40TH ANNIVERSARY All vintage photography kindly supplied by the Builders’ Merchants Federation. OCTOBER 2017 | BUILDING PRODUCTS 31 presence. This has undoubtedly shaped the merchant sector we see today, but the majors are not the only players in the market. Operating alongside regional groups, local independents and trade specialists, today’s merchant sector offers the trade real choice.’ The Building Research Establishment looks at the environment issues in a statement to Building Products. It says that concerns over diminishing sources of raw materials and fossil energy resources, and overcoming climate change challenges have sparked interest for many years, with considerable discussion being directed towards the construction industry and the move to energy-efficient buildings. ‘From the early 1990s, regulations were put in place to drive the creation of low-carbon buildings, with materials and products that proved sustainable, laying the foundations of the first environmental impact calculations of a construction product, using life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology.’ the BRE states. The first edition of the Green Guide to Construction, published by BRE in 1996, based on construction products’ LCA results, aimed to provide a simple 'green rating' for the environmental impacts of building materials. This became part of BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method) criteria, an accredited environmental rating scheme for buildings. ‘Fast track forward 20 years,’ the BRE continues, ‘with the increasing progress on reducing operational energy in the built environment, the industry’s next challenge is to reduce the embodied carbon of the materials themselves. ‘Embodied carbon is an indication of the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated to produce a building product asset, including emissions caused by their extraction, manufacture, transportation and assembly.’ From an environmental point of view, there is still plenty to be done. The BRE tells us: ‘A hefty pressure is also the need for a target of 80% reduction in emissions by 2050 from a 1990 baseline within the built environment. BRE has created IMPACT which allows construction professionals to measure the embodied environmental impact and life cycle cost performance of buildings, and can be used in whole building assessment schemes like BREEAM.’ We should not forget, as a magazine, how much the publishing industry has change in the past 40 years. Back in 1977 it was a completely different operation – manual typewriters, typesetters, daily courier collections for the printers, page proofs returned in the post, and the good old “blue pencil” for sub editing work. Thanks to the rapid development in computer technology, and even more impressive work in software, a much smaller ‘manpower’ can – and does – produce this magazine. I must send out a huge thank you to absolutely everyone who has been involved in the production of Building Products over 40 years. All your efforts are evident as we celebrate the anniversary. With the level of change we have witnessed in the past 40 years, who knows what the future might bring. There is one thing that we can confidently predict – if ink printed onto paper remains as popular as it is today, and even if we move totally across to electronic versions – Building Products will be there to highlight the latest innovations and applications. Phil Stronach is Editor of Building Products.
Building Products October 2017
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