Paye are now Carbon Neutral

The COP26 climate summit has shone the spotlight on how the entire construction industry operates. In turn, soaring demand for building has clashed with supply constraints brought about by the pandemic, forcing the industry to reflect on how they use – and discard – their materials.

There’s now an urgent need for both building design and the wider planning process to become fully aligned with environmental goals. At Paye, following our commitment to a reduced carbon expenditure of 160 tonne, we are proud to announce that we are now fully carbon neutral.

In 2022, we will unveil a series of initiatives around sustainability, created by our new working group. Uniting colleagues from every department, the group fosters inspiration and innovation from across the company, as we interrogate our Scope 3 expenditure and continue our journey towards carbon zero. We have already taken action to replace all company vehicles with hybrid and electric, change the fuel used in heavy vehicles, and develop our own formalised internal resource for repurposing reclaimed masonry from other projects.

The building industry generates huge volumes of waste through construction, demolition and excavation – and at present much of it isn’t reused but cut, crushed and recycled. Given the rising prices, it makes sense that firms can no longer afford to allow the products that are reusable – bricks, timber, roofing – to be needlessly thrown away. The conservation and restoration sector has long recognised the benefits of the circular economy because of the scarcity of some of the materials we work with. Paye have been dismantling and rebuilding buildings since 1992 and we have always reused materials. Historically, this was an aesthetic choice – now, it’s non-negotiable.

Over the past three years, we’ve seen a real shift in perspective around masonry material and how it can be reused and repurposed for a second or third use. However, we know there’s a risk of creating a false opportunity by driving even greater requirement for the storage of salvaged materials. We’re committed to finding a better way of repurposing masonry – and making architects more responsible too. Our planning departments now expect the use of recycled materials, marking a significant change in approach.

For example, we are dismantling and rebuilding facades with the original materials, providing technical support and circular requirement assessment. And we’re developing new ways of integrating old building materials with new. We’re researching new forms and different methods of construction: combining the monolithic historical appearance of the original façade with the need to satisfy modern movement requirements through the use of 3d modelling of the original masonry prior to dismantle and the reconstruction with naturally hydraulic lime mortars.

Repurposing existing materials isn’t new – through history, we have seen windows removed and used for a new house… ships’ timbers transformed into beams. That awareness is once again at the forefront, as all sorts of new creative options come into play. Now and in the future, all building design must be centred around the concept of re-use.

With that in mind, we now work towards our next goal – to reach net zero status by December 2023.

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