Responsibility for the environment is a matter of practical actions.
Material and energy efficiency
Construction has a huge impact on the environment. The built environment consumes 42 per cent of all energy and generates 38 per cent of all carbon dioxide emissions. The construction industry is also a major consumer of natural resources. We consider environmental responsibility to be akey area for development.
Both we at Lemminkäinen and our stakeholders are aware of our responsibility for the environmental impact of construction and want to reduce the associated risks.
Responsibility in the heart of our strategy
Corporate responsibility holds a central position in our strategy. We want to know the environmental impact and risks of our operations, so that we can take them into consideration during our decision-making.
We consider the environmental business to be first and foremost an opportunity. Two of our strategic growth areas renovation and technical building services can vastly improve energy efficiency. And by recycling materials and reducing waste, we can also make financial savings. Property maintenance also affects our customers energy usage.
During 2011, we standardised our collection of environmental data and defined Group-wide environmental benchmarks and targets, which well be monitoring throughout the current strategic period, that is, until the end of 2013. Each business sector monitors both Group-level environmental targets and the benchmarks that are appropriate to its operations. Reporting covers our own production facilities.
2011 was the first year we participated in the Carbon Disclosure Project, which is supported by investors. Lemminkäinen scored 69/100 points, placing us in the Midrange category.
We want to be a forerunner
We are reducing the environmental impact of our operations by improving R&D, production processes and working methods. In 2010, we set developmental goals for our business most fundamental environmental issues: energy and material efficiency.
The European Union seeks a 20 per cent reduction in greenhouse emissions and energy consumption by 2020.
During 2011, we defined a model for a Group-wide energy balance sheet that will enable us to identify our greatest sources of energy consumption. At Lemminkäinen, production facilities, transport and transportation consume the most energy.
The majority of the energy we use is generated using light fuel oils. Among our production facilities, six of our asphalt plants are powered by natural gas. In our paving production, we have lowered the temperature at which we manufacture asphalt, enabling us to reduce energy consumption.
We pay attention to the efficiency and optimization of transportation. We have, for example, optimized transportation in Technical Building Systems and piloted the use of a positioning system in Infrastructure Construction.
Waste is one of the most significant environmental impacts of construction sites. For us, material efficiency means maximizing material reuse and minimising our environmental waste load. We intend to achieve these goals by increasing the collection and reuse of recyclable materials, and also by paying attention to fuel economy and emissions from transportation. We are developing measures and monitoring systems to measure material recycling, landfill waste generation and atmospheric emissions.
Saving both money and the environment
Our energy consumption is highest in production and transportation. In addition to carbon dioxide emissions, our production facilities and vehicles also cause environmental loading through noise, dust, vibration and odour pollution, and sulphur oxide, nitrogen oxide and fine particle emissions. Lemminkäinen's own production facilities include asphalt and rock crushing plants, factories manufacturing concrete products and ready-mix concrete and roofing materials. We are able to influence our energy consumption by, for example, harnessing more environmentally friendly sources of energy and employing technical solutions that improve energy efficiency.
We also seek to use appropriate, cost-effective methods to prevent other environmental hazards (Best Environmental Practices). We minimise environmental loading by using machinery and equipment correctly, conducting regular maintenance and avoiding idling. We take extra care to protect the ground on aprons, so as to prevent oils, fuels and solvents from contaminating the soil and groundwater.
Most of our production facilities operate under environmental permits, which requires regular environmental monitoring and reporting to the authorities. Compulsory data includes production volumes and categories, energy, fuel and water consumption, and waste volumes.
When purchasing machinery and equipment, we favour the best available technology (BAT) with regard to the environment. This means the most efficient and advanced production and cleaning processes in terms of both technology and cost-effectiveness and working methods that best prevent or reduce environmental contamination.
Recycling construction waste
Careful preparations are vital when developing material efficiency. In order to reduce waste and material damage and losses, orders should be made at the correct time and in the correct quantities, materials should be used in precisely measured amounts, work stages should be carefully planned in advance and employ the right tools and working methods, and construction sites should be kept clean and tidy.
We use recycled materials whenever its financially and practically viable. For example, asphalt is 100 per cent recyclable. About 12 per cent of our total asphalt production used recycled asphalt, which saved natural reserves of both mineral aggregates and bitumen. We fully equip our new asphalt plants for the production of recycled asphalt. We also use crushed rock and crushed, recycled concrete as a substitute for natural gravel.
Improving environmental efficiency in the built environment
A significant proportion of a buildings environmental impact arises during use construction, maintenance and demolition account for only seven per cent. We are continually seeking new ways to create healthy, environmentally sound conditions for living, working and travelling.
We are enhancing the energy efficiency of our own production. Our goal is to use either renewable energy sources or, if zoning allows, district heating to heat our own sites.
Future legislation will steer construction towards ever more energy efficient solutions. Weve already participated in several low-energy and zero-energy projects. The Pilke building, which Lemminkäinen built for Metsähallitus in Rovaniemi, North Finland, as an example of ecological construction, received Puuinfos 2011 Wood Award. This annual award is given to a building, interior or structure that promotes high-quality Finnish wooden architecture, or uses wood in a way that advances construction techniques.
Efficiency through renovation and technical building services
A large proportion of buildings completed during the 1960s and 1970s will require basic renovations over the next decade. Renovations can improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings through improved insulation, the installation of heat recovery ventilation systems and the development of other energy-efficient technical solutions. We are also continually developing new solutions for apartment block infill development.
Building technology can have a major impact on energy efficiency. Our own studies indicate that about 530 per cent of the energy consumed by a standard, well-managed property is wasted due to idling. We have developed a maintenance package that analyses a propertys energy consumption and offers a range of efficiency boosting solutions from minor savings plans to major maintenance agreements in which we take complete responsibility for the propertys upkeep and energy usage.
We have also strengthened our refrigeration maintenance operations and our expertise in refrigeration and cold storage solutions. Climate change is forecasted to increase the need for refrigeration, although solutions will have to be energy efficient.
Reducing energy consumption through infrastructure construction
The condition of road networks and the recycling rates of asphalt paving affect both energy consumption and material efficiency. Lemminkäinen conducts its own infrastructure R&D, and we also take part in joint projects in many fields.
When acquiring mineral aggregate reserves, we promote solutions that support sustainable development. Even at the planning stage, we consider an areas potential after-use as a site for industrial or leisure-time facilities, for example.
Playing our part in industry development
Improving environmental efficiency requires extensive cooperation. We actively participate in construction industry forums and development projects through, for example, RYM Oy and the Green Building Council Finland (FIGBC).
RYM Oy is a strategic coordination centre for expertise in the built environment in Finland. The FIGBC network seeks to make sustainable development perspectives a natural aspect of all property and construction operations.