By Claire West
The construction industry in the UK is set for a boost of up to £150 million over the next five years to help reduce construction times, improve quality and make buildings more efficient.
£60 million is being invested through the Technology Strategy Board to support the UK construction industry in designing and developing more energy efficient buildings.
The projects are expected to leverage in an additional £60 million of industry investment and £30 million extra funding from across government and other agencies.
Over the last five years £83 million has already been invested in low carbon buildings, saving money for home owners and businesses. Projects have ranged from small businesses like The Facility, developing new energy efficient designs and systems to refit Victorian homes, to multi-national companies like Skanska, developing semi-autonomous equipment such as lift motors and central heating pumps that can tell operators when they need maintenance.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said:
“The UK’s new and existing buildings must adjust to a low carbon economy. Investing in energy efficient construction projects is important to help industry and government achieve our aims of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent by 2025. I therefore warmly welcome the Technology Strategy Board’s investment of £60 million in energy efficient technology alongside the private sector.
“The construction industry contributes almost £90 billion to the UK economy and supports around 3 million jobs. We are well placed to take advantage of new and emerging energy efficient technologies, commercialise them and then export them across the world.”
Over the last five years the Technology Strategy Board has invested £83 million of funding through the Low Impact Buildings Innovation Platform. This has been supported by industry investment of £34 million. The future direct economic benefits of this investment are expected to be more than £1.5 billion and three quarters of the organisations supported are SMEs with fewer than 250 staff.
Director of Innovation Programmes at the Technology Strategy Board David Bott said:
“The government’s challenging target of an 80 per cent reduction in the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 called for innovation on a grand scale. We’ve been astounded by the enthusiasm with which the projects we’ve funded, through our Low Impact Buildings Innovation Platform, have grasped that challenge.
“The resulting new, innovative techniques for both building new, energy efficient homes and for refurbishing existing homes to similar standards have achieved often startling carbon footprint reductions and have the potential to help drive economic growth in this sector.
“We’re already identifying the most commercially viable solutions from this programme for further trails at scale, through our ‘Scaling Up Retrofit of the Nations Homes’ initiative and ground-breaking collaborations such as the AIMC4 project.”
The announcement comes ahead of the one year anniversary of the launch of the government’s Industrial Strategy. Eleven sector-specific strategies have been produced alongside industry with the objective of achieving strong and sustainable growth across the UK and between industries.
On Wednesday 11 September government and the CBI will host an Industrial Strategy Conference at Warwick Business School. The conference will consider what government and industry have achieved working together over the past year and where more will follow.