Climate Change – What can we do about it?

By the year 2050 our sector needs to reduce the carbon emissions by 84 billion tonnes. This is a huge challenge, but how are we responding?

The World Green Building Council (WGBC) have calculated that to limit the rate of global warming to just 2°C, then we need to cut our carbon footprint by this huge figure. 84 billion tonnes is the estimate that the built environment sector needs to reduce, with emissions from existing stock reduced by 80%. By 2050 all new developments must reach the target of net zero energy.

To reach these targets the construction and property industry need to radically change the way we build, refurbish, fund and manage properties globally.

Global Change

In Paris back in 2015, the first Buildings Day, was the moment when the industry started to listen. With a momentum for change, the target for meeting the goals set will be crucial going forward.

If everyone has to take part in the changes, then they will become internalised in the models, making it second nature for future projects in years to come. Investors need to assess the carbon risk of a building project, and manage the environmental, social and climate-related impacts.

With rising energy prices and restricted carbon budgets, this will make inefficient buildings too expensive to run and maintain. Property professionals need to ask if these risks have been considered, and inform potential investors. This should drive change in the market and support the growth of better performing new buildings.

The public opinion is a powerful one, with those countries moving ahead being rewarded, and those countries left behind being named and shamed. As people see the impact of climate change within the coming years this will drive pressure to perform and improve our carbon footprints.

Transparency

With new technologies and smarter buildings, the need to be transparent is fundamental. We are able to track energy consumption in real time, which will eventually replace EPCs and other rating schemes. This will give people the choice at the time of purchasing, which will allow informed decisions on their buildings carbon footprint.

Making energy ratings public is the first step in being more transparent on building energy efficiency. This will open peoples eyes to the need of considering these details when looking at properties.

Energy efficient homes do not necessarily cost more to build. If you know your needs from the beginning then lots can be built into the design to help you reduce the long-term carbon footprint. By planning ahead you can help to reduce your energy bills for years to come, which will offset any additional costs in the build process.

If you are purchasing a property already built then you can still make changes to help reduce your energy usage. Solar panels are a popular choice with the payback period initially being a few years, but after that you will gain free electricity from your home. Reducing your carbon footprint is not a short-term fix, lots of options are about investing in the long-term benefits.

The Future

The important task ahead is to invest in our building stock for the next generation and to improve the quality of the buildings that people live and work in. An improved renovated building gives people a much healthier and improved environment for productivity as well as reducing the carbon footprint.

If we can produce good buildings as a priority, with reduced energy consumption as the growing trend. The reduced impact on our environment will come as a natural response to the changing ways of our society. Small changes today will become the standard ways of the future.

Contact Richard today if you are looking at ways to improve your home or building project.