Design for Future Climate Change
A couple of weeks ago we brought you news of the Construction Sector Deal, followed last week by some information on the Clean Growth Challenge, a major element of the UK government’s plan to maximise advantages for industry in the UK and reduce the energy use of new buildings by 50% over the next decade or so. Today we’re going to take a more detailed look at this issue.
Currently buildings in the UK are designed for today’s climate which, in the past, has made perfect sense. However, with the rapid climate change we’ve experienced in recent years in Britain (and we’ve all enjoyed the summer heatwaves, I’m sure) buildings have been overheating. Heat is trapped overnight, which is welcome in the depth of winter but makes for uncomfortable temperatures in the hot summer months. This means that building owners are increasingly reliant on air conditioning to lower the building temperatures to a more acceptable level, an increase in energy use that doesn’t bode well for Britain’s commitment to sustainability.
The climate change issue seems to be here to stay right now so this is a problem that needs to be addressed if we expect to be facing hotter summers and more frequent heatwaves in future. Buildings here in the UK need to be planned to perform more robustly to the future climate and extreme weather events we’ve seen in recent years.
We need to be designing buildings differently for the future, taking into account both hot summer weather and some pretty harsh winters. We need to start incorporating new features that help protect against extreme weather conditions, such as
- External solar shading systems that will reduce solar heat gain and glare in building interiors that not only perform well, but also enhance the appearance of the building exterior.
- Natural ventilation systems that supply and remove air in indoor spaces without using mechanical systems.
- Wider gutters and drainage systems that are able to deal effectively with higher rainfall so that flooding is kept to a minimum.
- Construction materials that will behave efficiently during extreme weather conditions.
- The integration of climate change resilience strategies into urban decision making.
The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) is offering a level 2 course in Climate Resilience, an interactive workshop which includes input from industry experts on strategies and solutions to climate change which is aimed at anybody working in the built environment with an interest in climate resilience, including sustainability professionals, business leaders, and public and private sector practitioners.
The three hour course will cover the need for resilience and strategies whilst highlighting the key challenges and opportunities that we’ll face in the future. Participants in the course will be encouraged to adopt a long-term perspective regarding planning for climate resilience and given the opportunity to learn through peer-to-peer networking and the very latest expert opinions.