12 Apr 2024

Construction sector holds enormous potential for “greening”

Glavbolgarstroy showcases circular construction technologies and innovative products at the Delphi Economic Forum

Construction, as one of the leading sectors in the economy, holds enormous potential for "greening," stated Plamena Nenkova, Deputy Executive Director of "International Relations and Business Development" at Glavbolgarstroy Holding, during the ninth Economic Forum in Delphi. She participated in a panel dedicated to the circular economy and addressing challenges on the path to a greener future.

Nenkova, who also leads Glavbolgarstroy's representatives in Brussels, Washington, and Vienna, emphasized the construction sector's pivotal role in achieving global sustainability goals and reducing industries' footprint on nature. She addressed issues such as raw material and energy consumption, as well as global emissions from the construction sector, within the context of ESG reporting requirements and their impact on business.

"Construction is a leading sector of the economy, providing over 22 million jobs in the EU-27. Fifty percent of all extracted raw materials are used in our industry; forty percent of generated waste and approximately thirty-three percent of global emissions come from companies operating in the construction industry. These data illustrate the challenges we face but also reveal a wide array of opportunities. The emergence of innovations addressing the generation of significant construction and demolition waste lies at the core of this transformation. There are numerous opportunities for advancement," stated the Deputy Executive Director.

Nenkova shared insights into circular economy practices in the industry and underscored the significance of partnerships in developing and implementing construction innovations.

"New technological solutions and innovations in the construction sector, which we - the companies operating within the sector - can successfully adopt and promote, cannot be developed without the support of the academic community," she said. Alongside universities and research organizations, Glavbolgarstroy is developing various solutions, such as a mobile installation for producing high-end recycled construction products and materials, and a prototype of an innovative cone crusher, both integral parts of the "MOBICCON-PRO" project. The pulse generator crusher plays a crucial role in the project by finely grinding materials while conserving significant energy. The outcome is faster production and a higher-quality product with recycled content, explained Nenkova.

She noted that the ultralight insulation material, the focus of the NRG STORAGE project in collaboration with Germany's Darmstadt University, Delft University of Technology, and other project consortium partners, is currently undergoing testing. Nenkova expressed hope that measurements will prove a 25% higher insulation capacity, 10% higher air and water tightness, and 10% higher energy storage capacity, bringing the product to market.

Other participants in the discussion, moderated by Greek journalist Korina Georgiou, included Manolis Grafakos, General Secretary of Waste Management Coordination at the Ministry of Environment and Energy of the Republic of Greece; Michael E. Economakis, Executive Chairman of Petros Petropoulos Group (Plc) | Hellenic Recovery Recycling Corporation (HERRCO); Athanassios Savvakis, CEO of BIOSOLIDS; Anthimos Amanatidis, CEO of EYATH SA; and Alex Panziaros, CEO of Coffeeco.