“As you know, our construction sector in France is facing many challenges: sustainability, the circular economy, the limited availability of building land, and the industrialization of construction,” begins Arnaud Porte. „All these issues make me think about innovation. I love taking up these strategic challenges and that’s why I’ve decided to take an active part for this activity in France“. He is also passionate about protecting the environment: his four-year-old son has a long future ahead of him. Arnaud wants to make a positive contribution.
After working as a young engineer in France and Switzerland, Arnaud Porte has now been with Xella for the last nine years. He is now Technical and Development Director for France. He is also responsible for the technical part, strategic marketing, and innovation. “I am very motivated to be part of Xella’s most important solutions for tomorrow. This is why his team works closely with colleagues at Xella Technologie- und Forschungsgesellschaft (T&F) on research projects. They develop building materials, systems and services that meet the needs of the market."
Political pressure as an opportunity
The political pressure on the construction industry in France is enormous, and sustainability represents a very important and significant project. ”In 2022, thermal regulations have changed and the total CO2 impact of a construction project must be considered. This includes also all the energy used in the building for heating, lighting, and ventilation for 50 years,” he explains. But the building industry is not only required to analyze the life cycle of its products. It must also reduce its CO2 consumption every three years. ” says Arnaud Porte, taking a deep breath, “By 2031, this should result in a 31% reduction in CO2 compared to 2022 emissions. It’s a real challenge, and it’s right in line with Xella’s ESG strategy.”
Autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) is not yet widely used in France. Only concrete walls, concrete blocks and clay bricks have a long tradition in the country. Arnaud Porte describes the situation as follows: “It's really difficult to change traditions”. For Xella, Paris’ strict requirements are a great opportunity to position AAC as an alternative to traditional building materials. There has never been a greater demand for sustainability and the recycling of building materials than now.
„I'm very attentive to the development of emerging construction solutions for the future“, he says. Tomorrow, construction in France will change, moving from single-product solutions to buildings using a mix of materials to meet the challenges of sustainability. We therefore need to consider collaborating with other industries - particularly off-site - to contribute to tomorrow's construction by making the most of the exceptional properties of our materials like fire resistance or thermal insulation. His exciting question is: what useful materials have not yet been thought of in this context? Where are interesting new markets that Xella has not yet targeted? It's about thinking outside the box, a core skill of all innovative people.