A Celebration of Planet Earth

  • Dr Jon Stinson

    Associate

  • April 22, 2024

Our planet is a wondrous place, but it is currently at risk and needs our help to thrive.

That’s why each year on April 22, more than a billion people celebrate Earth Day to protect the planet from the devastating effects of climate change.

The celebration of Earth Day is a symbol of the pressing need to invest in our planet, it’s not enough to simply acknowledge that climate change poses a risk, action must be taken.

The responsibility to protect the plant lies with each of us and at Okana we have been committed to working sustainably for a number of years, and Earth Day provides further opportunity to talk about our heritage of deep understanding of sustainable ways of working and our plans for a more sustainable future.

Did you know?

  • One reusable bag

    can prevent the use of 600 plastic bags

  • Recycling one tin can,

    will save enough energy to power a TV for three hours

  • Shutting down a computer when it’s not in use

    cuts its energy consumption by 85%

  • For every mile walked instead of driven,

    nearly 1lb of pollution is kept out of the air

And when we look deeper at the construction sector specifically, despite being a crucial sector for the world economy, construction is one of the major contributors to the carbon emissions polluting our planet. With emissions coming from sourcing and producing materials, logistics and construction activities accounting for more than 38% of global emissions.

Historically, the construction sector has not been seen as a champion of sustainability initiatives, several barriers to decarbonisation still exist, such as ineffective procurement practices, a lack of regulation, poor visibility for embodied carbon and resistance for new sustainable construction products to replace tried and tested products in use today!

However, there are positives and as an industry it is undergoing a significant transformation. If we look at the rise of ConTech for example: it is emerging as a viable solution for reducing carbon emissions through the use of various digital solutions such as AI, machine learning and the internet of things (IoT). Plus the introduction of new innovative materials, energy efficient solutions and data analytics to improve the sustainability of construction projects are all helping to reduce the environmental impact of the built environment.

The use of technology in construction has already made great strides in reducing carbon emissions, particularly in the areas of energy usage, resource efficiency and waste management.

At Okana, we use a blended approach of strategic development and practical delivery to support our global clients in their sustainability strategies. As one of the largest polluters of global emissions, we are taking action to change the culture of construction to think efficiency first and place equal importance on sustainability as cost and time management.

For example, our work with the YTL Arena in Bristol – which has the aim of becoming one of the most progressive, responsible and sustainable arenas in the world – was to support them in meeting their carbon neutral goals.

The team at the YTL Arena understands that digital plays a critical role in sustainable design and delivery, at BIM Academy we supported the team in the development of a digital strategy, information management and the creation of a digital twin of the arena and the wider Brabazon neighbourhood. We drew on our expertise for digital and sustainability strategies set for other sports stadiums and leisure complex projects, including our work on Sydney Opera House and Wembley Stadium.

As more global sustainability commitments and regulations are implemented, a new wave of thinking is forcing decarbonisation and the green transition of the construction industry to become unavoidable.

Our sustainability approach is one of looking beyond the next deadline to the next decade. The investments we are making today, and our progress in sustainability initiatives demonstrates our commitment to maintaining environmental viability with our eyes focused towards the future of our planet.

About the authors

Jon Stinson

Associate

Jon has worked, researched, and taught in the field of building physics and architectural technology since 2005. In 2023, he merged the sustainable design and building performance evaluation company, Building Research Solutions, with Okana. Jon uses computational modelling and in situ data capture to create design support tools and strategies for stakeholders, driving the built environment towards net zero

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