K&W goes sustainable

Everyone now needs to step up and do their part to save our planet for our children and future generations. The impact on the world’s climate is already visible to everyone around the world and we must act fast not to pass the point of no return when it will no longer matter what we humans do. Scientists have been saying for 30 years that a critical point is 1,5 degrees temperature increase and we might be there in less than 5 years now. Everyone needs to get on the train and change now, we cannot afford to keep on burning fossil fuels for another 10 or 20 years. 

In construction, that means using and reusing construction materials with lower CO2 footprint but also making new buildings as self-sufficient as possible on energy by reducing energy needs and placing solar panels on every building. Politicians should also urgently figure out a way to make it economically interesting to phase out oil burners and after that gas burners in existing buildings. 

As we have seen the hard way since the beginning of 2022, the dependency on oil and gas is an enormous political risk factor for each country that doesn’t have these resources. In short – supply of oil and gas can be used to blackmail entire countries and regions. That risk is not going to disappear when the war in Ukraine ends, it will still be there in the background as long as we depend on it.

Our own office and depot

To set off our electricity usage, we doubled our solar panel installation at our office and depot from 40kW to 80kW in the first half of 2023. We should have an annual production of about 100.000 kWh which should be enough for the needs we have at the office and depot including charging of our electric vehicles.

During 2023, we have phased out all passenger cars running on just diesel or petrol, and we currently have 7 full electric and 7 plug-in hybrid cars. 

To reduce the impact of our diesel trucks and vans we have recently filled up our red diesel tank at the office with HVO-100. HVO is a type of biodiesel that will reduce CO2  emissions by 90%. We will use this for our big truck, machines at the depot and all vans coming to the office should fill up with this. That way, HVO should replace upwards of 30,000 liters on an annual basis which will reduce CO2  by about 75 tons.


Green Construction Sites

We have recently started to use Battery Packs from Locquet instead of diesel generators. It does cost a bit more but the positive aspects of the battery packs are more than just environmental: Less noise and smell for the workers and neighbors, less maintenance and no risk of the fuel getting stolen. We will certainly extend this collaboration with Locquet and hopefully replace all diesel generators on construction sites during 2023. The potential CO2 saving to replace burning 50.000 liters of diesel in generators each year is well over 100 tons of CO2 so this is something that really gives result.

Our achievement and goal

We have worked together with Encon to make a Carbon footprint report for 2022. This shows a total carbon footprint from our own processes (so called scope 1 and 2 emissions) of about 375 tons. With the steps we have taken during 2023, we expect to have cut that by about 35% or 130 tons. In 2024, without any further measures, the total expected cut from 2022 levels is 200 tons and thereby less than 50% of our 2022 carbon emission. 

As you see above, the biggest impact is the reduced used of diesel generators on the construction sites with about 100 tons followed by replacing diesel with HVO for transportation with 75 tons, the rest from solar panel production and electric cars. 

The goal in the coming years is to phase out diesel completely and replace it with electricity or HVO as fuel. When that is possible, we can cut another 100 tons and be at about 20% of 2022 carbon emissions which should thus be doable in the coming 2-3 years.

The elephant in the room

The biggest emissions in construction will naturally not come from the direct construction process, but rather from the production of construction materials. We need to use less concrete and other materials that require burning and find alternative materials. The CO2 footprint of buildings will certainly be obliged to measure in the near future and this is already happening in some countries in Europe where tax is based on that footprint. This is something that will have to be considered at the project development as the building design will determine how the building will be constructed and what materials that we as contractor must use.


K&W can deliver Zero Energy Housing with A++ energy rating

K&W is a pioneer in sustainable living. We can offer affordable net energy neutral housing with a very high comfort of living with our Zero Energy House and soon to come Zero Energy Apartments. We have finished a project with 16 of these houses in 2019. Currently we are busy with the Heris project with 52 Zero Energy houses of which 48 are built and sold. In 2023, we will also start construction of our first Zero Energy Apartment block in this project (www.heris.be)

Our concept combines already existing techniques and technologies to make a cost efficient, high quality final product. We can compete with traditional constructions in price whilst offering much lower running costs and an even higher comfort of living. We are aiming to be able to offer this concept to project developers soon.  Read more on www.zeroenergyhouse.be