniques for sustainable construction.       Integrated approach Scharpf believes that sustainability can only be achieved through an integrated approach. Since 1990, Holcim has risen to the challenge of improving energy efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions. The company is deeply committed to these initiatives, three decades on. Holcim has a method of utilising waste as alternative fuel and materials which helps in reducing the effects of waste on economic, social and environmental aspects. The company works in accordance with the environmental product declaration which complies with ISO 14025and suggests efficient building designs which are environmentally friendly while doing its best to reduce the CO2 emission in construction. Holcim is reducing CO2 emissions in its production and regularly suggests building structures from which net carbon emissions would be significantly less. In addition, buildings can embrace water-and waste-management systems that are environmentally-friendly. The key is to efficiently manage energy consumption, for example, a waste management system which encourages recycling as well. In short, sustainability should be achieved at the material, product and the solution levels. Supported by Holcim’s expertise, some amazing improvements have been achieved, such as the recently-introduced Green Building Centres in India which introduce high quality building material sufficient to construct 200 houses per year. The centres contribute to savings of 70 MT of CO2 emissions per year, 6,480 MT of soil, in addition to utilising 4,200 MT of waste per year and the creation of 20 livelihoods directly and 60 livelihoods indirectly.       Sustainable construction An integrated approach as outlined above and valuable partnerships with stakeholders in the construction industry will combine to produce desired results. Holcim believes that sustainable construction can only be achieved by the collective efforts of local business associates, customers, design services, financial services and construction services. The company voices its sustainability concerns and suggestions by leveraging on many platforms and is continuously determining and refining principles for sustainable construction together with both the construction sector and the academic world.       The Holcim Awards The Holcim Awards, organised by the Swiss-based Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction, is one of the most significant competitions in its field in terms of reputation and international scope. The fourth cycle of the competition offering a total of $ 2 million in prize money is currently underway. The competition seeks leading projects from industry professionals and bold ideas from the ‘next generation’ that contribute to sustainability within architecture, building, civil engineering, landscape and urban design, as well as construction materials and technologies. The competition is conducted in parallel in five regions of the world and followed by a global phase in 2015, and encourages architects, planners, engineers and project owners to go beyond conventional notions of sustainable construction in their work and to harmonise economic, ecological and social concerns. After holding several roles as architect and project manager in Germany, Scharpf joined the international consultancy firm Arcadis. Initially in charge of property due diligences, he enhanced the sustainable construction division which performed energy and green building consultancy, and conducted BREEAM, DGNB and LEED certifications. He was also the founding member of the German Green Building Council in 2007 where he participated in the first-time development of the German Green Building Label (DGNB). Holcim is one of the world’s leading suppliers of cement and aggregates (crushed stone, sand and gravel) as well as further products such as ready-mix concrete and asphalt including services. The Group holds majority and minority interests in around 70 countries on all continents. Holcim Sustainable Solutions provide tangible customer value with respect to the ‘Mexico Manifesto,’ the outcome of the 3rd international Holcim Forum for Sustainable Construction in 2010: Zero fossil energy – Zero emissions – Zero waste. The company has established itself as a thought leader in incorporating sustainable elements in its product manufacturing as well as in advocating sustainable building practices to benefit stakeholders at large. Today, Holcim is proactively counselling construction workers and professionals about simple ways in which they can infuse long term sustainability measures in their projects.