Competitive advantage through sustainable product development in construction
A Corus case study

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Page 3: Sustainability

Sustainability was a key theme in Corus' analysis of the external environment. In 1987 the Bruntland Commission defined sustainable development as 'meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs'.

Most of the energy we consume - whether it is the petrol for cars or the gas that heats our houses - comes from non-renewable resources like coal, oil and gas. The reduction in energy use is, therefore, a key objective of Government's.

As well as a cost to the environment, energy has a cost to those who buy it, and it makes good sense to reduce usage from both these perspectives. Fuel poverty affects between 4 to 6 million people of the population in the UK, this is not due to fuel being too expensive, but because they live in accommodation which has poor thermal insulation.

Efficient use of resources including energy is paramount during the life of a building. Buildings start off as raw materials like glass, which is used to manufacture components like windows. These are then assembled into systems like facades, which are constructed to form buildings. At the end of a building's life the sustainable loop describes how the product life can be extended.

Corus is aiming to develop solutions that, as well as being resource efficient, have a flexible and adaptable design. This means that the usage of a building can be adapted internally without altering the structure or exterior of the building (re-use). It is not possible to do this with a building whose internal walls support/act as the structure and support the floors. It is much more difficult to achieve this without major modifications.

Corus | Competitive advantage through sustainable product development in construction