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Decarbonization of the construction sector by 2050 – a challenge and a necessity

Climate neutrality is a very ambitious and complicated undertaking. On the path towards this goal, all of us – from developers, investors, architects, contractors, manufacturers of building materials, to universities, associations, NGOs, government and local administration – have a role to play. It is only together, in this synergy, that we stand a chance to achieve the effect that we are striving for – emphasized Alicja Kuczera, President of the Polish Green Building Council (PLGBC), during an expert debate that opened a wide discussion on climate neutrality in the context of upcoming legal developments.

Climate neutrality is a very ambitious and complicated undertaking. On the path towards this goal, all of us – from developers, investors, architects, contractors, manufacturers of building materials, to universities, associations, NGOs, government and local administration – have a role to play. It is only together, in this synergy, that we stand a chance to achieve the effect that we are striving for – emphasized Alicja Kuczera, President of the Polish Green Building Council (PLGBC), during an expert debate that opened a wide discussion on climate neutrality in the context of upcoming legal developments.

The debate initiated by Selena Group took place online on Thursday in the company’s social channels. The invited experts discussed the challenges facing the industry with the new guidelines of the European Commission that provide for full decarbonisation of construction by 2050.

“In the construction sector alone, this goal requires reduction of demand for final energy, i.e. energy supplied to buildings – by over 60%. In turn, emissions related to the use of the energy must be reduced by 86%”, said Andrzej Wiszniewski, President of the Polish National Energy Conservation Agency. Experts concurred that legal provisions themselves, e.g. those relating to the gradual elimination of coal from heating or the introduction of new standards for energy efficiency of buildings, will not suffice to reach this goal. “We can’t solve the issue with regulations only. It is necessary to make thermal upgrading of existing stock economically attractive, and to provide information and education, areas in which Poland is lagging far behind our neighbours from the EU”Andrzej Wiszniewski stressed.

Szymon Firląg, President of the Association of Employers – Producers of Materials for Construction, spoke about how to increase the pace of thermal upgrade. “Support for this process must be well thought out and carefully designed. Today we see that thermal upgrade is at about 1%. Meanwhile, looking at the support program for photovoltaics, for example for single-family buildings, we can see that it is progressing at a rate of 3%. It is worth checking why this program has been successful and replicate good practices. Understandably, thermal upgrade is much more complicated, costly and time-consuming, but my experience shows that sometimes people just don’t want to bother or don’t have support. Problems often appear at the stage of measuring the wall area, and this is a barrier that a potentially interested person cannot overcome. The second barrier is the lack of own funds for thermal upgrade. Here a focus is also needed on various types of support programs adapted to the size of people’s budgets”Szymon Firląg said.

Experts have no doubts that decarbonization gives rise to numerous challenges both for decision-makers and the whole industry.

Experts also talked a lot about the need for education and social awareness. According to Andrzej Błaszczyk  from the Oknotest.pl portal, leading by example is the most effective method of education. And Selena’s products, among others, are such an example “For years, without waiting for government or EU regulations, many European and Polish companies have been introducing various massive innovations to reduce CO2 emissions or to increase energy efficiency. Already twenty years ago, Selena was the first company in the world to introduce the innovative Tytan 65 window and door installation foam, which became a world standard during the first five years. Now the foam is used to instal windows in almost 100 countries. This foam has become a benchmark for other products in such distant countries as South Korea, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Finland and Canada, Why? Because it introduced the then highest standard of window insulation”, said Krzysztof Domarecki, CEO of Selena Group.

„Today, the company is marketing another innovative solution – WINS, a system for window installation and sealing. It’s an innovation on a global scale. For years, various window insulation solutions have been put on the market, but their downside was that while they tried to meet increased environmental requirements, they were extremely difficult to install and costly. As a result, their use was very limited. WINS is a system that offers powerful protection against heat losses and reduces CO2 emissions, but above all it can be used on a massive scale”Krzysztof Domarecki explained.

WINS speeds up the work of the contractor – window installer – by as much as four times. In addition, this solution prevents energy losses in residential buildings by a significant 30%, thus reducing the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. On top of that, it may provide savings of up to PLN 1,500 per year. 

In connection with the launch of the innovative solution that is just entering the market, and in the face of enormous changes aimed at climate neutrality, Selena has decided to initiate a wide discussion about building decarbonization. This is a process that will ultimately bring great benefits to the end user. “It’s a win-win deal for all – from the point of view of public health, environment and air quality”, said Rafał Schurma, CEO of Visio | Architects and Consultants.

Participating in the debate were also Michał Specjalski. (Director of the Windows and Doors Division in Selena Group) and Ewa Kosmala (Global Division Senior Marketing Manager in Selena Group). The event was organized by Selena Group, with the Builder magazine and the wnp.pl portal as media patrons.

Selena Group is a global leader and distributor of construction chemicals and one of the four largest global producers of mounting foams for construction. The idea of sustainable construction and development is embedded in the Group’s strategy. For many years, the company has been introducing innovative and energy-efficient solutions to the market, including the highly reflective and waterproofing COOL-R® coating and foam adhesives that reduce water and electricity consumption. In January this year. the Group joined the Polish Green Building Council.

The company’s culture of innovation and its guiding values have helped it gain a strong foothold in more than 100 markets. It comprises 35 companies in 17 countries The Group’s manufacturing plants are located in Poland, Brazil, South Korea, China, Romania, Turkey, Spain and Kazakhstan.  

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