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Sustainable Architecture

Green Architecture / Building : Ecological Architectural Debate

2 Dec 2012

Global Warming – Sustainable Architecture

Carbon Emissions Too High to Stop Climate Change

With global climate talks underway in Doha a new report shows emissions continue to grow.

It is increasingly unlikely that global warming will be kept below an increase of 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial levels, a study suggests, reports the BBC.

Data show that global CO2 emissions in 2012 hit 35.6bn tonnes, a 2.6% increase from 2011 and 58% above 1990 levels.

The researchers say that emissions are the largest contributor to future climate change and a strong indicator of potential future warming.

“We need a radical plan.”

The researchers’ paper says the average increases in global CO2 levels were 1.0% in the 1990s but 3.1% since 2000.

Recently, the World Meteorological Organization reported that greenhouse gases in the atmosphere hit a new record high in 2011.

Other potent greenhouse gases such as methane also recorded new highs, according to the WMO report.

Carbon Emissions News – external link to BBC report

Consorcio Building - Sustainable Architecture
photograph : Enrique Browne

So what can architects do to assist?

The RIBA Sustainability Hub includes sustainability information such as design strategies and case studies.

Sustainable design aims to reduce the adverse effect of human activities on our world, particularly climate change.

Architecture is responsible for about 45% of the carbon dioxide (greenhouse gas) emissions in the UK. Architects are a large part of the problem of tackling climate change, and consequently the solution – sustainable architecture.

11 Dec 2011

Sustainable Architecture News

Climate Talks Deal

UN climate talks closed with an agreement after they ran nearly 36 hours beyond their scheduled close.

The European Union will place its current emission-cutting pledges inside the legally-binding Kyoto Protocol, a key demand of developing countries.

Seychelles landscape - Sustainable Architecture
image from architects

Climate Talks on a new legal deal covering all countries will begin next year and end by 2015, coming into effect by 2020.

Management of a fund for climate aid to poor countries has also been agreed, though it remains to be agreed how finance will be raised.

6 Dec 2011

Sustainable Architectural News from Avaaz

Text from Avaaz:

Our oceans are dying, our air changing, and our forests and grasslands turning to deserts. From fish and plants to wildlife to human beings, we are killing the planet that sustains us, and fast. There is one single greatest cause of this destruction of the natural world – climate change, and in the next 3 days, we have a chance to stop it.

The UN treaty on climate change – our best hope for action – expires next year, but a dirty and greedy US-led coalition of oil-captured countries is trying to kill it forever. It’s staggeringly difficult to believe, but they are trading short term profits for the survival of our natural world.

The EU, Brazil and China are all on the fence – they are not slaves to oil companies the way the US is, but they need to hear a massive call to action from people before they really lead financially and politically to save the UN treaty. The world is gathered at the climate summit for the next 3 days to make the big decision. Let’s send our leaders a massive call to stand up to big oil and save the planet – an Avaaz team at the summit will deliver our call directly:

Avaaz Sustainable Architecture Campaign – external link

Things are becoming desperate – all over our planet extreme weather continues to smash records, leaving millions homeless and without food or shelter. We’re rapidly reaching our point of no return to stop runaway climate change – we only have until 2015 to start making drastic reductions to our carbon pollution.

Yet despite this very real urgency, the world has failed to mobilise against the fossil fuel captured democracy of the US. Not only content with wrecking the Copenhagen talks and the Kyoto Protocol, they are now building a coalition of climate treaty killers to put the final nail in the coffin of international negotiations in Africa.

Our only hope to turn things around lies with Europe, Brazil and China – they can make a deal happen, but they need to do it together, and that’s where we come in. Europe is tired, it’s fought long and hard on climate and needs a public boost. China has already agreed to binding commitments, is sensitive to its international reputation, and could lead further if we give it an encouraging push. And Brazil is hosting next year’s earth summit – making them eager to set the world up for climate success. Let’s build a giant global call to bring our champions together and build a green dream team.

The crazy focus on short term profits that motivates countries to stall and scuttle action on a climate crisis that literally threatens the survival of all of us cannot be tolerated. Fortunately, our movement has the power to intervene in this process and demand change. Let’s stand together and inspire others to stand with us for a safer, more humane world.

Sydney Morning Herald “Salvaging Kyoto Protocol a tall order: UN” (archived)

Bloomberg “Global Warming Fight Threatened by Debt Crisis as Kyoto Fades”

AFP “Climate talks bust-up feared despite dire warnings”

Sustainable Design : article by Trevor Tucker. 15 Sep 2009

Sustainable Architecture News Scotland

Example of sustainable architecture:

Panyaden School, Thailand
24H > architecture
Thai School Building
photo © Ally Taylor / Panyaden School
Thailand School Building

Sustainable Architecture UK Developments

Sustainable new town
Northstowe, Cambridgeshire, England

Sustainable housing
BedZED, south west London
Bill Dunster Architects / ZEDfactory
Sustainable Architecture ‘Demonstration Project’ in UK

Zero Carbon housing
BowZed – four apartments, Bow, Tower Hamlets, East London
Bill Dunster Architects / ZEDfactory
Only carbon neutral commercially-built development in UK at time of writing (2007).
Features: extremely high levels of insulation; triple glazing; photovoltaic solar cells; wood pellets boiler; Swift wind turbine; wind assisted heat exchange ventilation

Sustainable architects : Bill Dunster Architects / ZED Factory

Sustainable Building Design : article by Trevor Tucker. 18 Aug 2009

Sustainable Architecture UK Policy Issues

Energy Performance Certificates:
due to be introduced as part of Home Information Packs from 1 Jun 2007

Code for Sustainable Homes:
revision issued Dec 2006

Carbon neutral housing:
Gordon Brown made significant pledges re carbon neutral housing in the UK: Pre-Budget Report in Dec 2006 demanded new homes would be carbon neutral by 2016

CO2 emissions:
UK government target to reduce CO2 emissions by 20% by 2010; by 60% by 2050

Sustainable housing policies:
PPG3 amendments, due to be issued 2006/07

Sustainable Architecture Scottish Policy Issues

Recycled / reused materials:
The Scottish Executive called on institutions to ensure at least 10% of total value of materials used on projects over £1m should be from recycled / reused content

Micro Renewables:
New housing and other developments should generate at least 10% of their energy on site from renewable sources, according to new Scottish Executive standards

Electricity Generation:
The target is to generate 40% of Scotland’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020 and thus reduce harmful carbon emissions

Sustainable Buildings : Brief informal discussion re some of the issues

Sustainable Architecture Archive

Sustainable Architecture : Lighthouse ‘Sust’ Programme

Sustainable Architecture Exhibition

Bennetts Associates

Sustainable Homes

Sustainable Housing : Slateford Green, Edinburgh – ‘car-free homes’

Sustainable house : Skye, Western Isles, Sctoland by rural design
rural design skye
image © rural design architecture and landscape, scotland

Sustainable Architecture : Lotte Glob House

Sustainable Architecture : David Douglas Centre

Sustainable Architecture Links

DTI Low Carbon Buildings Programme:

Greener Homes & Buildings:

Guidance on procuring higher recycled content in construction:

Forest Stewardship Council – FSC:


Healthy Building Network:

Sustainable Build:

Web Portal of Organic Architecture:

Comments / photos for the Sustainable Architecture page welcome