Together towards a future of sustainable construction


Together towards a future of sustainable construction



The climate emergency has become critical, calling for a fundamental rethink of our industrial practices – not least in construction. Often singled out for its environmental impacts, the construction industry must explore new ways of reducing its carbon footprint. Fortunately, new technologies and approaches are emerging, offering effective solutions to minimise our buildings’ impacts. Among these advances, the use of low-carbon concrete and biosourced or geosourced materials stands out as a major step towards greener construction. Let’s take a closer look at these trends and their implications for the future of the construction industry.

Low-carbon concrete: the way ahead?

Our aim is to reduce the carbon footprint of the buildings we design and build. With this in mind, we have systematically replaced conventional concrete by low-carbon concrete in the slabs of all our logistics and service sector projects.

Concrete, which is ubiquitous in the construction industry, is the main source of our CO2 emissions. 94% of concrete’s carbon footprint comes from cement, which is itself heavily impacted by the production of clinker. Indeed, clinker production involves firing at very high temperatures, resulting in a process called “decarbonation”, which emits CO2.

However, thanks to technological progress and a growing awareness of the climate emergency, low-carbon concrete is now a tangible reality. Reducing the amount of clinker in cement, modifying the fuels used in kilns, adjusting the share of cement in concrete, using recycled materials and other innovations have made it possible to shrink concrete’s carbon footprint considerably. By systematically offering low-carbon concrete paving (as defined by concrete manufacturers’ union SNBPE), we cut slabs’ carbon footprint by 20% versus conventional paving.

Biosourced materials make buildings green

Beyond concrete, we are seeing a return to traditional building materials such as wood, stone and clay. In addition, a new trend is emerging with the rise of biosourced materials, including glued laminated timber, compressed straw, hemp and coconut fibre.

Biobased materials deliver many environmental benefits. Their production often requires less energy and generates less waste than traditional materials. What’s more, they can store atmospheric carbon throughout their life cycle, helping to combat climate change. By using them in construction, we not only reduce our carbon footprint, but also promote a circular and sustainable economy.

These materials are suitable for a wide range of construction applications, including the structure, cladding, coating, partition insulation and flooring.

Geosourced materials: a value opportunity to reduce your carbon footprint

Using geosourced materials can significantly reduce the construction industry’s carbon footprint. Here are a few examples of these materials:

  • Clay: used to manufacture bricks, roof tiles and plaster, clay is both abundant and versatile.
  • Raw eart: raw earth construction techniques – such as mudbrick, rammed earth and cob – offer both sustainable and aesthetic solutions for architecture.
  • Local stone: using locally quarried stone for walls, foundations and cladding reduces the carbon footprint associated with transport.

These are the benefits of using geosourced materials:

  • Reduced CO2 emissions: geosourcing reduces our dependence on conventional building materials, which require considerable transformation and energy-intensive processes. This translates into lower CO2 emissions linked to the manufacture and transportation of materials.
  • More sustainable: geosourced materials tend to be more eco-friendly than their man-made equivalents. For example, raw earth, which has been used for thousands of years in construction, has remarkable thermal resistance and a natural ability to regulate humidity, making for comfortable, energy-efficient buildings.
  • Environmental performance: geosourced materials can be extracted responsibly, reducing a building’s impact on the local environment. What’s more, these materials are often recyclable or biodegradable, helping to promote a circular approach to construction.

Add value to your building with GSE’s eco-responsible approach

1.           Our environmental responsibility

GSE helps its clients meet their sustainable development goals. Our commitment is to play a leading role in improving industry standards while providing our expertise for more eco-friendly buildings. We aim to meet these crucial challenges by offering innovative, competitive and environmentally friendly technical solutions tailored to each project.

2.           Environmental cetificates and labels

GSE offers a clear path to global recognition of your building’s environmental performance: certificates and labels. With over ten years’ experience and more than 145 projects certified or pending certification, our specialist team has solid project management skills and technical expertise that enable us to achieve all levels of the main environmental certifications: BREEAM, HQE, LEED, as well as labels such as BBCA and Zero Carbon.

Here are 2 examples of environmentally efficient projects:

Zero net carbon label : Orbassano

Project features :

  • Fondations: CEM III/B low-carbon cement
  • Concrete slab: CEM II/A low-carbon cement
  • Wooden fire doors in the warehouse
  • Wood-aluminium window frames.

BBCA label : Enedis Caen

Project features

  • Timber-framed offices (framework, floor, roof)
  • Roof insulation made from recycled bottles and wood fibre for the lining
  • Rationalised joinery
  • 49,1 kg of wood and other bio-sourced materials per m² of floor area

Focusing on certificates and labels is no longer enough. This is why GSE set up an R&D programme dedicated to green buildings, with the aim of developing sustainable and tangible solutions with real impact in operation, such as:

Cladding boards made from biosourced materials

Neolife introduced VESTA®, an innovative eco-material combining plant and mineral components, with a recycled wood fibre content of up to 40%, considerably reducing its environmental impact.

Algo biosourced paint

Algo Paint offers environmentally-friendly interior and exterior paints made from seaweed and scallop shells. These paints are certified as “biosourced products” by Karibati. The Algo Pro version contains 98% biosourced resin, with an overall biosourced content of over 80%.

Towards more sustainable construction

Reducing our industry’s carbon footprint is more than a necessity; it’s a precondition to winning the war on climate change. Adopting low-carbon concrete and biosourced & geosourced materials is an effective strategy to achieve our goals. By systematically including them in our projects, we are helping to shape a healthier future where environmental preservation is at the heart of every building. This transition to greener construction practices is a crucial step in our journey towards sustainability and resilience in the face of climate change. Together, we can build a future where progress and the protection of our planet go hand in hand.