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The Future of Sustainable Cities

Research shows that 63 of the largest cities and towns in the UK generate 45% of all carbon emissions in the country.

At Genuit, we want to explore the concept of ‘Sustainable Cities’ and what type of investment is needed to ensure that we meet carbon net-zero targets, and consistent with our own Net Zero commitment.

The objective of the national Net Zero strategy, published in 2021, is for the UK to lead the world in carbon reduction, and to slow the effects of climate change – which is a particular problem for large urban areas.

Cities are centres of carbon production, with many aspects of modern living contributing to this, including the lack of green space and the concentrated population. There are efforts under way to reduce these pressures and sustainable building is one of the top priorities.

Sustainability in construction

Sustainable building is at the heart of what Genuit businesses do and there are many ongoing initiatives across the Genuit Group that contribute to reducing carbon emissions.

With many innovations aiming to limit the embodied carbon, Genuit businesses have taken steps to become more sustainable and are also working hard to create solutions to existing problems.

Ineffective water management is a major issue arising from the ever-expanding nature of the city, and of growing urban populations. 

The damaging effects of this come when green spaces are replaced with buildings and infrastructure which is not designed to effectively deal with surface water. This results in water run-off, which adds strain to sewer systems, increases temperature and starves the green life in our cities of water and clean air. 

Polypipe Civils and Green Urbanisation works with planners, developers and landscape architects to bring green spaces back to urban centres – including providing green roof technology which encourages thriving ecosystems. 

Green roofs have been cited as ‘a key to mitigating climate change’. The main benefits are:

•           Reducing energy consumption

•           Insulating buildings during colder months

•           Absorbing heat during hotter months

•           Using surface water to encourage eco-systems

Polypipe Civils has taken this one step further with their Blue Green Roof technology. While still ensuring irrigation and drainage, Blue Green roofs focus on water storage, and the intelligent release of water.

Managing urban water

Another solution from within the Genuit Group is Permavoid. This is a solution designed to deal with stormwater in already built-up urban locations. 

While permeable paving absorbs surface water, it does not account for where the water will go once it has sunk beneath the paving. 

The Permavoid solution involves installing both a tank, and a filtration system beneath the paving, where silt and debris will be filtered out before the water is fed into the storage tank. The water is then released at a manageable rate into the most viable or beneficial destination – whether this be river, sewer, or used for nearby trees and other plants that line the streets.

Also contributing to the future of sustainable cities is the ArborRaft system. This is a geocellular raft system that aims to provide adequate space for tree roots to grow in hard landscapes. 

A lot of pressure is often put on existing tree roots to reinforce the manmade structures around them. This often results in compaction of the soil surrounding the root, leaving no space for growth. 

The ArborRaft system prevents damage to the root structure, by absorbing the pressure of the load placed upon them. This permits root growth of both existing and newly planted trees.

Businesses across the Genuit Group are developing innovations that will create a positive impact on the environment while also promoting economic growth.