Laurena Erriah, an engineer and company director specializing in eco-responsible construction, shares her thoughts on the factors to consider when it comes to reducing the carbon footprint of buildings.

Picture by Alexandre Karghoo

In the era of the Anthropocene, we are finally becoming aware of the irreversible damage caused by humans on the planet. In this context, we increasingly feel the need to protect ourselves and our families from the effects of climate change. The house serves as a protection against the climate. The roof protects and the walls are bulwarks against external aggressions. The stakes are obvious. At the last COP26, the Mauritian government set itself extremely ambitious targets for 2030: to reduce its carbon emissions by 40% by 2030. This must imperatively involve a reduction in energy demand and consumption, 35% of which comes from buildings worldwide. Electricity consumption related to the use of buildings represents nearly 55% of global electricity consumption.

In order to do so, it would be necessary to use the least polluting materials and techniques for the construction. It would be necessary to take into account the grey energy of each material. It should also provide for the complete recycling of all waste generated. The use of concrete, asphalt or other materials that have an impact on the land should be reduced as much as possible, and preference should be given to travel by bicycle or electric vehicle or public transport. The notion of well-being inside the home must also be considered, which is what all potential buyers are looking for: excellent soundproofing, good indoor air quality, an almost constant temperature whatever the season, all with a minimum of energy consumption. Is it possible to build like this in our islands today?

Read the full article in our magazine issue number 8.

Laurena Erriah is an engineer with a master’s degree in Architectural and Urban Civil Engineering from the Institute of Science and Technology in Valenciennes. She has a rich experience as a structural engineer in France and Mauritius and was director of her company from 2017 to 2022.