COP21 – Climate change talks in Paris

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Climate change is leading to climate instability, which in turn is causing increasingly frequent extreme weather events such as floods and droughts. With an expected global population of 9 billion by 2050 resource security is fast becoming one of, if not, the most important issues to face humanity. World leaders are beginning to recognise the potentially disastrous consequences of climate change and have met in Paris for the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – COP21.

The COP negotiations in Paris have two main goals;

  1. To limit the amount of CO2 entering the atmosphere to curb increases in global temperatures
  2. To change the way we do business; how we produce, farm, consume and dispose of products

The construction industry is accountable for up to 47% of UK CO2 emissions. This presents massive opportunities as it is an industry where significant CO2 savings can be achieved and is an industry identified by the government for significant CO2 reductions. The majority of construction products are ‘unsustainable’, in that they have high embodied energy (they use a lot of energy in their production), come from finite resources and cannot be reused or recycled.

For example; 80 million tonnes of plasterboard, the world’s preferred interior lining board, is produced annually, contributing 3.1 GT of CO2e to the earth’s atmosphere, each year. Furthermore, 15 million tonnes is sent to landfill every year where little to none is recycled and it has to be contained in separate cells because it emits a hazardous gas when mixed with organic matter and moisture. The raw product, gypsum, is mined or collected as a by-product of burning fossil fuels and is made into plasterboard using an energy and CO2 intensive industrial process.

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The experiences of Adaptavate’s founders in the building industry inspired them to create a change in how we produce, use and dispose of our building materials. That is why Adaptavate are focussing their efforst on developing bio based building materials, starting with Breathaboard. Breathaboard is a superior performing substitute to plasterboard, made from the by-product of an industrial crop and a natural binder. The natural raw materials are then combined to produce Breathaboard in a low energy process. This not only reduces the amount of CO2 emitted through mining materials, it also offsets CO2 by converting it to oxygen through photosynthesis whilst locking up 1.83 tonnes of CO2 for every tonne of crop material used.

Adaptavate are pioneering a new way of producing building materials. We believe that materials can be grown and composted, therefore reducing the CO2 associated with their manufacturing and use. These materials provide a longer-term, renewable alternative to the conventional way of producing high CO2 materials associated with the construction industry. We are providing bio-composite solutions that form part of a more circular, sustainable economy.

Breathaboard fulfils the two main goals of the COP talks;

  1. It reduces CO2 emissions associated with materials in the Built Environment.
  2. It changes the way we consume, moving from carbon intensive material extraction and processing to growing materials which are processed in an energy efficient method and can be composted.

At this seminal moment in human history Adaptavate are leaders in our field and are realising our vision of construction materials that are good for people and planet. Let’s hope COP21 produces some tangible and ambitious goals, either way we will continue our quest to make high performance products which don’t cost the earth.

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