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Sustainability aspects of our built environment - YBL Conference 2024 Report

On 17 May Óbuda University held the second YBL conference on the built environment. Zsombor Barta, founding partner of our company, gave a presentation at the event, which attracted great interest among students. In his speech, he presented the sustainability aspects of the built environment. He pointed out that the negative environmental footprint of the built environment and the construction industry is huge and that the sector bears a huge responsibility. This is all the more important as the UN predicts that by 2050, around 70% of the world's population will live in urban environments, making the creation of sustainable cities a fundamental challenge for the future of humanity. There are more and more good examples from around the world, but one thing they all have in common is systems thinking. Zsombor pointed out that sustainability can only be understood holistically and integrated effectively to achieve efficient and long-term results.

In his presentation, he recommended the UN's annual Global Resource Outlook 2024, which highlights the problem areas where it is important to make changes. One of these major focal points is the disparities in substance use between high and low income countries. While the extraction of building materials is increasing year on year, the material footprint of higher income countries is six times larger than that of lower income countries (and it should also be noted that the footprint of poorer countries has barely changed for decades).

Another useful and cost-effective solution is that in higher-income countries a lot of money is spent on maintaining systems that are not environmentally and otherwise sustainable. One solution to this could be to change the regulatory structure, for example, which does not require a major financial outlay. This could be, for example, in the Hungarian context, the creation of a legal basis for the possibility of building timber-framed buildings of more than 4 storeys. This could, for example, replace concrete, which has a high built-in carbon footprint, with more sustainable wood, or at least create the possibility to do so.

The UN publication is available for everyone on the official website of the UN:

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