Easing out of the constraints imposed to protect our health we now face the ominous task of protecting our future welfare.
So far we are not doing at all well, as is reported by the Committee on Climate Change.
Construction must make a significant contribution to the mitigation of Climate Change, and the sooner this happens the more beneficial will be the impact. If ever the industry had an opportunity to improve its image this must be it. The Institutes are vigorously promoting action to combat the imminent climate emergency and it is now for the signatories to step up to their specifications.
Improving the performance of the building fabric is the logical first step. Current insulation standards are lamentable relative to what is required, but the materials, technology and methods are already proven and available to implement immediately (not tomorrow or next year), reducing energy demand and fuel poverty and improving the economics of renewable energy systems. Fabric First isn’t a slogan, it’s the obvious first step towards a sustainable environment. If that part of the specification isn’t right, the rest will never balance.
Most of the design specifications being drawn up today are already obsolete relative to the targets set (and already missed) by the “powers that be”. Simply upgrading fabric performance brings specification closer to the sustainability curve and reduces the complexity of balancing additional energy needs. Fabric performance is essentially passive, with little or no operating cost and the potential for a useful life that would distort (positively!) current zero carbon or green thinking.
If the UK public will accept lifestyle changes to counter the climate emergency, they would surely endorse – perhaps applaud – any initiative from the construction industry in the same direction.
We are, after all, Building for the Future.